We can feel free to bring our troubles, anger, frustration, and sadness to God, and we can be assured that He will listen to our every thought and word. His heart is moved by the things that carve valleys of pain through our souls. He is there when we weep. He is there when we ask why. His understanding and mercy toward us are considerable, and what makes Him great is that they are also considerable toward those we call our enemies. Can we be okay with that? Maybe we can. Maybe we can let it bring us a sense of comfort, knowing that God offers the same grace to all.
Did God give us the sun
to remind us of Him
To show us what we’re in for
when earth’s light starts to dim?
“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” – Psalm 8:9
In the past, I have gone to God with anxieties and did not come away from the experience with the peace that I was hoping for. Instead, my tears seemed to be met with silence. I was confused and frustrated as to why it seemed God was not responding. I realize now that in those situations, although it is always a good thing to want to hear from God, it is just as important to turn and hold fast to the truths He has already spoken (and is speaking), through the Bible. Those truths are just for those times.
“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ ” – Isaiah 41:13
“While many are busy trying to set forth satisfactory definitions of the word faith, we do well to simply consider that believing is directing the heart’s attention to Jesus!”
– A.W. Tozer
Lately, I’ve been finding myself sitting at my computer in front of the window at just the right time of day to enjoy twilight. Glowing patterns are created across the sky, and the sounds of the day lessen until I can hear the water fountain running, from across the street. The muffled sound of a plane flying in the distance reminds me of how big the world is, and at the same time I notice how easily palm branches move in the wind…they don’t fight it. Then, a single bird chirps, as if he is the last of his fleet to find out that the day is coming to a close. Twilight is a gift, when the quieting of the day draws my attention not only to the wonderful things that have been made, but to the One Who so kindly made them.
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You
created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
“Scripture does more than give us permission to express our sadness; it considers grieving
losses as central to our spiritual growth… To deny sadness is like trying to deny an arm or a leg;
it is to amputate a vital and necessary part of ourselves.” – Geri Scazzero
“I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
What is love? To me, love is Jesus forgiving Peter for denying that he knew Him. Love is Jesus inviting Matthew, an unpopular tax collector, to follow Him, learn from Him, and to be His friend. Love is Jesus washing His friends’ feet. Love is Jesus multiplying loaves of bread for the hungry masses. Love is Jesus asking His Father to forgive His persecutors at the same time that He was suffering. Love is Jesus assuring a humbled, dying thief that he would, that day, be with Him in paradise. Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to love. He forgave. He invited. He washed. He multiplied. He interceded. He accepted. Thank you, Jesus.
“And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
My husband and I flew to Vermont last week to see his mom and stepdad. It made me uneasy, as I am an unenthusiastic flyer. I sometimes wonder if at least part of the reason for this is that my grandfather died in a plane crash, and although it occurred before I was born, I witnessed the hole it left in the hearts of his (my) family. So although flying is statistically a safe form of travel, it can make me fearful. Some may think that a Christian should not be subject to these feelings since they believe that God has their back and in the end, will be with Him anyway, but the feelings are a result of our humanness, and although I believe that God would prefer we trust Him in every situation, I know that He also has compassion on us in our weaknesses. My husband often says that once we move beyond this life and are with God, we won’t have a care in the world, and that it’s toughest for the people here who mourn our passing. I do agree. When we are in God’s presence, we will be completely content. The Bible verse I read on the morning of the flight encourages people to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy” (Matthew 6:20). It reminded me that if what we value most is our eternal life with God, then our hearts can rest more easily when we are doing things that make us afraid. Like flying, for instance. I’m glad that God calls us to Himself through Jesus, not only so we have our eternal home with Him, but so we can also experience the comfort of knowing Him as we walk (or fly) to each new destination in this life.
Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is how God in the Old Testament (OT) sometimes seems different from the God Jesus came to make known. I know that He is not different because God does not change…“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). The Bible also reveals that Jesus is God…“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15), and that He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). So why does it seem like God was more stern in the OT, whereas Jesus makes familiar a God of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness? First, I need to say that the OT is not without examples of the love and forgiveness of God…I just get more insight into the gentleness of God, in Jesus. So this is a question I will continue to ask God about. But one thing I do know. I know that God is love…“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). And I have experienced His love first hand, when at times I have acted less than loving toward Him and He has made it known to me, whether it was through something I read, something someone said, or just a reassuring thought, that He was still there and was present with me. Through Jesus, God forgives us our shortcomings and not only that, but like the prodigal son, He sees us from a “long way off” and is “filled with compassion” (Luke 15:20).
For some reason, I was aware of the love and reality of God, early on…