You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2013.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

When I was in grade school, I recall writing a short story (yes, I was stunningly creative even then). I felt exceedingly proud of the gripping plot I had created, but my teacher didn’t appreciate my genius. She informed me that the ending was unsatisfactory. One of the main characters died.

My husband read my last devotional and, being the most honest critic I have, mentioned that I might not have provided a very hopeful ending to my readers – which would imply I normally do! His comment reminded me of that grade school teacher (if you’re reading this, Honey, no offense) who wanted, like most of us, everything wrapped up in a tidy bow.

We all like happy endings. Revisiting the devotional I wrote last week, I wanted to add some disclaimers, not only because I love my husband and value his opinion, but because I should probably stick to the theme of my byline which says, “Words to encourage faith, hope and love.” I can’t promise a neat, tidy ending, but I can expand on “God, My Help” and tell you the things I didn’t tell you…

I didn’t tell you that while my anger toward God was real, it wasn’t the shake-your-fist-at- the-sky sort, but rather the perplexed wonderings of why, the frown of a child whose parent said no, the quiet resignation and turning away of a daughter whose Father doesn’t seem fair, and the silence of puzzling over the new normal after the trauma of loss, while trying to remain a decent human being to those around her (aka: not bite their heads off).

I didn’t tell you about the surprise element in the furnace story either (I’m sure you’ve read Daniel 3 by now because I hinted you should), as if it’s not surprising enough that the fellows didn’t get burnt to a crisp. The Lord was with them in the fire! And He was with me too, as He is with you in your scorching furnace. Even though I felt abandoned because of the perceived lack of leading, I’m beginning to see I was being led but didn’t know it. Or maybe I didn’t want to see it because I prefer a more reasonable climate (furnaces aren’t really my thing). But scorching places refine and make beautiful, even though I felt uglier than ever. And, like the furnace fellows, I too went through the fire and lived to tell about it.

Finally, I didn’t tell you that “the LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Maybe that’s why, despite that I was disappointed and partially prayerless, I had a sense that God understood and was patiently waiting for me. He understood because He was there with me the whole time, at every turn. And He is with you too. He sees to the depth of our being and is faithful even when we aren’t.

Though the” happy ending” isn’t what I imagined and prayed for – there’s a high probability it’s better. I’m just not wise enough to see it yet. And though I may never figure out this side of heaven why God let it happen, it comes back to trust. Once again, God is asking us to trust Him even when we don’t have all the answers. Even now, “God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (Psalm 54:4) And as it turns out, God is not only my help, He is with me, walking ahead of me, never leaving me, and encouraging me to not be afraid.

Be blessed to know that God hasn’t left you. He is with you, even now.

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. ~ Psalm 54:4

It was a tough year for our family. We had to give up our sizable business of nineteen years that my husband, father-in-law and I had created from scratch. It would be difficult to describe to you the emotions I suffered as a result of the loss. Untold prayers offered in complete faith that God could rescue us rained back on my head unanswered, unheeded, seemingly ignored. All I received was directionless, infuriating…

Silence.

And the faith I thought was mine, seemed to crumble as the questions screamed into the silence God left. Out of that came a distinct rumble of anger when I thought my Father left me to navigate without telling me where to go. What happened to the voice behind me telling me, this is the way; walk in it? (Isaiah 30:21) Why the silent treatment now when I so desperately needed to hear – when I had witnessed God do miraculous things before?

Now my prayers were weak, lifeless, barely audible breaths uttered through exhaustion and emotions to a God I couldn’t control, and out of the bewilderment of wondering if my Daddy had abandoned me. What good would more words do now anyway?

But this verse says, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”

I needed a wake-up call.

I needed to stop being angry at God and realize that He is the one who sustains me, not our business, not our ingeniousness, or anything else that might bring a measure of comfort and security. I needed to accept that there are times God allows me to walk through the fire even though I prayed I would never have to set foot inside the furnace (see Daniel 3). I needed to stop mourning what I had lost, and be thankful for what I had. Once I figured that out, I wrote a lengthy thank you note.

I suppose we could all use a reminder about who our provider is from time to time. Sometimes we forget that it is the Lord alone who best meets our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. He doesn’t promise to take all discomfort away, but instead promises to help and sustain us through it. He alone provides and often does so in the most beautiful and surprising ways, even if it isn’t how we imagined it would be.

When your plans are upturned, your way fully blocked, your paycheck cut in half, your friends hard to reach, or your health less than optimal, remember God is your help and the one who sustains you.

May you be blessed to see “God is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Categories

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 384 other followers

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.