Tag Archives: understanding

Suffer with Hope

20 Apr

I don’t know why we think life shouldn’t be hard?  Where did we ever get this idea from?We all (ALL) have this idea that life should be easy.  I had to work this out myself, this legalistic idea that I somehow had become “good enough” to deserve less suffering.

My non-believing friends speak about  controlling the things that happen by “what we put in the universe”

What if I told you that it was never intended to be easy or without sorrow. Jesus, the “Son Of God” himself drank from the same cup of sorrow we suffer, on our behalf.

He suffered rejection and betrayal, especially at the end of His life. He sat at a table, washed the feet of those that would abandon Him and betray Him.  The disciples fled and left him, Peter denied knowing Him; Judas sold him out!

I saw this photo and it really brings home the fullness of suffering.

Mary, who bore our King in the most difficult of ways, also had to watch Him be beaten, dragged, mocked, spit on, nails driven in his feet and hands so he could hang on the tree until he died. His side was stabbed.

This mother, aside from being the Chosen King, loved her child,her first born son!She loved him beyond measure. How her heart must have suffered! She must have begged and had her own prayers not mentioned in the bible.
Our Lord, how He suffered! Imagine the pain and the fear! His prayers in the garden, his frantic beseeching of  his friends, his disciples to stay awake while he prayed.  He was alone, afraid, he was human in that moment.

Yet, His words “Thy Will Be Done” is the overall theme of trusting in God, trust that has so much Hope behind it.

Life is hard! This world though it has life, love, joy, and health, it also has death, sickness, betrayal, loneliness, fear, unkindness, evil.  Our poor kids don’t get to see the posts on social media about all the good there is. There is an epidemic of hopelessness.

Jesus understood us.  He knows your thoughts even before you speak them and he completely understands, completely relates to you, because he walked through this world, just like us.  He is full of acceptance, love, encouragement and understanding.

If you really get to know Him and His life, you can see how he worked out his obedience through all the suffering he witnessed to and all that he endured. He modeled it all for us.
It isn’t about how you react, it’s how you walk out a trial. We work through things. It’s not that we don’t suffer at all. We will and we do.

We stumble, we fumble, we fear, we cry…BUT peace, hope and joy can co-exist within those same feelings, when we just come to Him with it all, with every bit of it. We are set free and placed back on the path. Our circumstances may not be changed, but our peace returns, even while our trial still rages.

Mary loved her son. She was chosen by God. She suffered terribly, I can’t even imagine her mama’s heart!  But Hope.

This world doesn’t need more politics, more laws, more leaders, more religion. This world needs more hope. Hope is what I see so lost in this world.

Placing our hopes on success or people, or politicians or husbands, or friends… we will never be at peace. Placing our hopes in the finished work of Christ, the hope of all hopes, our perfect salvation, the one we don’t have to work out for ourselves, gives us renewed vigor to get through everything.

There is a divine Hope, an unsinking, unshaking, unrelenting hope I have found in my Savior. It is there even when everything falls apart. I celebrate this with so much gratitude every day., even more on Easter.

Even in the hard times, even when I sorrow, fear, or have anger. He is always near.  I am unreliable to Him, but He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. He is who he says he is, no matter what we do or say.

This beautiful Easter season, find Him. Seek Him.  He died for everyone, even those that will never acknowledge Him. He is waiting, never giving up, always pursuing you.

1 Peter 1:19-20 – “He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you.”

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Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

Time Spent

31 Dec

Today I finished reading the entire Bible. I had a couple of days, not many where I missed and had to catch up but mostly, I just read my bible every morning.

I walked through the beginning, I walked through the Books of Moses, I walked with Jesus, Paul, John, David, Daniel and Peter. I walked through the Prophecies and Revelations.

I thought I would be so much wiser! Able to quote a scripture or recall a verse or atleast a book in the bible. But, no. I still need God for that.

I am sitting here wondering at the wisdom of our amazing God.  No matter what we learn, which I thought reading the whole bible would empower me somehow, He humbles us.

Though I may not feel wiser, in looking back, it is not unnoticed by me that there was calmness, steadiness in this year I read the bible.

When I look back;  it has been full of many blessings (did I notice them enough? Did I praise You Lord, enough?) The trials and testing have been there too. Challenges to my character, to my wholeness, that can only strengthen or weaken my faith.

I can step back and observe, my faith is strengthened. Though I feel a bit less light. Less fun, less funny.

I remember in the early days of this incredible journey, people would call me a baby christian (it annoyed me! ha!). They would comment on my enthusiasm for Jesus. I was overflowing with Joy. It bubbled up from deep within me and just poured out. I prayed to never lose that, to never forget what that felt like to me.I do remember and still feel that at times.  I see now, there was a lot of drama in the emotion of my early days in mylove affair with Jesus and my salvation. What I share now is deeper. calmer.

I still have my moments of drama in the hardships, but today as I look back on my year in the bible, I see so much beauty. Beauty I was not even aware of yesterday, but see so clearly today. I kept saying I felt so held. I can see this in action now.

By reading the bible everyday, I stayed connected to God. I didn’t see that until just this moment. Even in the boring chapters! ha! (I am sorry, but honestly found all the measurement chapters of the Books of Law, difficult to read!) But I read them. And I posted scripture most every day to my Fellowship page on Facebook. Those days blended and the books of the law truly didn’t seem to be anything more than a history lesson. Good to know, but not vital. but wow! Looking back!

It is all so clear to me today. Over the year, I attended prayer studies and faced some very real attacks by Satan.  I didn’t finish a single bible study I began.But… I kept reading the bible every morning.

That is the only constant. The only truth.

The more I tried to analyze and “fix” my journey, or discussed how much more “held” I felt, I just kept reading the bible every morning.

In the end, it is not the human element of wisdom or  ‘I will find my answer in a scripture’ formula of reading the bible that I was accomplishing. It was the daily time with God and I that was building a resilience in me.  A strength of relationship.

That is what my Jesus Calling did for me a few years back; this is what any devotion will do for us.

I will begin a new journey for 2017. I know there are trials ahead and joys to be had. This life is a rocky road leading towards the goal of eternity. I will continue to keep my focus on God. My true north, my compass, my only hope. Even if what I read seems not to be essential in my journey, it is the journey itself, the act of time with Him that keeps me close.

There is the wisdom gained;This is the truth I sought to understand. If you want to strengthen your relationship with God, it just takes doing it. Spending time with him. Every single day.

Happy New Year! Love from this imperfect, God fearing, hope filled creation of His.

 

 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and helpyou;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2041%3A10&version=AMP;NIV;KJV