Happy Thanksgiving from Seeing Deep!

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Proverbs 11:25

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”

Hebrews 13:16

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for stopping by today!  For those of you who were joining in on the season of thankfulness and counting the days until Thanksgiving, some of you might be asking . . . why did she stop on day 18?  Admittedly, I got busy.

My church culminated a 40-day prayer challenge with a 24-hour fast and prayer event that I helped to organize. It was beyond what we could have imagined and God moved in powerful ways.  Each day I have been bursting to share the revelations God has shown me during this season, and today I want to share something special God did this week which has left me humbled and grateful, overwhelmed at His goodness.

Shopping for groceries to prepare the Thanksgiving meal to bring to family in another state, I was in a flurry walking through Wal-Mart, thoughts swimming through my mind of how I could fit in time to make the meal, work and finish planning worship services.

Suddenly a manager interrupted my thought process and motioned for me to stand in another line.  He insisted that he wanted me in that line, that he was the manager and had the authority to do so.

Less wait for me, so I was grateful.  The woman in front of me was ringing out and then frantically realized she did not have enough money for her order.  Somewhere in the store she had dropped a $20 bill.  I’ve been there before – walking up to the register with sweaty palms and anxiety flowing through my body, wondering if my debit card will be rejected or not and the ensuing shame felt as people watch to see if I will have enough to pay.

Suddenly the Lord put on my heart to ask how much she needed and then prompted me to offer to pay the difference.  “You don’t know me”, she said.  Before I could think, the words came out of my mouth, “But Jesus does”.    She began to weep.  In that moment, it really was not about me helping her, but about a God who sees and puts people where he wants them to send a message of His love.

She had just told God that she could not do it anymore – her faith was low, she felt like Job.  God saw her and sent encouragement when she needed it most.  Awesome God.

The amazing thing about being willing to be used by God is that when you are blessing others, you are blessed, as well.  There is something in the sacrifice of giving that brings an inner joy to both the giver and the recipient.  Indeed, it is a miracle, God in the midst, working through people for His glory and their benefit.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, may the gratitude we feel from God’s bounty in our direction become an action of expressing blessing for others from the overflow of God to us.  What a beautiful celebration, indeed.

On this amazing day, when we consider and celebrate a holiday to pause and reflect on individual and corporate blessings, I am most thankful for Jesus, that God saves us and allows us to know Him and then is willing to use us as part of His plan to share His love with the world.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you, God, for knowing the number of hairs on our head, for counting every tear, for noticing our pain and for never leaving us or forsaking us.  I love you, Lord!

~Devoted to the precious sister in Christ whom God had our paths cross.  Keep the faith.  He is enough.

Worshipful Wednesday: My Healer

Psalm 30:2

“O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.”

I am overcome today with praise for my Jehovah Rapha, the LORD Who heals me.  This morning when I awoke I realized I did not have the normal pain that has been my close companion for years. Actually, the pain has been dissipating the past couple of weeks and I wondered if God could be removing the physical burdens I bear daily.

Diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases, I have learned to live within the confines of the illnesses that hold me captive.  When I go outside of those boundaries, I hurt.  My sweet son sees when I am in pain and we have a routine where he tries to help me get going in the morning.  Daily living has been difficult, but I press on.  In moments when I have felt I could not bear the burden any longer, God’s strength carried me.

The LORD has healed me many times over the years and with each affliction I only drew nearer to my God.  While my flesh was beaten, my inner man clung to God and His promises.  Physical suffering is discouraging and greatly affects our ability to be effective.  Like walking in mud, progress seems insurmountable.  The lessons learned in each struggle, however, produce a treasure of a closer walk with God, even if they leave us with a lasting wound like Jacob when He wrestled with God.

I confess that I was afraid to even hope that He might be healing me.  I often did not see that He had already been healing me spiritually.  The thought of being delivered from the prison of pain I have lived through seemed to be too good to be true.  Surrendering my life to His hands, I rested in the truth that whatever God allowed into my life would serve to bring Him glory and fulfill His purposes through me.  Whether He wants to heal me for a day or for years, I thank Him and trust His decision.

It is a humbling experience to be physically afflicted and we can feel forgotten.  But if we had never experienced the pain, we would not have the gratitude for God’s deliverance.  We tend to take things for granted until what we assume is ours is taken away.  God in His wisdom knows what we need – both blessings and burdens.  Perhaps the most beautiful lesson learned through my health ordeals has been to be surrendered to whatever the LORD’s will is.  Whether sick or healthy, it is all about His glory in every circumstance.  Either way, He is our Healer – healing us inwardly or outwardly through it all.

Lord, I am overcome by Your faithfulness.  Who are we, that You should notice us at all?  And yet You want to heal us and draw us nearer to You to help others be healed, too.  Thank You, God!

Thoughtful Thursday: When the Blessing is Removed; a Blessing in Disguise

Job 29:2-5

2 “O that I could be as I was in the months now gone, in the days when God watched over me, 3 when He caused his lamp to shine upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness; 4 just as I was in my most productive time, when God’s intimate friendship was experienced in my tent, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me.”

Job’s pain over his loss is so tangible we can feel it.  He remembers being in a position of prominence and favor and his temporary position of scorn and constant pain seemed to be handed out by a merciless God.

The heartache over loss can be paralyzing and discouraging.  We can wonder if God abandoned us.  Why did His blessing have to be removed?  Was it Him or the blessing we were after?  In a moment of nostalgia, we can think that the time which has gone before was better than the present.  Yet in that former time, would we have had that perspective?

Surely when one has gone through a traumatic life event, innocence is gone and one can long to return to that simpler time with less strife.  The pressure of living with consequences is significant and the desire for relief is a constant current, longing to pull us back to the blessing we knew before.  When things are difficult, we crave ease.  But God, our loving Father is the perfect parent – even when we do not get what we want.  He knows what is best for us.

While the lessons learned in the midst of tragedy are a harsh tutor, there is a bright side often unseen.  Priceless wisdom is gained and if we truly look to God in the storm, we will have a peace that is greater than the peace before which was in ignorance.  Ignorance seems to be bliss, but if comfort is our highest goal, we miss out on being able to worship God in a deeper way when things are not “perfect”.

I have not experienced all of Job’s sorrows, yet I identify with this passage in so many ways.  When tragedy strikes, we might not be as esteemed by man, but the opportunity to be closer to God is far greater.  Grieving over loss of reputation seems kind of silly when we consider all of eternity.  Instead of bitterness, a removed blessing can cause us to be grateful.  Why were we so blessed?  Perhaps there are things in my life now that I do not recognize as a blessing.  Lamenting over the past has its place, but then so does surrendering to God in the present and looking to Him for our redemption.

God will restore us.  While we wait, He is developing character worthy of bearing His Name.  Job would certainly say He could not conceive of the blessings that God brought back into His life.  He was a different person when He was restored than the one before.  Transformation carries a cost we would likely not be willing to pay if we knew it ahead of time.  Praise God for His wisdom and enablement when we are in the crucible of suffering and walking in times of blessing.

Lord, You are our portion.  You are our delight.  Thank You for all of the blessings in our lives and for Your precious promises.  Thank You for redeeming every hardship and turning them into a blessing, after all.

How to Heal from Trauma

Psalm 107:13-16

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.”

Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted, and bandages their wounds.”

Let the words from the Scriptures above reach down into your soul and bring healing.  Our God is able to bring us out of dark times and burst our bonds.  He is able to shatter doors of bronze and iron.  What does that mean?  He is stronger than anything in our lives and able to help us overcome what seems insurmountable.  Whatever has us shackled, whether it is the past, filled with heart breaking sorrow, or the future that we are dreading as some news threatens to steal your joy, everything is possible for we who are overcomers in Christ Jesus.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God.  Fragile enough to be harmed, but strong enough to recover.  But sometimes the hurt goes so deep and has affected us so profoundly that it appears hopeless that we will ever see real healing.

Life is hard enough without all the harm people do to other people.  Growing in responsibilities and facing all of life’s surprises is made significantly more difficult when we go through something so horrific it alters our very existence and approach in life.

Emotional turmoil brought on by traumatic events is not an easy fix.  We can see easily enough wounds wrought on the surface, whether it is a scraped knee or a more serious physical injury, but the wounds to the heart and the human spirit are not so easily discerned or healed.  How does one heal from abuse?  A sudden death?  A diagnosis that is too hard to bear?

Jesus.  Yes, I know – it is the answer everyone says in Sunday school class when they don’t know the answer.  Ironically enough, He is the answer.  What does it mean to give someone Jesus?  It means running to His Word and searching for comfort there.  It means that people who have been traumatized just want to be understood.  We do not just want meals or wise words thrown at us.  We need someone to weep with us and help us to see that God does have a hope and a future. We need someone to climb down in the pit with us and help us find a new way of functioning; acknowledging the sorrow but then asking God with us for wisdom and for His solution as well as practical helps.

I write today as one who has endured a lot of significant trauma in my life and seen God’s healing hand in my life.  I write as someone who wants to help other people I love dearly and people I do not know receive this same healing.  Facing the trauma takes bravery and honesty.  We have to expose the lies.  We are not the only one.  Part of trauma’s potent blow is that we feel isolated, strange, different because we have suffered something that we do not want to utter. No one else wants to hear about it, either.  Choosing to not believe the lies that are encompassing us about as we try to grab onto some hope that we will not always be “damaged” is nothing short of miraculous.

Sometimes the only trust we can have is in the fact that God is good and that He keeps His promises.  Even believing this truth is challenging when we are myopic and our view is clouded by our pain.

Believing that we are not defined by our deepest sorrow takes faith.  It means taking God at His word.  Despite the fact that our suffering has affected us in such negative ways, the only label we need bear is “child of God”.  Not “victim”, not “strange”, but “beloved” and “cherished” and “healed” by a God Who loves us.

When we do not have the strength to muster to proclaim that we have overcome and we no longer have it in us to keep going, that place which seems like an end is a new beginning.  At the end of ourselves, we can only look to Jesus.  Like the woman who grabbed the cloak of Jesus in desperation, we need to come to that end of trying to make it on our own and admit our need of Him to heal us.  We are not strong enough or wise enough to heal on our own,  but our God Who made us is.

Lord, there are so many hurting people and my heart breaks for each one.  I know You are enough – help me to be Your hands and feet and to bring healing to your children through Your Word and Your holy Spirit.  Help all victims to arise as victors in Christ; give us strength and heal us from the deepest place of our wounds and show Yourself as Almighty God.  Nothing is too difficult for You, our Jehovah Rapha.

I’m Not Bitter

Ruth 1:20

“But she replied to them, “Don’t call me ‘Naomi’! Call me ‘Mara’ because the Sovereign One has treated me very harshly.  I left here full, but the LORD has caused me to return empty-handed. Why do you call me ‘Naomi,’ seeing that the LORD has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer?””

Psalm 119:75

“I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”

This verse from Psalms still gives me an inner joy I cannot adequately describe.  Why, in the moments following a miscarriage, would I feel the most loved by my God, as I knelt and wept, reading this verse aloud?  Like a rose, life is beautiful, but it can be filled with thorns and thistles which prick us with throbbing pain and sorrows. While no one sees trials or tribulations as a blessing at first, taking a step back might grant a more accurate understanding of what is really transpiring.

I can identify with Naomi in the verse from the book of Ruth, above.  When one tragedy follows another, it is easy to feel forgotten.  When confronted with loss, we have a choice.  Though Naomi was blessed with a faithful daughter-in-law, she chose to focus on her loss.  Though she had previously been blessed, she chose to focus on her current status.  Don’t we all do that?  We feel we deserve blessings but are angry, hurt and doubt God when those blessings are seemingly removed.

What hurt Naomi most was that she knew her God – that He knew all; He was sovereign.  Yet she accused him of poor character – of being harsh and of being the source of her suffering.  The reality is that her God was loving her through it all, through a selfless servant.  God was for her – not against her.  The pain blinded her understanding and the blessings were not in the form she wanted, so her perception and decision was that God did not care.

This God who numbers the hair on our heads and our every tear is not a God Who does not notice our suffering.  He is the one Who bore it Himself, because He could not bear to be without us.  He is the One Who cares so much for our character that He allows pain in, knowing that the beauty made in the crucible is far superior than the shallow goal of living a perfectly comfortable life.

I hurt to write these words, for so many are going through or have gone through horrific burdens and trials, and I desperately want you to know those sorrows are real, and never trivialized by God with a pat religious statement.  Truly, I will never be the same as I was before the greatest sorrow of my life, but then, the compassion birthed through the catalyst of grief is far greater.  He walked through suffering, as well.  He knows what severe trials can do to us emotionally, physically and spiritually and wants to be the One we run to in those moments.

Whatever affliction that is allowed into our lives, it can never be compared with another person’s.  The severity of hardships can range from uncomfortable to debilitating, but in the midst there is a grace supplied – do we perceive it?  It might be a blessing hidden; someone like Ruth that God brings into our lives.  She was a comfort to Naomi, though a foreigner and a Moabite, she ended up being grafted into Christ’s lineage and blessing Naomi abundantly.  Or maybe God’s provision is Himself and His Word that we have to cling to with our whole being.

When our expectations are calibrated with the biblical humility of deserving nothing before a Holy God, we then are surprised we have any blessing at all.  Even greater than a temporary happiness on earth is the all-consuming joy of knowing our Maker and knowing that we will enjoy fellowship in His presence for all eternity.  Though life can be arduous we can choose delight in God instead of opting for regrets or bitterness.  Avoiding the thorns is not the goal, but embracing the beauty within affliction is.

Oh, Lord, You notice us and are aware of every sorrow we bear.  Thank You that You are the God who sees.  Help us to find our joy completely in you and grant us faith and strength to walk in that joy when circumstances would seek to rob us of contentment in You.  Be glorified in our sorrows and blessings.

The Opportunity of Emotional Baggage

Photo Credits simplykashonna.com

Photo Credits
simplykashonna.com

Isaiah 7:2b

“They and their people were emotionally shaken, just as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.”         

Emotions are a funny thing.  One moment you can be full of joy and the next full of sorrow.  Ever felt overwhelmed by multiple circumstances all pounding you simultaneously?  Like a sledgehammer in the enemy’s hand, you are pounded down and discouraged.  Where was the faith you had yesterday?  It is in times like these that we have to take captive our emotions, which threaten to undo us.

The perceived lack of care from people around you can make the sting of pain more intense, making you feel boxed in with no means of escape from the oppression of hurt which has you bound.  The operative word is “can”.  God has given us emotions – we are meant to feel.  When we suffer emotional pain, the temptation is to want to escape that crucible of suffering – but how do you escape from the pain in your own mind?  This is perhaps what makes emotional pain so difficult to overcome.

I often try to guard myself from intense emotional pain, as it produces in my autoimmune system a physical response that is unpleasant and incapacitating.  But sometimes surprises come and you feel the full impact of sorrow.  I think God wants us to feel that pain, not avoid it.  Emotional pain can lead us to our Savior’s feet, surrendered and desperate before Him.  Hurt can, instead, be fuel for revival or self-absorbed pity parties.

Some pain is thrust upon us by others and some we presume in our own minds.  Taking captive thoughts that are not biblical is the first step toward emotional wholeness.  It is incredibly difficult to avoid fleshly thoughts of consolation, but doing so enables us to break out of the emotional bondage trying to enslave us.  The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is actually not true.  Coming to the realization that everything is about God’s glory brings perspective that opens a door.  A door for us to walk away from life’s surprises and people’s words that can either become sin through bitter unforgiveness or a doorway to victory and emotional freedom from anyone’s judgment.  He has made us to be free, indeed – from emotional baggage, too.

Lord, we don’t like to be hurt or to suffer emotionally.  But You know what that feels like, too.  May we not resist the fruit of such suffering and glorify You in the midst. 

Worshipful Wednesday: Christmas Countdown Day 3 – Victory over Depression during Christmas

Photo Credits scottegbert.com

Photo Credits
scottegbert.com

Psalm 124:1

“If the Lord had not been on our side”— let Israel say this!— if the Lord had not been on our side, when men attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger raged against us. The water would have overpowered us; the current would have overwhelmed us.  The raging water would have overwhelmed us. The Lord deserves praise, for he did not hand us over as prey to their teeth. We escaped with our lives, like a bird from a hunter’s snare. The snare broke, and we escaped. Our deliverer is the Lordthe Creator of heaven and earth.”

Christmas can be a difficult time for many.  The celebration of Christmas does not deliver what we hoped.  Painful memories echo in our minds of family members who left us or harmed us.  Thoughts of what should have been or could have been – regrets and dreads can loom large and steal our joy.  Maybe you do not even want to read this or dare to hope that there could actually be real joy at Christmas – keep reading.  The world offers many solutions for this emptiness of our soul. Entertainment, satisfying the flesh, avoiding the pain.  God’s prescription is quite different – feel the pain in all of our humanity, but come to Him, Who can heal our souls.  It is not a “just be happy” or just “choose to be happy” solution, but it is a choice to come to God and a real answer in the face of real pain.

On Wednesdays I always read from the book of Psalms.  A songwriter myself, I cherish David’s songs – a heart cry to His LORD. If anyone understands what it is to have emotional torment, it is David.  He could have been diagnosed with many labels in his day – PTSD, panic and anxiety disorders, even depression.  He said as much in many of the Psalms.  But He was looking to One who he knew would resolve the battle within.  David demonstrated again and again what looking to God for help would do – give hope and peace – even joy again.

That is what Christ does for us.  He offers us hope through His trustworthy promises and deliverance.  Christ understands suffering, too, and when we look to the Christ child this Christmas, we see a God Who is our Master, but Who also walks beside us.  He chooses to call us friend – we are friends with a King!  Now a King can grant any request – so it is with our God.  Happiness at Christmas or any other time is not based on getting what we want, but on being content with what God has allowed.  We can trust Him and He can bring real lasting joy more than a day ever could.

Pain is real – what do we do with it?  The pain may not be absent and scars might last the rest of our days, but there is a healing balm in Jerusalem found in an infant Who changes our heart, understanding and perspective.  The compassion gained through our pain is a beautiful gift we lay at the feet of our baby King, and He is pleased.  May we lay down our idols as gifts much like Frankincense, gold and Myrrh, of what we wanted from life and Christmas and humbly accept the gift of life that God has given us.  This is when joy enters our soul and we are relieved of the burden we have been holding onto. Give it all to Him and ask Him to help deliver you.  He will do it and His grace is sufficient to all who call on His Name.  It is going to be a Merry Christmas, after all, friend.

Thank You, LORD, for the amazing gift of your baby Son.  What a treasure, what a delight!  We lay our burdens at Your feet and trust You with all of what life brings our way.  Amen.

#curefordepression

Real Hope and Deliverance

Shelter

2 Timothy 4:16-17

“At my first defense no one appeared in my support; instead they all deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it.  17 But the LORD stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message would be fully proclaimed for all the gentiles to hear.  And so I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”

Isaiah 54:17

“No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his servants–I will vindicate them,” says the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:58

“You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”

Today’s blog is one that brings me some pain to think upon.  Even though I stand on the other side of great angst and suffering and have seen God’s amazing deliverance, reflecting on the horror of being dragged to court relentlessly is something I would rather not do.  Guess there is still some need for healing there.  But in my heart, I am driven by a passion that maybe these words today might offer up some hope to someone in a similar circumstance, or bring healing and confidence that God is indeed our Savior and will never fail us in our time of need.  So may this blog be an offering to my God and a healing balm to those who need it.

The pain of being falsely accused and the terror of my children being harmed is still very real to me.  The truth did not seem to matter and twisted words seared my soul.  Disbelief that one who once was my partner would manipulate and cajole to get his way still is difficult to fathom.  Betrayal by one who professed to be a believer.  How?  Why?  Where was God in all of this?  Right by my side.  How could He allow even a moment of this horror into my life?  Why would He allow the innocent to be condemned in place of the guilty?  So many questions, terror on every side, and yet my soul still hoped in God.  It seemed that the court system was in favor of the violator, but I knew God’s word was true and every man a liar.  Perplexed and crushed, but not destroyed.

Joseph probably wondered how God was going to achieve the promise and prophesy etched in his mind, yet he, too, trusted in God’s sovereignty.  At times when it seems all of life is against you and friends dissipate to avoid your drama, it feels like your life will be ruined forever.  But God.  He is using even the hideous things that we want to avoid to both bring Him glory and to transform our character. Why must such a painful tool be used?  Sometimes we cannot be truly changed with gentle persuasion.  A harsher tool can accomplish beautiful things despite the potential harm it seemingly brings.  More importantly, Why is it painful?

No one would say it was a pleasurable experience to discover betrayal and then have the tables turned on you, but why?  Because at the very heart of that experience is the death of what we knew.  The death of comfort, too.  Innocence is gone and replaced with disillusionment, heartache and shock.  Not pleasurable feelings or emotions at all.  Our very nature craves pleasure and peace.  But can the soul be steadied and at rest when all around it is turbulence and pain?  Yes.  The amazing revelation that pleasure and comfort are not to be worshiped, not to be pursued as an end in and of themselves is liberation.  The lesson is not that we want to become a masochist and crave discomfort, but that we learn to be content and wade out the storm in Christ.  Bathing in His word and looking to Him for deliverance, we discover that our goal was never supposed to be the American dream or our definition of utopia, but obedience and glory for Christ through our lives.

Perhaps a painful trial delivered us from clinging to a person or a circumstance instead of to Christ, as our salvation.  Or maybe it opened up our eyes to see the pain all around us that before we had thought of as things “that happened to other people”.  Ironically, the hated scorn and stigma in our lives can become the very thing the LORD wants to use in our lives to bring others as well as ourselves closer to Him.  It still hurts to recall the former suffering, but I can now see what beauty it has formed in my life and in others.  Although God delivered me mightily, the hurt from the experience is a scar that reminds me what is really important – being completely absorbed in Christ in whatever path He has me to travel.

If you are suffering now, I know no words can remove that pain, except the word of God, and strength is given to those who run to the living God for shelter.  Sometimes it is not until we have been shaken to the very core of your being that we can understand the purpose of its presence.  If we worship Him only for the good things He gives, we miss some of the greatest moments of fellowship with Christ – identifying with Him in suffering.  We cannot outrun the pain, but we can run to Him and His grace is sufficient for those found in Him.  This is what real hope and deliverance are – not avoidance, but strength and grace to walk through whatever this life brings.  My deliverance wasn’t when I finally had the victory in court, but rather when I was broken and desperate and had nothing else to hope in but Him.  Amen.

Thank You, Lord, for the pain and the joys You have allowed into my life.  You are truly good all the time and I worship You for your sovereignty and faithfulness!  I love You, LORD!

Worshipful Wednesday: What Loyalty Looks Like

Psalm 118:1, 4-9, 13, 14, 17, 28-29

1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good and His loyal love endures!  4 Let the loyal followers of the LORD say, “yes, his loyal love endures!” 5 In my distress I cried out to the LORD.  The LORD answered me and put me in a wide open place.  6 The LORD is on my side, I am not afraid!  What can people do to me?  7 The LORD is on my side as my helperI look in triumph on those who hate me.  8 It is better to take shelter in the Lord than to trust in people9 It is better to take shelter in the Lord than to trust in princes.  13You aggressively attacked me and tried to knock me down, but the Lord helped me.  14 The Lord gives me strength and protects me; he has become my deliverer.”  17 I will not die, but liveand I will proclaim what the Lord has done.  28 You are my God and I will give you thanks!  You are my God and I will praise you!  29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good and his loyal love endures!

Loyalty.  Many profess to have it, but only the LORD is completely loyal.  Human covenants are tossed aside in the name of inconvenience and promises broken with someone to blame.  But God’s loyalty takes the messes we have made and in His faithfulness and never ending loyalty, still uses it for good.  He never gives up on us.  I think perhaps the most painful thing in this life is betrayal.  When you have placed your faith in someone and they do not do what they promised, we wonder, who can be trusted?  These human broken relationships can hinder our walk with God.  If what we can see can break our hearts, how can we trust in One we cannot see?  His presence is all around, palpable to the attentive seeker, but His ways are not our own and his timing might create doubt, unless we know Him and what loyalty really means.

God’s loyalty is unique – He is loyal to me and to my enemy.  He is loyal to all.  His loyalty is righteous.  He does not express it in a dysfunctional manner as we humans can tend to do.  He knows what we need when we need it.  He permits painful consequences in His love.  Sometimes we will wonder if we are forgotten, but God’s character is a bedrock, reminding us that it is impossible for Him to not be loyal.  It is just against His very core and being.  He is good.  Completely pure.  Completely unable to ever lie or fail.  That is Who I place my trust in.  Even when His loyalty does not look like what I think it should in a moment.

Loyalty is not the absence of pain, but the endowment of strength to carry us through it.  Jesus did not promise us a pain-free life, nor is loyalty expressed in being surrounded by comfort, but He did promise to go through it with us.  Not what we are looking for in loyalty?  We want a Savior to deliver us from all hardship, and He is our Savior, too.  But wait until the chips are down and friends leave, not wanting to be encumbered by our issues.  It is then, in the quiet moments of numb pain, when virtually all have left or are weary of our struggles, that we look up to our Creator and cry out.  He never grows weary and is always available.  What loyalty and faithfulness He embodies.  Even more amazing – He is able to make us loyal as He lives through us.  There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – even unto all eternity!

Thank You, precious LORD, for never leaving or forsaking us.  You are faithful and true.  You are good all the time.  Help us to place our trust in You even when circumstances seem to indicate otherwise.

A Matter of Trust

By: Denise Pass © 5/30/14

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Joshua 21:45

“Not one of the Lord’s faithful promises to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; every one was realized.”

Joshua 23:11

“Watch yourselves carefully! Love the Lord your God!”

Joshua 24:14, 16

“Now obey the Lord and worship Him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and worship the Lord.” :16 The people responded, far be it from us to abandon the Lord so we can worship other gods!

Trust. Such a small word and such a hard thing to do. If you have lived long enough to understand the language and dialect around you, you have had your trust broken; whether it was a family member or a friend, someone, somewhere has let you down. Live a little longer and maybe you will taste the bitter fruit of betrayal. Boy, I sound like a pessimist, don’t I? But pretending we have not been wounded by someone not fulfilling what they promised is not a solution, is it? Perhaps the most difficult of all is when you experience a horrific tragedy that you never fathomed would happen to you – sexual abuse, divorce, an incapacitating illness – where was God then? Is your trust in God hurt today, because of the actions of another who hurt you? Why is it that we blame God when another’s hand committed the pain? Or when living in a fallen world with diseases means we might become infected ourselves? Lastly, when our own sinful choices cause devastating consequences in our lives or the lives of others? Breathe in what the Bible says about God’s character. Not one. Not a single promise has He not kept. He is good – no evil resides within Him. How then can He be the author of evil that manifests in our lives? God is compassionate and weeps over the sins committed against us because of what it does to our soul. We mentally assent to these truths about God, but our heart betrays us. Oftentimes we convince ourselves that we trust God, but we cleave to something or someone else for peace and comfort. It’s a scary world out there, but no god or substitute can deliver us from the uncertainty living in a fallen world presents. Joshua is speaking to us now to put aside those things – idols, false gods, worldly solutions – that we seek to fill our trust vacuum. It can be so hard to do, but it is what is required to walk in a relationship of trust with God. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). If today those words pierce your soul, if it seems impossible to truly be abandoned to trusting God with all of your life, surrender. That’s right. Admit that you cannot do it and lay it at His feet. Maybe consider bowing down, since we all will bow before Him ultimately. His shoulders are big enough to carry your burdens and His love never ceases. He alone is completely trustworthy.  Trust Him, today.  He is good – all the time.

Lord, help us to trust you when we are surrounded by a multitude of burdens that can turn our heart away from the simplicity of sweet trust and surrender in you. Minister and heal hearts that read this blog today, and pour out your love on them, Lord – all for Your glory!