Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be consumed”.
I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of my little daughter’s cries. She bounded into my bed and snuggled in my arms as I comforted her with the words she’s heard before: “It’s OK now, mommy’s here”. I was struck by how very like little children we are with God as our Father — when you pass through the waters- “I am with you”; when cancer strikes- “I am with you”; when it seems all hope is gone and you don’t know where to turn – “I am with you”.
Over and over in His Word, God speaks those words of comfort to our souls if we will listen–“I am with you”, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death-you are with me”,”lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. Oh Lord, help me to trust You like a little child and know that always You are with me. Amen.
Everyday they surround me, following me through my day, though I may not consciously be aware of them. Voices. Some are actual words spoken by those I come into contact with. Others are whispered to my thoughts. Many times the voices speak words that crush my spirit and wound my soul… “failure”…”worthless”…”give up”…”God has forsaken you”… The voices can overwhelm me and paralyze me with fear and hopelessness. But, there is another voice. I can choose to be hopelessly crushed by the other voices or I can listen to the voice of truth. The One who speaks rest and peace to my soul. The One who whispers to me my true worth. The One who gave His very life to save mine. It is a choice. What voice do I choose to listen to?
We are an advanced society. We have technology available to us today that can do amazing things. We can do anything…or can we? Farmers can plant their fields using the latest in technology and high cost equipment, but in the end only God can send the rain and the sunshine to make the plants grow. In our lives sometimes we live like we are in control–the masters of our own destiny. We keep God in a little box conveniently on a shelf to bring down when we need Him. But our lives are nothing without Him. We need to live in a way that He is in control of every aspect of our lives. Every breath we breathe is because of Him. All we have is because of Him. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
I had a very proud “mom moment” yesterday. My son had his Eagle Board of review and passed. He is now officially an Eagle Scout! Whew! It was a very long journey to get there and I think I sprouted a few more grey hairs in the process, but it was all worth it. He is so happy and I couldn’t be prouder!
The night is dark and cold winds blow as I plod down the pathway. Hunched over, I can barely carry the weight of my load…so very weary…so very much alone. I clutch at my burden, unwilling to release it out of my control, yet longing for help in bearing it. I have carried it alone so long, so very long. I finally cry out in desperation “please help me!” and He answers me “Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Gently and lovingly he reaches down and takes my burden on Himself and lays His yoke in it’s place. Such freedom! Such peace! Such rest! Amen.
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that thou art mindful of him, the son of man that thou care for him?” Psalm 8: 3-4.
Who am I that anyone would care about me–about all my hurts and needs? If I were to show up on the White House steps and ask to see the most powerful person in the United States so that I could pour out my heart to him and tell him all of my fears, would I even get in? Probably not. But I can go directly to the Almighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth and He will not turn me away. He desires that I come to Him and that I come often to His throne of grace and mercy. He will take me in His loving arms and wipe away my tears and comfort my broken heart. He will carry me when I don’t have the strength to take even one more step. He is my Father and I am His child and He will be with me forever. Amen.
My quiver is full. Eight beautiful arrows lovingly fashioned by the Master Craftsman. Each one unique and made for a special purpose. Selfishly, I want to hide them away–to keep them for myself, but that is not what they were made for. I pick up my bow and send them forth to do the work God has made them for–to be a blessing to others even as they are a blessing to me. And I find in the sending forth not emptiness, but a unique sense of fulfillment. Thank you God for blessing me with these beautiful arrows and allowing me to be part of them as they fly forth to bless others in Your name. Amen.
The faint strains of the Olympic theme song play in the background as my daughter steps up on the block to shatter the world swimming record and take the gold…OK, it was really only an Invitational, but it was still a proud mom moment for me. Her relay team has been so amazing this season. They just took home 2 first place medals (one for the freestyle relay and one for the medley relay) plus they broke the club record for their time. Actually, I am so proud of her no matter what place she comes in because I know she tries so hard. She practices 4 hours a day. Since she started swimming when she was 10 our “motto” has been “Do your best and leave the rest up to God” (from the movie “Facing the Giants”). My hope for her is that she will take that into all of life. It’s not about the glory, it’s about doing your best for God every day. Now that’s much better than an Olympic gold!
The light is dim as I make my way down the darkened path. Strange noises frighten me and branches seem to capture me as they reach out their spindly arms. My foot catches on a root in the path and I fall, breathless, to the earth. My soul cries to God–why is the way so dark and frightening? Why can’t you shine a bright light ahead of me so I can see further down the path I am walking on? He answers me–dear child, you hold my lamp in your hand if you have the courage to trust me.
God’s Word says “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” Psalm 119:105. He did not promise to show us everything that is down the path and around the bend, but He gave us His Word to light our path one step at a time if we will take His hand and let Him lead us. Lord, shine your light at my feet and help me to follow you. Amen.
I Kings 19:11-12 “And he said, Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, a still small voice.”
Life is loud. Sometimes my problems press in around me and it seems in my turning to and fro to find answers I cannot hear God. I was at an appointment last week about an important matter and I was feeling very overwhelmed to have to deal with it on my own. I was sitting in the waiting area with several other people, feeling the enormous weight on my shoulders, when I just cried out to God to please be with me in the midst of this. It took me about a minute, when I heard it. In an open office across the hall I heard music playing very faintly. I had to strain to hear it, but then I recognized the song “Here I Am To Worship”. This was not a Christian office, so to hear a song like that was amazing. God’s still small voice speaking to my heart “I am with you and I will be with you always”. Thank you God for teaching me to be still and wait on your still small voice!