Friday, October 27, 2023

Do Not Fear

Being a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne, waltching him decline in health over a four and a half year period, losing him to death in the end, and my own battle against breast cancer during that time were difficult trials in my past life.  Current very difficult trials are also a challenge.  Knowing I can trust that God loved and loves me and was and is in control in the midst of the confusion and grief of it all made and continues to make all the difference in the world.

God is sovereign and in control. Nothing happens to a Christian or his or her loved ones that is not filtered through His love. This is true even in the most difficult and heartbreaking events of life. This is a difficult truth to accept. When this truth is accepted, however, it a soft place to land when one is overwhelmed with life’s difficulties.

God is good. Circumstances may be bad, but God is good. God is the very definition and essence of goodness. He proved that by sending His son on the cross. He can help Christians who are struggling to keep emotional and spiritual equilibrium in the midst of the heartaches of life.   He can also slowly emotionally heal Christians, when life has handed them the unthinkable.

Joy can coexist in the midst of the deep heartaches and grief of life. This is because joy is not based on circumstances which are favorable or perfect  Sometimes life's trials involve a process that takes much time and deep crying out to the Lord and depending on Him.   At times there is a scar that never goes completely away. Yet, the Lord's faithfulness will be with us all the way, and the joy of the Lord will  always return. Do not live in fear of the future, dear Christian. Never forget that the Lord loves you, and He is good. He is in control.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Unexpected Storms

About five years ago our area was inundated with an unexpected storm.  Television reports and the blowing of the sirens alerted us to it's imminent arrival.  Yet the intensity of the winds and the torrential downpour of rain left me in awe.  I should have been in the basement, as the weather reporters advised.  Yet then I would have missed seeing the power of this storm.

As it turns out this storm uprooted some big old trees and broke off many, many big branches in our village. (I posted one picture of an uprooted tree by the village park below.)   It caused many people to lose electrical power-some for thirty-six hours or more.  I never lost power, but I lost internet and phone service for awhile.  Evidence of the storm were still evident on my village streets a few days later, although some towns and counties around us fared worse because of the storm.

Life is filled with other kinds of storms as well.  I remember the storm of caring for my first husband and watching as his body became more and more disabled over a period of about four and a half years.  The care-giving storm is a difficult storm.  I remember the storm of grief after losing my husband and becoming a widow.  I remember the storm of all the secondary losses as well, and of having to build an entirely new life.

I also remember other storms since those days and I am currently facing storms in my current life.  Sometimes the storms have been very intense and painful emotionally and physically.  Sometimes they have been minor storms which can collectively wear on an individual.  Storms of one degree of intensity or another continue to seem to come.

 Nancy Guthrie from her book, The One Year Book of HOPE., said this in one of her devotions, "Perhaps you find yourself watching the storm clouds gather in the distance, or maybe you are swirling in the center of a storm.  Or perhaps the storm has come and gone and you are picking up the pieces of your life.  God often speaks to us through the storms of our lives.---if we listen, in the midst of the most violent storm we can detect the still, small voice of God, calling us to greater faith in Him."

Often it takes a storm for us to see our need for the Lord and to cry out to Him.  It is often in the storms that our complacency is replaced with a sense of His presence. We then hear His still small voice.  We recognize that He is with us in the storm.  Having the Lord with us in the storm makes all the difference, no matter how tumultuous the storm.

When I was watching that storm of a few years ago from my living room window I felt remarkably calm in the moment.  I was relatively safe in the "ark" of my home.  Imagine how Noah in the Old Testament of the Bible felt when he was in that ark in the great flood, however.  Imagine how fearful the disciples in the New Testament felt when they were in their boat in very stormy weather.  Yet the Lord Jesus is our ark of safety in all the kinds of storms that God allows in our lives.  We may not like the storms, but He is always our place of safety.

Sometimes it is easy to tire of the storms that keep coming and to dread the next one which perhaps can not yet be seen on the horizon.  It is easy to also imagine storms that never will occur.  That only uses up emotional energy unnecessarily.  Instead of looking at the waves in current storms, reliving regrets about past storms, or imagining future storms; the Lord wants us to look to Him.  He wants us to focus on Him and embrace Him, and when storms do come he wants us to step out faith.  He wants us to trust His sustaining power and love.

The only way we can prepare for unexpected storms in our lives is by living close to the Lord and by immersing God's Word into our lives.  We need to obediently build our lives on the foundation of obedience to God's Word and on His precious promises to always be with us.  Yes, we will falter and become afraid at times, but the Lord and the promises of His Word will see us through.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Never Separated From His Love

Sometimes the future can seem so uncertain and fearful. As children of God, however, we have victory in Christ Jesus, our Lord! We need to fear nothing, for the Lord is on our side! Nothing can separate us from the love of God! What an awesome thought, and what an awesome promise! In light of all this there can be overflowing joy in our hearts!

We are secure in Christ for time and for eternity. Sometimes we may feel as if everything is against us, but the Word of God teaches us that the great God of the universe is always for us and is always with us! (Romans 8:31-32) God proved His love for us by sending His only Son to die for our sins. Surely we can trust Him to provide us with everything we need for time and eternity. In the uncertainties of life Christians can rest in the Lord. They have the Lord God on their side, and they are victors in Him!

Nothing will happen to us that is not in God's plan for our lives, so we need not fear.  In fact, Christ is always interceding for His children before God the Father! He is interceding for you also, dear Christian! He knows your heartaches, your challenges, and your fears; and He is praying for you! What a blessed promise!

In light of all this, what set of circumstances can ever separate you from the love of Christ, dear, Christian? (Romans 8:35a) The answer is that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ! No matter what hardship, trials or heartaches you or I may be experiencing in our lives at the moment; we are never separated from the love of Christ.

In fact, trials in our lives are part of God's plan and purpose for our lives to mold us to become more like Jesus in our character and attitudes. We are not separated from God’s love by the heartaches of life. Rather, the Lord is with us in a special way guiding and comforting us.

What is more Romans 8:37 teaches us that we are more than a conqueror! One becomes a conqueror through the trials of life by patiently enduring these trials and by being submissive to the Lord's will. One becomes more than a conqueror by using these experiences to grow in our love and service for the Lord.

God always see us through difficult times and brings us to ultimate victory. Victory is always assured for the Christian-if not in this life, then in eternity.  There will be ultimate victory for you too, dear Christian.  At times you may feel as if your life has been shattered in a million pieces, but God will bring ultimate victory and peace for you.

Absolutely nothing will ever separate us from the love of God and the victory we have in the Lord Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:38-39) Praise the name of the Lord for our victory in Him!

(There will not be a new blog post next week. Use this time to reread some of my older posts.