Psalm 30:4-7 (NLT)
Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
Was yesterday a full moon? There was a lunar eclipse although we could not see it for the cloud cover over our area, but it was reportedly a blood moon. I know that people believe that a full moon can change the atmosphere and people for that matter. I am beginning to believe that there is something divine when the light of the full moon breaks through the dark and it must make some people crazy or at the very least shake them up a little. When I woke up I felt great, which is unusual because although I choose to get up at 4:30 AM that it is not a love affair with morning but my Heavenly Father that drives me to do so. I can attest as can my poor, precious husband that it is not my most stellar time of day. When the alarm goes off it is usually accompanied by moaning and sighing, but not so yesterday I greeted the alarm with a smile. Now I should have known right then and there that something was out of whack – silly me. Totally out of character and contradictory to my nature, I was in a great mood from the get go. Even with a few morning setbacks, I could feel joy just flowing from me. It was as if tiny little bluebirds were floating around my head as the melodious words to the children’s favorite “Zip-a-Dee–Doo-Dah” from the movie Song of the South played in my head. Walked into work and cold water was immediately thrust upon me. Problem number one right out of the gates combined with my good friend’s “get-back-I-haven’t-finished-my-coffee” and “the-money-doesn’t-balance” attitude as I offered help in finding a resolution. No worries, I continued whistling down the hall to my office. I really cannot recount every single thing that happened from the time I entered my office until I crawled back to my car but it was bad. Problem number one had infinite attached. My lists became longer and time became shorter. People lost their mind including one who required three meetings with administrators and the other who decided to unleash on my co-worker and myself until a nice deputy became involved. Did I mention that I have a bridal shower for my daughter this weekend? And yes, that means a wedding in the very near future! See when you read the title of the post, you probably thought I was going to share something about our son and his journey. Well, in the midst of the chaos marked yesterday – I didn’t have a chance to even wonder about his well-being although I am quite happy to report God is good and our son is making an amazing recovery from his bone marrow transplant – thank you for asking and praying! Upon arriving home, I began feverishly cleaning our house. This is my usual response to stress overload. For some crazy reason, it brings me peace within the order and control especially when everything is out of control. My final prayer when falling into bed way later than usual was “Lord, prepare me for just one more day!”
“When I was prosperous, I said, ‘Nothing can stop me now!” This morning these words are on automatic replay in my heart and in my head. Apparently there is something that the Lord wants me to find tucked in His Word to recharge my heart and change my mind about the day that lies ahead. My usual casual run through status updates this morning as I was waking my brain showed a couple whose baby they have waited for was finally born. He has a severe birth defect so their time with him today is precious. Another whose husband is fighting a nasty brain tumor who late in the night packed up the car to head to MD Anderson as the doctors in our town have indicated that they are out of treatment options. The story of another woman battling cancer who cries out to another to live out each moment rather than giving up in her fight. She says this in her post, “Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known.” (Kara Tippetts) God’s anger toward us ended when Jesus Christ died for our sins on the Cross. All of these difficult details of life are meaningful. The three stories that I have shared all have a common thread. They believe in God’s Goodness in the midst of tragedy. They hold tightly to His Favor granted strictly because of His Kindness and so they continue to embrace life rather than turning bitter and cold from the harshness of it all. These are the ones who know the true meaning of “nothing can stop me now!” His Favor lasts for a lifetime. It is present in the good days though we do not appreciate it quite as much as on the horrible ones.
Job 36:15-16 (NLT)
“But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food.”
God knows my heart and its honesty when I tell you that Job’s friends annoy me so that I have trouble reading his story to get to the good part. On and on they go about a God that they have heard about but do not really know. If they knew God like Job did in righteousness, it would have been different. However, their knowledge of God is evident and the Lord’s ability to use anybody to get His Point across is clear. Elihu tells Job that “by means of suffering, He rescues those who suffer…for He gets their attention through adversity.” Having faced the greatest adversity that I have ever known in the past three years, this verse brings comfort. I understand what Elihu is telling Job but not in what the man is saying but rather what the Spirit of God is evoking. “God is leading you from danger Job to a place free of distress. He is setting your table with the best food!” My banner on one social network page has a water pitcher with the words over it, “To be filled with the Spirit means to be emptied of self.” I posted it so long ago I don’t even remember when. As I read it today, I realize that through adversity God has granted my prayer. He has filled me with His Joy, Peace and Love so when trouble comes it is what I draw from. I had to be poured out to have what I desired. I had to be broken to be healed, restored and made new. The process has been quite painful. But God is leading me to the refuge of His Presence and teaching me that even when it seems like an ordinary day, I must strive to remain there because at any moment all hell will break loose. The enemy has my relationship with the Lord because it strips him of power to control me, hurt me or even destroy me. However, that does not mean that he has given up so easily. What does the devil have to lost? His torment and torture will continue until my other foot takes its final step into forever with Jesus in the meantime, I must keep one foot in His Presence and the other firmly rooted and grounded in His Love by faith. This verse makes me think of Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your Goodness and Unfailing Love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
The comparison here is evident at least it is for me. The Lord is My Shepherd. He wants to provide for me. He wants to lead me by His Goodness to all the Good Things that He has prepared for me along the way called life. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I have nothing to fear. God is with me. He helps me. He goes before me and stays close behind me making sure I have safe travels. His Discipline guides me, protects me and yes, even comforts me in just knowing Him. God’s Goodness and Unfailing Love are in constant pursuit of me which implies that there may be times in my life when although I thought I was doing all the right things my heart was not in the right place. To Jesus, your heart is all that really matters. A heart intent on seeking Him wholeheartedly and finding His Love will never be disappointed because that is what hope is all about discovering that there is more to life than this so you enjoy the minutes, hours, days and seasons that come in it knowing every detail will be turned for our good. Would I have followed Jesus if I did not need Him so? Probably not. Would I have discovered my great need outside of my suffering? Definitely not – I had it all under control. But when I lost control – Jesus stepped in and filled my life with His Goodness, Mercy and Love to overflowing.
Lamentations 3:18-23 (NLT)
I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His Mercies begin afresh each morning.
There is a sweet, young couple who are the kids of a friend of a friend. The day that they went to the hospital to welcome their second child, their two-year-old fell into a pool and nearly drowned. Ever since that day, they have been on a long road to recovery with no promises other than faith in God which we know makes all things possible. In and out of the hospital, they face many challenges with their precious little one. She wrote recently that she and her husband have no regrets. Their whole life they have considered to be blessed. I believe that when suffering comes it cleans out all the mess and digs to the heart of the matter. It cleans the window to our heart and allows to see the contents. It reveals hidden regret, guilt or whatever thing was buried beneath the busy, ordinary and scheduled routine that we once lived enabling us to look at our life with clarity that we may have never known. There is wisdom in that moment. Faith is revealed or sadly not found. We find out what we are really hoping for in life and if it matters at all. The most profound blessing that I find to be a common thread in the different people who I have shared is that when everything fell apart, faith was found and hope discovered. “Yet I still dare to hope…” only those who know God will come to this determination. In such a place, He meets us with faithfulness, mercy and love. Not on that day when every changed, but each day as we learn to pursue the Lord by faith fueled by Great Love. “I will never forget this awful time.” This may not be a bad thing if that awful time produced more faith, stronger hope and confident love for Jesus.
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
When I opened my eyes today, I had to laugh. I couldn’t believe that I was in a good mood all over again as if yesterday was washed away. I am not wary of what today holds but ready to face it by faith. My hope is secure. I am covered by His Love. While I was sleeping, the Lord left me some mercy to carry me through another day. I cried out for mercy yesterday and it came special delivery today. I am a scheduled stop each new day. I have said many times to many people that on our wedding day when I look up and standing before me are all my precious children fancy clothes and all together as they should be and I reach over to slide my hand into my husband’s that I will know that we made it through this “awful time”. I don’t know what will happen the moment after or the next day or the coming years – the future eludes me. But I have peace knowing that my future is good and has hope. If I search for the Lord wholeheartedly, I will have that future and hope that He promised. (Jeremiah 29:13) I tell you today be careful what you pray for. To be filled, you must be emptied. To be healed, you must be broken. To feel His Presence means experiencing loneliness. Suffering produces a hunger and thirst for the Lord and His Kingdom. No one wants to suffer. I did not raise my hand or check a box that yes we were ready to fight cancer. But now I can say, “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” and mean it because I know this is true. Suffering changed my heart. Now I want the Favor of God in my life more than anything else. It also draws the attention of the enemy who will take anything from us that we are willing to give including our peace and joy which are both Gifts from God. “Nothing can stop me now…” No really, one bad does not necessarily lead to another but if it does – I welcome the opportunity to suffer if it means to know Him more! I will walk through the darkest valley to know the Light of His Amazing Love. His Favor lasts a lifetime! It has made me secure!
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.