Recently I have been faced with one of the hardest things that I have had to go through in my adult life. While I am still in the midst of it all, there are a few things I have learned in last couple weeks.
He is here with me in my sadness.
He is here with me in the joyous moments.
He is here with me in the moments that I don’t understand.
He is here with me when I pretend to be ok and ignore my feelings.
He is here with me when I don’t understand my feelings and can’t put a name to it.
There is a song that I have been identifying with the last couple weeks.
Maybe it’s ok if I’m not ok
‘Cause the One who holds the world is holding onto me
Maybe it’s all right if I’m not all right
‘Cause the One who holds the stars is holding my whole life
“Maybe It’s Ok”by We are Messengers.
While I don’t know when this will end, I do know that God with me in the midst of the storm. He is teaching me new things in this storm. I trust Him in the midst of the storm.
If you are going through a hard season in life, look at what you can learn through it all. Look to the peace in the storm rather than focusing on the storm.
God has been teaching me patience and to wait on his timing for probably the most of my life. There are times in life that I have felt like I was in the waiting place(according to Dr. Seuss) for a long time and in many ways I am still in the waiting place. Excerpt from Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss:
“You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
It is in this waiting place that we often get impatient and frustrated with God and life. And we can ruin what God make have in store for us. Granted God can use us in all situations to even if its not in His plan but for His glory. But where we may end up might not be as good as God intended us to be. We humans have a way of getting in the way of God because we think that we know best for us. But in reality the creature(us) does not see the whole picture like the Creator(God) does. So how can we know what is best for us over the Creator that created us into existance.
Sometimes we need to stay in this waiting place for God to prepare us for something greater than we can imagine. The waiting place is not an easy place to be but it is in that waiting place we can experience the peace and love of our Creator. Even though we may have no idea what is going to happen next. In uncertain times, there can be peace and joy because we have our Creator walking beside us in life.
Do I have life all figured out? No, I will never on this earth but I do know that I am a child of God who has a God that loves me more than I can imagine and fathom. (It still amazes me that God would love me and that He wants a personal relationship with me with millions of people on this earth.) And I would rather be in the waiting place with my Creator than in a place on my own. When we are in this waiting place, we need to sit back allow God to do the work and be ready to follow His calling for our lives out of the waiting place.
You knew the shame and guilt I would struggle with and you still chose to create me!
You knew my failures in my life and you still chose to create me!
You knew the fears that would hold me back and you still chose to create me!
You knew my frustrations and you still chose to create me!
You knew my struggles and you still chose to create me!
You knew the insecurities I would struggle with and you still chose to create me!
You knew the pain and hurt I would carry and you still chose to create me!
You knew there were things I am going to choose over you and you still chose to create me!
You knew everything about me and you still chose to create me!
I created you because I knew that this world needed you in it. I created you for a purpose that only you can fill. And guess what, when I created you I told all of heaven with delight “look there is my beautiful daughter!” “My daughter, I love you more than you can imagine. Daughter, just as the grains of sand at the beach, the stars in the sky and the rain drops in a rain storm can not be counted. My love for you can not be counted.”
In life, we have some days when we are celebrating and other days when we are struggling. But no matter where we are at in any particular day, we can have a peace in our Father. The song “It is Well with my soul” was written in some of the toughest circumstances. But yet the writer, Horatio G. Spafford, was still able to say it is well with my soul.
Although Horatio was a successful business man in Chicago, him and his wife had several loses within a couple years. They lost their son at a young age in 1871. Then went on to lose most of his business the same year in a fire. Two years later, Horatio’s wife Anna and his 4 daughters were on a ship headed to Europe from the U.S. The ship they were collided with another ship. As a result of the collision, his four daughters died. Anna was the only one that survived from the family. Anna sent a message to Horatio “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Horatio booked a passage to join his wife. While he was on the ship headed to his wife, he wrote this song.
“When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul” by Horatio G. Spafford
This is one of the most beautiful hymns written in history. Some of the most beautiful things come out of the most broken people or circumstances. This song was written by a man whose heart was broken and lost almost everything in a short span of time.
After hearing this story, this song has become my favorite hymn. It is also reminder to me that even when life is hard and it does not make sense, it is well with my soul. Because of who my Savior is. He is Sovereign, Prince of Peace, the ultimate Lover, Comforter, Rock, Redeemer and Deliver.
So when life is tough, confusing, uncertain and painful, we can say it is well with my soul because of who our Savior is. I challenge you to find joy and peace in your Father as Horatio did in tragic times. It is in these moments that when we find what we need in God, we are hopeful And hope is what gives the strength to go to the next moment and to keep going from there.
Recently I was thinking about the saying “I love you more.” This is commonly said among those in a romantic relationship or parental and child relationship. As I thought about it, I was reminded that Jesus loves you more. This love is greater than anything in our human mind could even begin to comprehend. It is so great that Jesus laid down His own life for me and you so that we do not have to take the ultimate consequence for sin. The ultimate consequence of sin is separation from God, our Creator, eternally.
The amazing thing about this love is that there is nothing we can do to change this love from God and Jesus! “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” – Romans 8:38-39
There are times that we do things that we may think we have messed up and God is not going to love me or forgive me or give me grace anymore. This is where we are wrong! And the fact that we are wrong is a beautiful thing. God created us and as the Creator He has gigantic love for His creation. A love that our human mind can only comprehend a fraction of. Think of a time when you have created something. You are proud of and love this creation that you made and the purpose that creation was created for. This isn’t much that creation can do that would not cause you to love it. Now take that love and pride that you have for your creation and multiple that by an infinite amount of times. This is the love that God has for you!!
This is the simple gospel. A Creator who loves us so much that He wants to show us this love in something as simple as having a relationship with Him. As in any relationship the more time you spend with someone and get to know them, deeper the love you have for this person. This is how it is with God. We need to put aside the things that we think we need to gain His love. And just get back to the basics of building a deeper relationship with our Creator.
Sometimes in life we think that we need to have do big milestones before we can celebrate or before God celebrates with us. And because of this we become paralyzed and might not start anything at all. Or we don’t think baby steps that we started are worth celebrating.
But in reality God celebrates every step we take. And He especially celebrates the baby steps. Sometimes the hardest steps are the baby steps because it may mean the beginning of something new. Many times, there is uncertainty in it. Which requires us to trust in God when we are taking these first baby steps.
These baby steps could lead to a milestone in our lives. For me one of my milestones in my life is to be the first one in my family to graduate from high school and college. While these are great accomplishments and God celebrated with me when they were accomplished! But God also celebrated every time I was dedicated to study for a class. Studying for a class is many baby steps of a larger goal of getting a diploma.
It is hard for me to fathom in my human brain that God has the time to care about my baby steps. The amazing thing is that I don’t need to figure that out for me to celebrate my baby steps. As a human, we are not meant to put God in a box. And this is something we do often when we try to figure out God. So, when I put aside my human rationalization, it is exciting for me that I have Father who created the universe rooting for me and celebrating every step of my journey.
As society, I believe we do not celebrate enough. There are many examples in the Bible of celebration. “We see celebration not only here in Nehemiah 12, as Israel dedicated the wall, but we also see celebration throughout the Bible. The shepherds, wise men, and angels celebrated the birth of Jesus with gifts, songs, and prayer. God gave Israel many celebrations in the Old Covenant such as the Feast of Booths, year of Jubilee, etc. In the New Covenant, he has given us the Lord’s Supper and baptism. We also see future celebrations such as the wedding of the Lamb and the wedding feast with Abraham.” We sometimes think it is trivial to celebrate the baby steps. Baby steps give us the hope to keep going to the next steps. And eventually many baby steps lead to a milestone goal completed.
So celebrate baby steps whether they are yours or someone else’s because our Creator celebrates them!
Recently life has thrown some challenges at me and my family. Some of the challenges could be enough to shake someone’s faith. Some of the things are big and life changing. There are a few things I learned along that way or that I have been reminded of; as I deal with and process the events that have been happening.
First, that God is still good and sovereign no matter what life puts in my path. And He walks right beside me as I walk through the trials of life. These trials in life did not surprise Him. He knew they were coming. I am grateful that this is a foundation in my life because without this life would be much harder than it already is. “The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” – Psalms 145:9
Second, the peace of God is worth more than the most expensive item on earth! If you don’t have peace it robs you of the amazing things that God has in store for you and your life. I am grateful that I have His peace as I journey through life. “For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” – Isaiah 54:10
Third, my strength come from the Creator of all things. There are times I feel weak and do not feel strong enough to go through the battles of life. I have realized my strength comes from Him and not from myself. On my own I will never be strong enough. I will always be weak on my own without Him. This is a relief knowing that I do not have to strong and that I can go to my Father for the strength I lack. “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless his people with peace. – Psalm 29:11”
Fourth, my emotions and life circumstances will not dictate on whether I have joy and peace. Sure I will have days where emotions will be strong and life circumstances will be hard. Because I am human! But they can not take my joy and peace away. I will have joy even in the moments that I would rather have a pity party for myself. “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” – Psalms 5:11
Life is full of lessons and reminders. And there is a joy and peace when it does not makes sense to have it when you are walking the journey with your Creator. What lessons or reminders has God given you when life is crazy and tough?