November 11, 2014

What Am I Forgetting?

"The year from hell."

Not exactly the most inviting title for a blog post (and why I did not use it) nor is it the greatest opening line. Though it's what I, somewhat jokingly, have dubbed it, it has at times felt like it. It's what I'd like to forget. I have often wished it would just be over.

But will it? Oh, the year will of course end, but will its struggles, tough circumstances and the never ending stress over one thing then the next... and when there's so much, even the joyful things of life can become overwhelming. But will they cease? Or yet, even slow down?

Well, the year may end, but the new one begins with an illusion of false hope and its promises of fresh starts and second chances that this next one might just be better. Or will it?

And that, we do not know...   It might. And it might not.

Unless the seemingly endless tough situations we face are based on our own poor choices that need redirecting or correcting, then we know this truth: Sometimes. Life. Is. Just. Hard. 

But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Job 4:5

Last week I'd had enough. I was done. Hurting, tired and ready to walk away. But walk away from what? my faith? Certainly not Jeff or my family.

In my despair, I may have allowed myself to briefly feel that somehow disappearing would fix things, but in the end, I knew it was foolish thinking. So I began to ask myself, "OK, God, what is it that You want me to learn in all of this? What do You need me to know?"

While searching for clues, I'd been listening to a CD from a local RVA group tied with a few members from Atlee Church's Northminster Campus and these words from the song "Purge Me" rang true:

Purge me, won't You cleanse me - My deepest desire is for You
Lord, I'm hurting and yet I'm yearning
Are You speaking clearly? I need to hear from You
I need to hear from You
I'm crying out - I'm desperate for You
And I'm not afraid to open my heart and give You all
We'll declare Your name, Jehovah reigns, despite our problems
And through the pain, we'll learn to trust in You

What I realized is that the better question to ask myself was "What am I forgetting?"

How am I really desiring God when I'm listening to all the other voices in my head? How much am I really trusting Him when I allow myself to drift into thoughts that don't make sense and lead me away from God instead of toward Him? 

His answer to my questions was this:
"Remember Me. Remember who I am. Remember what you already know to be true. Remember that I am with you and I see EVERYTHING. Remember that I am BIGGER than anything you will face."

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth.
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 9:10; 19:25 & 33:4

And His simple answer:  "Be still and KNOW that I AM God."

Finally, He reminded me that He is always working.

In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at
His work to this very day, and I too am working.”
John 5:17

And then... I saw it.

As I cried to God begging for answers, guidance, relief, provision, protection, healing and miracles for my mom, for Jeff, for myself... I saw where He was at work.

I saw where He had already provided. I saw where He had orchestrated events because He already knew what was about to take place. I saw where God brought friends and family to walk alongside us for support. I saw where although unwanted, news could not have been made known in order for next steps to be taken if certain painful events had not taken place. I saw how God was there in all the pain and when I recognized it, only then, I was able to give Him thanks and learn to trust Him again. Yes, even in the pain.

There is no doubt that Job, as we read in scripture, experienced the same despair and tiredness that we do when we're overwhelmed with the stresses of life's struggles and pain. But God knows the heartache and in the end, when Job chose to recognize and praise God's goodness and when we choose to... Be still and know that He IS God... (Psalm 46:10) we will indeed grow stronger in our faith through this life journey than if we try to walk it alone on our own strength without Him.

But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
You gave me life & showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
Job 23:10 & 10:12

And isn't that the point? That when we walk with God through our trials we come out stronger than before? We may not face what Job faced, or we may not face the same painful, difficult circumstances others may face, but our pain is real and just the same. God simply wants us to allow Him to walk with us through it and come out ahead on the other side stronger in our faith than before with a story to tell that can lead others toward Him. 

So, may we not forget, in the joyful times as well as the painful, to...
                 Be still and KNOW that He IS God and that He is always working.

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