The silence of writing did not happen with an intentional plan. My family went on a vacation followed by my daughter’s college orientation. So, here I sit some two weeks later, still with severe hearing loss in my right ear. I had no idea how this affects interacting and communicating with others! It has a tremendous impact.
Suffering is a part of life and God never shied away from this.
“In this world, you will have suffering, but take heart I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Our family is not new to illness and the challenges that come from the unknown and unfamiliar, but we are also not ignorant of the intimacy that grows deep into the soul of the believer while enduring such difficult times. When God says He overcame the world, as followers, one of the things it means is that He has placed the overcomer (HIM) within us too. So, whatever we face that feels like it wants to swallow us up, dries us up, or simply beats us down, has no authority to carry it out (least we bend to the torrents of its pessimism).
There is a hard core question that revisits me during fresh times of uncertainty. “Who is your security? Where does it rest? Who or what gives it? Why does it feel so rattled when faced with the unknown?” Life altering circumstances, be it illness, death, abandonment, sudden change…they all force us to evaluate our foundation and our future. Unexpected happenings often prompt our fear meter to explode with possible “what if’s.” They press us to want to secure down the hatch; lock everyone in the house and resolve that hibernation is the best way to live 😉
I’ve found that examining our security is exactly what God wants us to do. I mean, we feel pretty stable and strong until the Potter makes you realize that you really are a lump of clay in His strong Hands. When control is taken away, where does that leave us? Where does that take us? Of whom has us when we can’t fix something ourselves? It leaves me in poverty of spirit. I become acutely aware of the illusion of control and the fact that I have nothing to change the situation. It leaves me uncomfortable but also moldable for the Father.
I find incredible comfort in knowing that God is Sovereign and no matter what, He is not only in charge but offers us a plethora of grace and help. I find strength in knowing that my Potter wants to mold His children into a beautiful image of Himself, one that overflows with love, joy, and purpose.
When my security is shaken, it makes me revisit the character and nature of God. It reminds me to entrench myself in how He moves and how He speaks. I meditate on the Names of God that are enriched with deep meaning and solid truth.
During this time, I will often fluctuate between going to Jesus and then stumbling around looking for safety or at least a “safe” feeling from other people. SOMEBODY! Make me feel better;)
“I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.” Psalm 142:4
Now, I absolutely have a wonderful family and a circle of godly people who are praying for me, so it is NOT that I believe no one cares for me. However, the care I want is the “fix it” kind of care. I want someone to tell me it’s all going to be okay, like now. Doesn’t Jesus know me and patience are not best friends!?
David wanted people to be his refuge too. But, people can’t be a foundation or certainty for the future. People can be used by God to usher in strength, hope, and help, but they can never be our ultimate security! They do not have the ability, insight, power, or resources. Hard times make us realize that we must seek He who is higher than our earthly ability.
David got there too:
“You are my refuge, my portion in the land of living.” Psalm 142:5
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:8-10
Scripture continues to beckon us to teach our children (not in terms of biological only, but spiritual children too) where to find their security and strength.
“Whoever fears the Lord has strong confidence and for their children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
As we trust in God, recount ALL the ways He has delivered us from or delivered us through hardship; ALL the ways He has used people to demonstrate His unfailing love; ALL the ways He has shown up and shown out….we breathe confidence in the unstable atmosphere of self! And as we breathe it out, confidence begins to become anchored in the God of this universe, who is never changing and will absolutely never abandon us!! Our children will realize that security comes in how close we are to Jesus Christ, because they will hear it and see it in our words and our constant reminding of how He has saved, rescued and redeemed in the past. It doesn’t mean we don’t wrestle, cry, or question God, but that ultimately we come back to what we know…WHO WE KNOW!
If our children only find their refuge in people, be it parents or friends, they too will hit a wall of fear and confusion when life throws a curve ball. But if they learn to trust the One who is higher than all and search for His Presence amidst the storms of life, then they will be sure to know they can overcome anything!
I have experienced His comfort and peace over the past few weeks. He has pressed me to share every fear I have with Him…to ask the questions.
“Trust in Him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge!” Psalm 62:8
As our refuge, He wants us to puke out the poison and let Him help us work through it! Honesty with God is always what makes space for more of God!
And I have! I have felt Him, heard Him, and worshipped Him! To be honest, I seem to experience more of His love when I am in a place of need.
Friends, He is so ALIVE. Life can be hard and we need to pray and pray fervently! But, be sure about one thing! He is our REFUGE, and our STRENGTH, an ever present HELP in trouble! Therefore, we will NOT fear! He says, “Be STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!” Psalm 46:1,6
And y’all, that’s what I’m going with and I feel pretty dang good about it. He is all I have ever known in my life with absolute certainty and I love Him.
“You will trust God only as much as you love Him. And you will love Him NOT because you have studied Him; you will love Him because you have touched Him- in response to His touch.” Brennan Manning
So, please keep praying for me and I will lift you up as well and let’s keep doing this thing called life where we get to press into Him and press on in loving and serving Him, as well as others!
In His Sufficient Grace,