Wednesday, December 30, 2009

God knows where you are!

Do you ever wonder if you're completely alone? Do you ever feel as if your prayers are either bouncing off the ceiling or, have gotten lost somehow in the vast space between you and the throne of God? Worse yet, do you ever feel that God is either, ignoring you, angry at you, or making fun of you? Don't worry, you're not alone.
First of all, How did Job feel when he'd lost his wealth, his health, and his children? His "friends" in his face pointing a religious finger at him probably made him feel worse! It's easy for us to read Job's responses as if he were standing up and shouting his attempts to protect himself. Personally, I don't believe that. I believe that the correct picture of this event would be different. His friends were the ones raising their voices at him. I think Job's posture was a man sitting on the ground. He was broken and hurting. He had tried over and over to understand any wrongdoing on his part that could've led to the events he was suffering through. His voice, I believe was barely above a whisper, with his head hung down and tears running down his face. Yet, eventually, God showed up!
How did David feel when the king had turned against him and tried to kill him? All David had wanted was to be a blessing to God's people. Why was the king that he loved, and some of his followers, trying to kill him? Yet, it was in these times that God used him to write some of the Psalms that we know and love! Yes, God did show up- time after time.
How did Paul and Silas feel when they were in a cold and nasty jail? All they'd done was preach the word of God. For this, they were beaten, whipped, and put in chains? Did they wonder if it was worth it? Did they think about quitting. After all, wouldn't life be easier if they just went with the flow of human thought, in stead of following God. To the world, God's word is foolishness! They must've been severely tempted to give up. I don't believe that their singing began as a bold step of faith. I believe that their singing began as a personal cry- almost like a small child who's been injured cries out to get their parents attention! I think they began singing praises to God because they were at the end of their rope. There was nothing else that they could do. But when their heartfelt desperation reached out, it touched the God who was looking for that certain sound.
What sound? The sound of a child who truly realizes that they can't do it. The sound that cries out- "Daddy, help me"! If you think about it, that's the common thread of all the miracles in scripture. When the people that God loved put down their pride, their ways of doing things, their ideas, and simply said, "God, I can't handle this, I need you to handle this"! At that point, that's when God swoops in to save the day!
Why does God wait? Does he not love us? Does he enjoy seeing us suffer? NO, NO, a thousand times NO! However, because he loves us and knows whats best for us, he allows us to go through the pain.
Did you ever look closely at the story where Peter walked on the water? There were these big, burly fishermen talking about the amazing miracles they'd seen that day. No doubt, they were really confused when Jesus sent them and the crowds away. Hadn't the crowds wanted to take Jesus to Jerusalem and crown him king? The disciples knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Wasn't the Messiah supposed to be the king that would free the Jews? Why would he do that? They got so lost in conversation that they were in the grips of a terrible storm before they knew what hit them! I think that they were praying- hard! When Jesus came walking on the water, they were surprised.
Jesus was (and is) God in the flesh! He knew the storm was coming before they were ever on the boat. He knew where they were before the storm and he knew where they were in the storm. Why did he allow it? Look at the results. The biggest miracle here was not Peter's walking on water, nor was it Jesus preventing his drowning and walking him back to the ship. It wasn't even the ceasing of the storm when they got back in the boat. The true miracle was when the faith of these men, and the love they held for Jesus, was built up, and they found themselves on their faces- worshipping the one true God in flesh and giving him their all!
God allows us to suffer in order that we may learn: a) We cannot do everything and we are not the masters of our own destiny, and b) That the all-powerful, all-knowing God of the universe truly IS in control, truly DOES love us, and we truly CAN and MUST trust him with it all.
Just something to think about!