Category: Protection


Have you ever wondered where God is?  When things you pray about don’t ever seem to be answered.  When other people’s prayers are answered quickly and you’re still sitting there listening quietly… patiently… and all you hear are…

I have.

Many times.

One of my best friends is a friend from childhood.  We share crazy memories from grade school to high school to college.  We were in each other’s weddings and have made it through multiple births together. She was one of the first to know about my conversion with Christ, when I finally accepted Him, and she was there when I was baptized in Believer’s baptism.  This dear friend later also accepted Christ as her Savior and although she lived a distance away from me, I continued to try to encourage her and disciple her in her walk with the Lord.

But it was hard.

The Lord gave me very strong Christian friends in my life (including my hubby) to disciple and help me.  An amazing church family and so many opportunities for my faith to grow.  But my friend’s story was different.  Her husband wasn’t ‘religious’ so going to church at all was difficult for her.  She was surrounded by non-believers and it seemed God hadn’t placed, really, anyone around my friend to help her in her Christian walk and it broke my heart.

alone

All I could do was pray for her, and I did.  Constantly.

I prayed that God would soften her husband’s heart and give them a longing to find a good church or to place Christians in their neighborhood.  I prayed that once her babies were in the picture, God would give her a sense of obligation to raise those babies knowing Him.  But most often I prayed that God would just place Godly Christian women in her life at work.

I sent her devotions and encouragement through the years, shared with her all the ‘I Spy’ opportunities where I saw God working in my own life, but it was clear that the life she was leading was not the one I had hoped for her as a follower of Christ.

I prayed for my friend for so many years…

prayer_hands_gold

then I stopped.

Oh, once in a while I would think about her and say a little prayer hoping that she could experience the same type of relationship that I have with my Savior…but it seemed like all of it was useless.  She was still in the same place she was so many years ago…still such a baby Christian; not being fed or discipled.  It had been too long.  Maybe this is all God had planned for her.

But is it?

The Bible shares a story about a woman who suffered unanswered prayer for twelve years!

TWELVE YEARS!

“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”   Mark 5:25-26

How do I know she prayed this long?  Because of the testimony she has with how she reacted to Jesus later in the story.

But think about this poor woman.  She had crazy health problems!  Come on girls, can you imagine having ‘Aunt Flow’ visit for twelve years?  And this wasn’t just a short, unannounced, knock-knock-surprise-I’m-here-for-the-weekend visit.  It was a CONSTANT TWELVE YEAR flow!

kevin

NOT.EVEN.FUNNY.  I really need to stop complaining.

And on top of that, because she had this discharge of blood, according to Jewish law she was considered unclean.

“If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity.And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.   Leviticus 15:25-27

What does that mean?  This poor woman, suffering so much health-wise, couldn’t even be comforted.  According to the law, she could not be in contact with anyone and couldn’t even live in the town with her family and friends.  She was ostracized.

But what does she do?  Instead of ending her prayers and dumping her belief… instead of giving up and thinking “Oh gee, Jesus is here… why bother?  Maybe this is just what God has planned for me.”

No, she trusted.

“She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.’ And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.   Mark 5:27-29

hem

I recently heard from my dear friend.  She finally got a cell phone so we are able to text whenever we want now.  (We will certainly be keeping the cell phone companies in business!)  Woohoo!!

After we caught up a bit on the goings on in our lives, she told me this:

“I have to tell you something I don’t think you’ll be surprised by.  I work with some amazing Godly women.  I swear one friend was sent by you somehow.”

I was dumbfounded.  How silly of me to think that God had forgotten or that through these years He hadn’t been working…preparing.  If only I had trusted with the same faith as that woman…

“And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”   Mark 5:32-34

God has a plan for our lives, and it’s in His timing when it will be revealed to us.  In the mean time we must keep the faith…stay the course…and trust that all things from Him are good.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”
Psalm 84:11-12

As I grew up, the plan for my life was to get married, have kids and stay home to raise them.  My Mom did that and so would I.

I dated through high school but I would surely meet THE ONE in college, then I wouldn’t have to finish because, obviously, we would be married right away, have a couple kids, I would stay home, eat bonbons and live happily ever after.

mrs degree

That’s just what girls did and I couldn’t wait.

God changed that plan.  Well, as usual, His plan is always a tad different than our own.

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”   Proverbs 16:9

A dear friend of mine is a wonderfully amazing single woman.  For 35 years she has remained faithful to God’s plans for her life…remaining true to His Biblical standards for a single person; growing in her faith, serving God with her time and abilities, remaining morally pure and finding contentment in her singleness.

She is one of the strongest, Godliest and wisest women I know.  To me, a married mother of four, my friend seems to have it all.  She can do whatever she chooses with her time, has a great job and resources that allow her to travel and give freely… and yet the greatest desire of her heart is to find the man God has planned for her.

Because she, like me and so many other women, know one of the simplest and most basic desires and purpose for mankind.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…'”   Genesis 1:27-28

Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:18, 24

Marriage

But God just hasn’t brought ‘THE ONE’ to her.

A couple years ago a single dad, and his son, moved into the area and began attending our church.  We all became fast friends and even began serving together in ministry.  I swear, a resounding “Hmmmm…re-he-he-ally?!!” could have been heard when some of us realized he was single.   My friend and he got along very well…they seemed a perfect fit and even other people noticed, however nothing seemed to come of it.

“Is he just oblivious?”  Some asked.

“Does he not have similar feelings?”  Questioned others.

None of it made any sense.  It seemed so clear.  Such a great match.

Then we received news that he would be moving back home – states away – and it would be happening immediately.  It literally knocked the wind out of me and I can only imagine what it did to my friend.

We were supposed to meet at my house, our small group women and I, the night he stopped by to tell us the sad news, but schedules changed and the meeting was canceled.  Had the gals and I met…my friend would have surely been here when he stopped.

God protected her heart.

tears

Undoubtedly there were tears and still are, but what seems so sad can also be seen as blessing.

Had something more intimate started between them, this parting would have been infinitely more difficult.  Besides, he is moving back home…back to where he and his son came from…back to where more family is… his parents AND his son’s mother.

Perhaps this is God’s plan of protection for my friend or His plan of reconciliation for a family.  We can’t know the mind of our Creator or the plan He has for our lives but Scripture shows us time and again that God knows our struggles…

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”   Hebrews 4:15-16

And if we boldly go before Him, offering up our heart’s desire, He will hear…

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”   Romans 8:26-27
And will fill our hearts…

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”   John 7:38

But still, it hurts.

“Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.”   Psalm 121:4

God is always working.  He doesn’t need to rest, He doesn’t take a break and He certainly doesn’t take a day off for a holiday and this year’s Memorial Day proves that truth.

We have a cookout every year on Memorial Day and have since we moved into our house, for the past 7 years or so, and every year God has provided absolutely beautiful weather for it.

party

Which is great because we really don’t have the room should the party be forced inside.

We woke to a soft, cool rain on Monday morning…the forecasted high?  Not much more than 65° and good chance of thunderstorms.

Uh-oh.

We moved the food tables into our one-car garage which, Godincidently, was still pretty clean!  Praise Him for that.

We borrowed a bunch of extra chairs for inside but once people started arriving we quickly realized there would not be enough room.

But I tell you…thanks be to the only One who truly provides!!

That cool mist of rain that continued most of the morning??  God staved it off and dried things up a bit from about 1:00-4:00… EXACTLY the time people were at the house.  No it didn’t warm up, it remained quite chilly, but it was dry and guests came prepared with hats and gloves; gear warm enough to eat and sit outside.

A true answer to prayer.

“so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”   Matthew 5:45

God also showed great protection (and teaching) that day.

Our house, when the doors are open, has a fantastic cross-breeze.  But be sure the door stops are in place or the sound of loud bangs will be heard…and my daughter’s thumb found that to be the case.

With all of the commotion of food and people coming in and out of the house, Sami’s thumb found itself caught on the door jam as the heavy outside door slammed closed…not an hour after the party started.

OUCH!

Her thumb nail immediately turned purple then black and never really stopped hurting.  She was a real trooper and God clearly protected her.

The x-rays taken at urgent care showed no break and after the doctor ‘drilled’ a hole through her nail to release the pressure of the bleeding, she (and her nail) looked and felt so much better.

Sami

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Romans 8:28

I’ll bet she doesn’t do that again!!

jammin' thumb

Related Articles:
God Controls the Weather     (brucegerencser.net)

I mean it.  Have you?

You know, like the in old days…the days of the Old Testament when people literally saw or heard Him?

Let’s see, what are some ways God revealed Himself?  A burning bush, a pillar of fire & cloud, an audible voice, dreams, angels, visions, dice, plagues, the list could go on.

But have you ever seen Him today?

I want to be one of those Old Testament people.  They have it so good.  God shows up, taps them on the shoulder and tells them what He wants them to do.  No guess work.  No doubting.  He hands over the blueprints and says “Here you go.”

Man, to experience God in a way like that;

Tangibly…

Obviously…

Unmistakably…

real

 

This past week, I was driving my little VW bug on my way back to work.  It was lunch time, so there was quite a bit of traffic, plus it was snowing and the roads were pretty slick.  I was taking my time, going pretty slowly as I entered the on-ramp merging onto the West Beltline Highway, a very busy freeway here in Madison.

As I rounded the last bend before entering the freeway, the wheels caught some ice and I lost control.  My bug began spinning circles right there in the middle of the on-ramp.

There was a blur of cars passing on the beltline but I stayed watchful, undeniably expecting more traffic to enter the busy freeway with me.

None came.

I was completely alone on the on-ramp.  Not one car shared it with me as I spun out of control.

The dizzying experience came to a halt just off the shoulder as traffic flowed easily by on the beltline, but still no cars came directly past.  And at that particular on-ramp?  Unheard of.

blur cars

That same day, a community south west of Madison also experienced slide offs.  One in particular was a school bus filled with elementary age kids on its way to school, when it lost control.  The area of road that the bus slid off had a steep drop just past the shoulder.  Had the trees not been standing just beyond, allowing the bus to gently rest against them guaranteeing safety and an opportunity to evacuate, it would have undoubtedly tipped and rolled causing unimaginable injuries to its 19 young passengers.

bus

 Gosh, it’s too bad we can’t see God working so obviously in our world today.

 

A young lady from my church just had her first baby a couple weeks ago.  Complications arose after her C-section, which placed her in kidney failure, on a breathing tube, in a coma as well as an array of other ramifications.  She has made an amazingly miraculous recovery from this, but the clincher is that the doctors found she has a rare kidney disease that only an experimental drug out of Europe has been known to work against.  The catch?  She needs this medicine asap, however in order for her to receive the drug, a vaccine must be administered first which will take several weeks to arrive because the only place to get this vaccine is in Trinidad.

Interestingly enough, the youth group went on a missions trip several years ago with our church to, yes you guessed it… Trinidad.  All who went on this missions trip had to get a vaccine, this very  vaccine, in order to travel.  Including this young lady.  And because of this great fortune, the experimental drug was able to be administered NOW and she has had a practically full recovery including kidney function.

clean bill of health

Golly gee, it’s such a shame that we don’t experience God in our busy lives.

Hmmmmm…

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29:13

“THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”   1 Corinthians 2:9

I attended a conference this past weekend and while I was there I went to a session in which a married couple shared their love story.  An engaging and beautiful story about how God brought them together and how they trusted Him for their relationship.

The speakers were Eric & Leslie Ludy, authors of the top-selling relationship book:

When God Writes Your Love Story

I was in awe of this incredible story.  When I left the session, I was pumped about how God works in lives.  I have seen Him time and time again provide similarly in my life through His provision with finances or His great protection but I never really thought about how, if we only trust Him that way in every area, of course He would reveal Himself in amazing and awesome ways.

But what shocked me was the feedback I heard from others who attended the same session; some youth as well as other leaders… saying it’s “unrealistic.”

Why is so it unrealistic?  I thought.  That is exactly how God works!

Instead of continuing to take things into their own hands, the Ludy’s completely trusted God to provide their future spouse and He totally came through.  God provided exactly what each of them wanted, like He will do and has done so many times before for those who fully trust Him!

Just imagine how we take things into our own hands, like with our finances when we use credit cards to purchase things.

“Don’t use credit cards?!”  You think…  “Unrealistic!”

kissing card

But what if??

When we use credit, we are controlling how we get things.  Many times, I would say, it is for something we don’t truly need but even when there are times of “emergency,” using a credit card to pay for said “emergency” is taking it out of God’s hands. That “emergency” has been filtered through God’s loving fingers; it’s a test…a trial… and how we respond to it can easily take away an opportunity for God to work in an amazing and awesome way and also says a great deal about what we are truly placing our trust in.

Had I borrowed money for groceries or gas at one of the many times we had nothing left in our account or in our pockets, I would have missed God ringing our doorbell or pushing our car.  God works in amazing and wonderful ways and His intent is for us to experience exactly that in this life He has planned for us.  How many other times have I missed an opportunity to allow God to work in my life because I decided, like Sarai, to take matters into my own hands?

My way or the highway

Like Eric and Leslie’s story, God has been working in love lives for ages… read the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24:14-20) or how God intervened to be sure Sarah was not defiled by Abimelek…

“Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.”   Genesis 20:6

Why don’t we fully trust God?  Because it’s hard.  Sure, it’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard!!  If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be called faith.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”   Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

What would happen if we truly trusted God for every aspect of our lives?

Just imagine it… what life could truly be like, how easy it would be to see God working, how our lives would be changed and lives around us affected!

“Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number.”   Job 9:10

Is there something you need to give up control of?  Is it time to trust God’s plan for your life?  God wants what’s best for you, He always has.  Give it to God and see how He responds.

 

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”   Matthew 5:4

September 11th attacks

The attacks of September 11th have been the most devastating thing that has happened in my life.  My heart still hurts thinking of those who lost their lives, both the victims and those in the armed forces fighting to keep terrorists at bay and I know our world has forever been changed.

I fully admit that I am ignorant to what is happening out in the world.  I am blessed to live in a country that does not have desolate lands, a lot of poverty, disease, hunger or war on the street and I haven’t known a lot of tragedy in my life.

I haven’t dealt with abuse, don’t come from a family of divorce, haven’t lost a parent, have not been sick, never miscarried or lost a child.  Sure, I’ve lost grandparents but they lived long, full, happy lives and of course pets…but I can’t call flushing a dead goldfish down the toilet real loss.

dead goldfish

I’ve experienced job loss and financial hardship but have never personally experienced anything that shook me to the core.

I haven’t written about any of the heartless massacres that have taken place over the last many years.  So many grievous, heart-wrenching and unfathomable acts of violence that have been carried out in places of learning, entertainment, recreation, healing, solace and safety.  Places all of us visit and had no second thoughts about allowing our children or loved ones to do the same.

Of course each one of these tragedies have affected me; shocked me, sickened me and caused me to question humanity, but they never quite hit home.  The Dark Knight Rises movie shooting caused me to stop and gawk in disbelief, questioning what people in this world are thinking and the tragedy that happened at a Sikh Temple only a couple hours away from our home saddened me and I prayed for those families affected by it, but I carried on with life.

Even this past week at a mall in Oregon confused me and made me wonder… but honestly I shrugged it off, “That won’t happen here,” I thought.

But what happened yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Hold them tight

Yesterday was different.  They were children.  Children!

This one hit home.

 

I don’t know why God gives and takes away.  Why He allows terrible heartache and trials in one life and not others.  Why He provides gifts and blessings for one and nothing for another.

“Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him?”   Isaiah 40:13

But I do know that God’s ways are best, His plan is best, His love never fails and He is still in control.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Romans 8:28

Hold them tight...

Last night I held my babies tight.  I cried while holding them in my arms… so very thankful that I could.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”   1 John 4:4

 

Related posts/articles:
Columbine High School Massacre
Virginia Tech Massacre
Seattle Coffee Shop
Salon Meritage
Carson City IHOP
Carthage Nursing Home

Well, glory!!  I have made it all the way through Job to chapter 42 and as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I have read through the entire book of Job several times, but this time…this time when I started this (what…sadly started over 3 months ago with this post) study of Job, this time I got help.

Before, I only read Job because it was part of the Bible.  I had to read through it to check off my read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year box or the read-the-entire-Bible-because-you’re-a-Christian-and-what-you’re-supposed-to-do box.  But this time I felt God tugging at me to actually read it.  To figure out what it had to say and so I asked Him to help me.  And y’know what?

He did!!

Why does it always shock me when He works like that?!!

“Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see.”   Isaiah 42:18

I guess what shocked me as I went through Job is how much I got out of it.  I understood it!  It wasn’t just a bunch of old guys pointing fingers and yelling at each other.  It was really interesting!!  So now that I’m in the last chapter, the chapter where Job is finally restored to bigger and better things (come on, we all know the story…)

But that was all the story I knew.  Poor Job got everything taken away, he has terribly mean friends, but he kept the faith and got rewarded…man, he won the Powerball at the end!!

The moral of the story was just hang in there…

…and with a little persistence, God will reward you.  Which of course He can, but it’s so much more!!  (That you can read in my older posts)!  🙂

In this final chapter, it makes my own point…the reason I write this blog; God has a plan for everything.  He works in every situation, every breath, every moment and all we have to do is look for Him.  We take so much for granted in this life.  The beauty, the mystery, the smells, the tastes, warm breezes, cool rain and we often forget that God created all of this, all of us, for His enjoyment.

He loves to see us happy, longs to hear us laugh and when we make it through the hard times and can see the good that came from it…He receives the glory.

It’s what happens once we’re done with the struggle, that Job finally gets… when we finally get it and are able to see clearly.

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You”   Job 42:5

Plus, it’s nice that Job is finally vindicated in front of his friends…but the thing that was so touching to me, where I saw Christ most clearly, was through the forgiveness that Job had for his friends.  He prayed for them.

“The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends…”   Job 42:10

Sure, they gave him some crummy advice, but don’t we all give rotten advice sometimes?  (Especially when we think we’re right?!)

Mmmm…hmmm.

But it was when Job wasn’t expecting God to replenish all he had, when he was still suffering so much loss, that he thought of them and prayed.

My Life Application Study Bible notes say it best:

Would the message of the book of Job change if God had not restored to Job his former blessings?  No.  God is still sovereign.  Jesus said that anyone who gives up something for the kingdom of God will be repaid.  Our complete restoration may not be in this life — but it will happen.  God loves us, and He is just.  He not only will restore whatever we have lost unjustly, but He also will give us more than we can imagine as we live with Him in eternity.  Cling tightly to your faith through all your trials, and you too will be rewarded by God — if not now, in the life to come.

 

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”   Luke 18:29-30

Older Job posts:
I need a new… [Job 1-2]
with friends like these… [Job 4-25 reflections]
Are Job’s Friends All That Bad? [Job 1-2]
Are you a drama queen? [Job 3]
Shut don’t go up… [Job 7]
The beauty of a collector [Job 9]
You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME [Job 1-9 reflections]
Liar, liar, pants on fire! [Job 11]
Look around! [Job 12-13]
Put up your dukes! [Job 15]
Sticks and stones… [Job 18]
I pity the fool… [Job 20-21]
I am with you always. [Job 23-24]
Show some compassion! [Job 25-28]
Woe is Me  [Job 29]
Desperate Pleas.   [Job 30-31]
The mysterious Elihu…  [Job 32]
Shhhh…God always has an answer   [Job 33]
The witching hour…  [Job 38-39]
High Winds…  [Job 38-41]

In 2005 a neighboring town was hit hard by a tornado [Stoughton Tornado].  My family and I were at our local pool when the sirens sounded and we were sent to the locker rooms for cover.  Of course being the wanna-be storm chasers my husband and I are, we went outside while my Mom took the kids into safety.

The enormous twister passed by right in front of us, miles across, spinning and howling as it moved.

 

 

We could see and feel the force of it’s incredible, terrifying, strength and power yet from where we stood we were safe.  We were within arms reach (ok so we’re not so brave) of protection.

The Bible paints pictures of God’s strength and power;

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”   1 Kings 19:11-12

It reveals the amazing ability God has to control things that seem so out of control;

Frightening storms:

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”   Mark 4:39

Fearsome beasts:

“Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you… If a river rages, he is not alarmed; He is confident, though the Jordan rushes to his mouth. Can anyone capture him when he is on watch, With barbs can anyone pierce his nose?”   Job 40:15, 23-24

“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him…”   Job 41:1, 10

And when God finally shows up to speak to Job in chapters 38-41, he reveals His power, not only through His words but also in his appearance:

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind…”   Job 38:1  (also Job 40:6)

God can be seen through all kinds of storms; roaring winds and drenching rain, financial drought or despairing loneliness but His Word reminds us that He is the one in control.

“Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”   Psalm 135:6

Like Scott Krippane’s song says…

“Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered ‘Peace, be still’
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child.”
-Scott Krippane

 

Related posts/articles:
The witching hour…   (https://ispygod.net/)
I Spy A Fierce Dragon   (https://ispygod.net/)
Out of the whirlwind   (http://cindybythesea.wordpress.com/)
Lessons From The Whirlwind   (http://www.teachingtruth.org/)

Tristan is Start Student this week in his 1st grade class, which means he’s top dog.  He gets to fill out a “Read All About Me!” poster, bring in a favorite book and photos to display in the special Star Student spot, he gets to be first in line for lunch as well as lead when going to other classes and then on Friday, when he shares his photos and poster with the class, he gets to read his favorite book aloud.

When T found out he was going to be Star Student last Friday, he began preparing what he would bring in come Monday which included the book…

Great book…don’t get me wrong, but honestly I’ve never seen him read it.  I figured he knew I would be happy with his choice because it’s a story about baby Jesus and we encourage our kids to share their love for Christ with everyone.  Besides, after the whole Sneak & Share cross incident a couple months ago (They won’t understand) I just figured he was trying to do the “right thing.”  So I asked him,

“This is your favorite book?”

“Yes.” He said.

“It is?!!” I questioned.

“Yes.” He repeated.

“What’s it about?!”  I quizzed…and he told me.  Everything!  He knew the story!  Okay then, I thought.

Looking back now I should have realized how much that book meant to him, especially when Monday morning rolled around and the only thing he remembered to bring to school with him was the book, but I didn’t give it a second thought until a few days passed.

On Wednesday I received an email from Tristan’s teacher:

“… Due to school policy, we won’t be able to read that book to the whole class due to its content related to Christmas and religion.  I’m sorry.”

Honestly, it wasn’t a shocker.  Sure it was a bummer but T’s a reader and I figured he had plenty of favorite stories to choose from.  I’m sure he won’t care too much about it, and I said as much to his teacher.

Jax, on the other hand had more to say:

“… To not give Tristan the same opportunity as his fellow students (to have his favorite book read) because of the book’s religious content is nothing short of religious discrimination.  A six year old will not understand the (errant) political motivations behind the decision, only that he is being treated differently because he believes in God! …”

“Oh gees,”  I thought, “poor girl.”  Tristan’s teacher is a 2nd year teacher…quite young, and I was embarrassed a bit by Jax’s response.  I agree with him of course, but like Tristan’s teacher I figured this wasn’t a huge deal and Tristan could just bring in another book.  She was just following the “rules” after all.

Now this really is a mess, I thought.

It wasn’t long before Tristan came bounding through the door, fresh off the bus yelling,

“Moooooooooom!”

He told me about the book and that they can’t read it in class.

“Why?”  I said testing him to see how much he knew about it.

“She said I have ‘plenty of favorite stories’ and to bring in another book,”  eerily echoing the exact phrase I said to his teacher, “but I don’t!” He exclaimed.

“Sure you do, T!” I said.

“No, I don’t!  That’s my favorite!  The other kids got to read their books…”

His words hit me like a blow to the gut, I felt them cut straight to my heart.

 

I never liked kids.  Growing up I never enjoyed babysitting or being around kids and was a common belief among my friends that either I would be last to have kids or not have any at all.

I always thought they were annoying; smelly, whiny, loud and foolish.

After I accepted Christ as my Savior, when I heard a person (including my husband) share their story about coming to know Christ at the age of three, four or five I thought they were nuts.  There was no way a decision of that magnitude could be made by a child.  They were just spewing what they had heard their parents say…about “that one time they gave their heart to Jesus.”

But even God’s word tells us that it’s the the innocence and unwaivering eyes of a child that we will know truth and have faith.

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”   Mark 10:15

Now that I have children of my own (I can still hear the collective and shocked gasp from my friends) I fear I still don’t truly get how much they understand.  Children love and trust unequivocally.  Their thinking is simple and sincere and has not yet been corrupted by others.  They don’t need to have answers to the mysteries of the universe.  It is enough to know that God loves us and provides forgiveness for our sins.

God holds children in high esteem.

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.    Matthew 18:3-6

So should we.

 

Have you approached God like that of a child?  Forget everything this world has taught you.

When you were little, think back to a time when you were confused or scared and the only place you knew to turn was your Dad.  You didn’t know how he would fix things, you just knew he would.  You would lift your arms up to him and he would scoop you up, hold you tight and everything would be better.

That’s what God does for us.

It’s when we approach Him, nowhere else to turn… arms outstretched and nothing to offer… asking for forgiveness and to help make everything better…

We need to be that child needing only His love, His protection, His forgiveness…

 

He’s waiting.

Job tells us how far he has sunk; essentially from above royalty…

“When I went out to the gate of the city… The princes stopped talking And put their hands on their mouths”   Job 29:7, 9

to how he is treated now, the lowest of humankind.

“Fools… were scourged from the land. And now I have become their taunt, I have even become a byword to them. They abhor me and stand aloof from me, And they do not refrain from spitting at my face.”   Job 30:8-10

He begins in chapter 30 and continues in chapter 31, like so many of us, to question God.

Where are you?
Why are you putting me through this?
What have I done?

I get that; the dejection, the loneliness, the agony and despair.  It is so difficult for us to see God’s plan especially in the middle of our struggle.

The other night on Survivor (Season 25 Episode 4), one of the contestants, Russell, displayed Job’s feelings perfectly when his tribe lost the immunity challenge for the fourth straight time.  With each loss, a team member must be voted off and what started out as a tribe of six will be now become, after this loss and tribal council vote, a tribe of two.

Russell loses it.  He smashes a pot ranting and raving;  “Lord I don’t get it!  You gave me another opportunity.  I don’t get what’s happening, Father.  You gotta’ help me understand this.”

He has had it, he’s at point break.  He feels he has done everything God has asked of him; placed his faith in Him, lives his life for Him, does everything to the best of his ability and yet he’s still being punished.

The desperation Russell is feeling echoes Job exactly.  Job lived a blameless life, now he’s human and certainly not perfect, but he has made good choices so why is God punishing him?

“Show me where I have sinned so I can change it,” he says.  “If I did wrong, then punishment is justified,” he admits.  The whole theme of chapter 31 is:

I don’t deserve this!!

I beg to differ.

We are frail, terribly imperfect and sinful creatures, who in every turn naturally choose what’s best for ourselves, and yet God still works through us.

“You owe me nothing, I deserve hell.  You owe me nothing but You’ve given me mercy.”
~Misty Edwards

Are you lifting up desperate pleas?
Are you questioning God and His plan for your life?

We don’t deserve Him or an eternity with Him but He offers it to us anyway.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8

Don’t wait another day.  See for yourself what real love looks like.

 

 

Related posts:
You Deserve Hell -jennypowell.org

Keeping Momentum -HopeRainsGrace Blog

I need a new… [Job 1-2]
with friends like these… [Job 4-25 reflections]
Are Job’s Friends All That Bad? [Job 1-2]
Are you a drama queen? [Job 3]
Shut don’t go up… [Job 7]
The beauty of a collector [Job 9]
You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME [Job 1-9 reflections]
Liar, liar, pants on fire! [Job 11]
Look around! [Job 12-13]
Put up your dukes! [Job 15]
Sticks and stones… [Job 18]
I pity the fool… [Job 20-21]
I am with you always. [Job 23-24]
Show Some Compassion! [Job 25-28]
Woe is me! [Job 29]

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