Friday, 4 July 2014

God is Still God (even though I'm being pounded!)

"God!  Where are you?!  I need you, and this is the only way I know how to reach you, but I can't feel you and I don't know what to do!"  We've all prayed that prayer.  Sometimes it feels like everything is happening all at once and we can't find our way out.  God is there, but is He still watching me?  Is He really holding me and loving me?  You answer yourself: "Don't be ridiculous!  Of course He is!  He said I will never leave nor forsake me - are you completely faithless yet?!"  But even thoughts are overwhelmed as head wars with heart, and you end up in desperate tears, your heart screaming out: Oh God!  Please give me some assurance of your presence and your peace!

I've been there - we all have at some point, I think. It is a wretched condition that leaves you feeling completely wrenched in two, weary and utterly alone.  Circumstances close in closer, and again I cried and pleaded for relief and assurance.  But words fail to describe the anguish of soul in these seasons of the Walk.  If you have lived it, you know what I mean.

Why do I feel so wretchedly overwhelmed and distanced from God?  Sometimes, life goes through seasons of plenty and blessings.  Then the seasons change and drought comes.  Sometimes it is longer than other times, but the comfort is that seasons always march on.  Australia is in the second month of winter now, and the days are chilly, but this year winter took a long time to come.  By the middle of June, the days were still in the mid twenties Centigrade.  It felt like the cold days were never going to come, but they did according to the promise of God in Genesis 8:22

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

What a beautiful promise from God! Here in lies the assurance we need in the times of drought and hardship: God is God.  He is always in control.  When my world seems to be spinning out of check and everything is chaotic and quickly going from bad to worse, God is the God who created me and my world - I know He ultimately in charge and will bring me through.

Lately, our family has been reading through the book of Daniel as a study.  The theme of Daniel is that God is God and He is in control.  If you think about it, Daniel had many times throughout his life when he needed to remember that.  The seasons of his life occurred in quick succession from highs to lows and back again.  Here is a brief outline of what Daniel's life consisted of:

  • Son of a noble in Israel
  • Captured by Nebuchadnezzar and taken as a slave to Babylon
  • Was wise and became ministers of the king's service
  • Predicted and watched as the king lost his mind
  • Triumphed as the king turned to God as the High King
  • Was demoted when Belshazzar became king and stole the gold goblets from God's temple
  • Interpreted the writing on the wall and was lifted to third position in the kingdom
  • Lost position that night when Babylon was overrun by Medes and Persians
  • Became a favourite of King Darius and was raised to second in kingdom
  • Betrayed by fellow princes and thrown in Lions den
  • Saw the miracle of God in the lion's den and came back to work for the king.

We don't know what ended up happening to Daniel, but seeing as he was probably a teenager when taken to Babylon, and the exile lasted for seventy years, he probably died there.  (Chapter one records that he remained in Babylon until the first year of Cyrus, but then we read in chapter 10 of a prophecy he received in the third year of Cyrus.  Either 'remained' refers to his time in office, or, even though he would have been approaching ninety years old, he made the trip back to Israel that was sponsored by Cyrus.)    As you can see from the outline above, you can see that Daniel had many times in his life when he must have been overwhelmed by fear and grief.  But he always - always - remained faithful to his God and King, and he knew without a doubt that until his time was up, God would protect him from anything that this world (or Satan) could thrown at him.  And because of this faithfulness and his wisdom, Daniel has a few references to be proud of: he is the recommendation of the queen (Daniel 5:11), the jealousy of the other nobles (chapter 6) and - most wonderful of all - he is the beloved of God.  (Daniel 9:23)  And that, my dear friends, is all we need to remember when under trial and hardship.  I am the beloved of God.  He is in control and He will bring me through when I continue to wait on him.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40: 30-31)

To conclude, I encourage you to watch this music video - it is one of my favourite songs from Colin Buchanan and reminds us of the encouragement of comfort that comes from trusting in God in the hard times.  God bless you and hold you always!  :)

Ps.  I am terribly sorry about the formatting of this post - I could not figure out how to make it all match and it insisted of jumping to different formats from paragraph to paragraph.  Hopefully you can all still read it fine.  :)  - E.K.D

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