spoudazo

a blog about daughters in crisis and the moms who love them

Archive for the tag “doubt”

God is Where You Left Him

Retrace Your StepsNot infrequently, I hear people say they think God has abandoned them, is ignoring them, or is unconcerned with their circumstances. Admittedly, I’ve hopped on that thought train a few times myself. When problems don’t resolve or when they get worse instead of better, it’s tempting to wonder if God has stopped paying attention or if He ever took notice to begin with.

Over time, though, I’ve learned that any inconsistencies I might perceive between God and myself are not faults of His. (He is a rock of stability, omnipotence and permanence — the same yesterday, today and forever. And He cares about the big and the little things in my life — His eye is on even the sparrow and He perceives my every thought.) I’m the one who varies and wavers.

When I can’t find God and it seems like He’s gone wandering off, I’ve learned to retrace my steps until I return to the place I last encountered Him. He’s always right where I left Him! Perhaps I stumbled at one of His commandments, or maybe I began to let doubt leak into my mind. Sometimes the cares of life get distracting. Sometimes I float off on a raft of selfishness. Or of impatience.

Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.   ~ Jeremiah 2:32

Once I come to my senses and seek to mend my broken fellowship with the Father — confess my faults — all is forgiven. We pick up where I left off. If I veered off out of resistance to doing what was required of me (like Jonah), as soon as I make up my mind to follow through, peace flows like a river once again. Wonderful, merciful Savior!

Dear Sleeping Sister

When I heard that you were in crisis I instantly felt a burden to pray. This burden remains. There have been quite a few early mornings when I’ve been awakened with an understanding that God is watching over you and that He knows exactly what you need and that He longs to give it to you. I talk to Him about those things. I understand what it feels like to struggle to the point of nearly losing all hope. God pulled me back from the brink of collapse. His love would not let me go. His love for you is no different.

I am absolutely sure that God’s love is brooding over you just as His love brooded over the face of the Earth when He was about to shape it into something incredibly beautiful. He couldn’t leave the Earth without form and void. He is so creative and powerful and He wants to make and sculpt and transform every part of the universe into exactly what He knows would be its very best outcome. Our souls are no exception. Sister, God has a “best outcome” for your soul and for mine. Can we believe upon Him to the point that we will cast our entire being upon Him in the trust that He is willing and able to transform us according to the renewing of our minds? Can we risk it all to let Him conform us to the image of His dear Son?

One phenomena I have observed in my own life is that reconciliation is a process with many layers. People getting divorced often claim their reason for filing as “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses. It happens in human relationships. It happens between us and God sometimes. Sometimes a relationship breaks so badly that only a miracle can repair it. Not only a miracle is needed but also a willingness in the heart to allow repair to happen. Honestly, I have never seen a situation in which two willing parties could not find a way to reconcile with one another.

We know that God is willing to be reconciled to each and every human. He sent His Son to die a horrible death on the cross in order to make a way for us to be justified and atoned for and covered with the very righteousness of Christ. If we are willing to return to oneness with God, it can and will happen! I’ve seen this in my own life! Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I consent to dwell in the very center of God’s will for me, I find that I suddenly feel drawn to other people who consent to dwell there too! Interesting! Really, our relationships in the body of Christ can be diagnosed very simply by taking inventory of our relationship with God. The way we feel about Him is honestly the way we feel about anyone who has His Spirit living inside of them. The Book of 1 John, as you know, talks about this in much detail. That Epistle is like a mirror we can look into and see what is really happening inside of us! I thank God for this!

I’ve come to this conclusion many times in my life – if God is my #1 priority and my first love above all else and I have a clear conscience and a desire to obey His Word, then anything that comes my way is doable! I can see my place and my function in His body and I can live in peace with my brothers and sisters who are on the same road I am on. When other things begin to usurp God’s #1 place in my heart, then problems with His people suddenly spring up everywhere! Slowly but surely, I’m learning to measure everything in my life by where God ranks in my list of priorities!

Grace and peace to you,

Anna

Job Didn’t Listen to His Wife

Job and His Friends by Ilya RepinMost everyone is at least somewhat familiar with the story of Job, the guy in the Bible who lost nearly everything in a matter of days. His life is a case study on dealing with adversity.  You’ve heard of the patience of Job, right? Rather than yield his soul to the agony of his circumstances, he chose to say, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Even when his body was smitten with sores and he sat down among the ashes, he refused to entertain his wife’s suggestion that he curse God and die! Rather, he said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and we not receive evil?”

What was up with this guy? How did he stay anchored to his God through a psychic hurricane, a tsunami, and tornado combined? Job knew things about God and the structure of the universe that some of us, educated as we may think we are, do not comprehend. All of his life, Job walked and talked with God. They were friends and companions, they knew each other. Job’s suffering opened a door for him to know God even better. Job chose, of his own free will, to walk through that door. He could have chosen to shut it and join forces with his wife, accusing God and feasting on bitterness and anger. We all have that choice to make when trials and tribulations come our way. I’ve had some occasions to choose!

Because of what he went through, Job learned many things. He discovered that his human limitations make it silly to project stuff on God. He found out that when something bad happens, the people around us tend to assume it was because of something we did. (Obviously, bad things can and do happen as a result of our actions, but on those occasions we can see the cause and effect relationship between what we do and what happens!) He found out that no matter how good of a person he was, he was still frail, prone to deception, and in need of mercy and grace. Best of all, he found out that his Redeemer lives: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye SEES You.” It doesn’t get much better than this!

The story ends with Job forgiving his accusatory friends and asking God to forgive them. “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” This man took a journey through doubt, fear, and unbelief on a level few others have known. He came through it with his faith intact. Better than intact, actually. His faith gained a depth and a richness and a stability that he could not have obtained through any other means. On the other side of the valley, he was a man who could be trusted with even more blessings than he had before because his heart was steadfast, having been forged in the fire.

I’m calling Job a hero. We need heroes more than ever right now. One of the things I’ve decided to do with this blog is to start collecting stories about lesser-known heroes. Help me make a list.

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