You Are Not Forgotten

As she was talking I noticed the soft flow of tears from the corner of her eyes. It was not an ugly cry, just a slow leak of tears to wet her cheeks. Why was she crying? She had just lost a loved one and was recounting how she was feeling. Sad, angry, hurting, but calm and peaceful. Why? She knew her loved one was in Heaven and it gave her peace and hope, but she admitted she has moments of anger and frustration.

I have been in her shoes before, when my mom passed four years ago. It hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I still get angry and overwhelmed with sadness. Grief is a process and takes time to go through. It is not an overnight process. It takes time to heal, but in all of it, God is there. It doesn’t always seem like He is, but He is. So, today I just wanted to offer a word to encourage you. I know many people have hurts that they are processing through. The world is a hurting place. We feel hurt. We hurt others. Others hurt us. We live in a difficult world full of hurting things. Things like death, disease, injury, financial problems, breakups, divorces, abuse, accidents, job losses, failures. The world is continuing on a downward spiral until Christ’s return. Now that I’ve bummed you out even more, let me now offer encouragement.

So, how do we deal with all this hurt? Does God even care? Sometimes we might not think He does. Like He’s just walked away from His creation and said, “Well, there you go, figure it all out, I’m going on vacation, see you later when I return.”  Sadly, some believe this is how God created the universe, that He just started the evolution process and walked away. But, this faulty theology is not the truth. God created the universe and all creatures, even you, and He is very much involved with it.

And He is involved in our lives, even when it doesn’t seem that way. He promises to be with us. In Matthew 28: 20 Jesus says,  “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (NIV).  In Joshua 1:5 God promised Joshua “I will never leave you or forsake you” (NIV). If you’ve read the book of Joshua before, then you’ll know that God said this before Joshua was to lead a group of rebellious people to the promise land of Israel. It was not just an easy trip. It had its challenges. There were battles to be fought and people died.  In chapter 5 God asked Joshua to have all the men circumcised. We can only imagine what the guys must have been thinking about Joshua. They probably were not very excited about that. And not to mention the pain involved.  It must have hurt. In chapter 7, Joshua had to deal with the defeat at Ai, because one person disobeyed the direct command not to take the spoils for themselves. People were killed because of one man’s selfishness and Joshua had to deal with it. And he doubted God too, even asking God why “Did you bring us here to the promised land only to destroy us?”. You can read this for yourselves in chapter 7:6-12. Joshua had heard directly from God, but he found himself hurting, confused and doubting God’s intentions. Later, after the disobedience had been dealt with, God gave Joshua victory in defeating Ai. We can read it now and see how it all worked out. Chapter 7 was a problem, chapter 8 we find the outcome. It would be nice if we could fast forward our lives, or turn the pages ahead to see how every difficulty was going to work out, But. well we can’t. I could go on about the Book of Joshua and how God was with him, but I just wanted to point our that God was still with Joshua, even in the difficult stuff. He does the same for us today. He hasn’t changed.

Do I have all the answers as to why we face hurts and challenges in this world when God could take them away? No. We could drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out the whys all the time. But, let me challenge you today, as I have to remind myself on a daily basis; God is for you. He has not forgotten you. He is with you. ALL THE TIME. Even in the bad stuff, the hurting stuff. Sometimes you just have to hold on to God’s promises with white knuckles, when everything in you wants to doubt and throw away your hope. Hang in there, YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. Believe it, repeat it out loud, even through the tears or anger. God is for you. He loves you. He’s invested in you at great cost to Him (Jn. 3:16). God Bless You- Nancy

(Dis) Appointments

Have you ever been let down by someone? You expected the best of them and yet they disappointed you? I’m sure you have felt this way before, it’s part of being human. We are a bunch of imperfect people- even Christians- though some might attempt to convince you otherwise. We all let each other down at times and can be let down by others. But, I want to focus this week not on others disappointing us but on God. Have you honestly ever been disappointed in Him? Or missed appointed? Let me explain..

Last weekend I was reminded how God protects my loved ones through missed appointments. Now, please don’t be too technical here on the wording. Maybe you’ve heard the term God appointments in church before- those situations and timings that could only have come from God. But, what I’m thinking of are those missed things- those tragic circumstances that God has kept you from- those missed appointments. Have you had one of those? See, last weekend my youngest  was supposed to be working the closing shift at a fast food restaurant. A shift that puts him on the road back to his dorm late at night. However, he had gotten food poisoning the night before, so he was unable to work his shift. Sunday morning I read of a tragic auto accident that happened on the road he would have been traveling had he worked. The vehicle crossed the median and had landed in the oncoming traffic lane- the lane my youngest would have been on. I know if you ask him, he would tell you he did not particularly like throwing up, etc, but after I told him what had happened, he too realized it was a God missed appointment.

I could give you a list of other times that we have found ourselves in moments that were frustrating, but ultimately were for our protection. Children who just HAD to stop one more time at a rest stop, long red lights, wrong turns, children who refuse to get back into their car seats after a stop. Things that delay your trip, but save your life. The times when God’s hand of protection is clearly visible, when you understand what He did. In Joshua 1:5 there is an awesome promise that God gave Joshua “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (NIV) It’s a promise for Joshua to affirm that God would be with him as he led the Israelites into the promise land. But I believe it’s also a good promise for us all. God is with us. He doesn’t let us down.

Now, I don’t want to sound unrealistic here. God is with us, even when He is walking us through the most difficult of times. As a Christian, it doesn’t mean I will never have a difficult situation come my way or a tragedy, or a terminal illness. It does mean God is with us through it all. When we are in the middle of a difficult situation we can’t see into the future. All we see is our current conditions. My son couldn’t see anything good past feeling awful. He didn’t know what God was keeping him from. It all seems bad and wrong, not good and beneficial. That’s where many people find themselves. In a difficult situation and they feel let down by God. There are no easy answers to many of the difficulties we face in life. We can’t always see how God is there with us or what kind of good can come from it. But He is. We might not ever fully understand what He is doing, but He can be trusted. Don’t miss your opportunity to trust Him. -God Bless -Nancy