Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - The Faithfulnes of God

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

It has not been an easy year.  Nothing life shattering but just... hard.  Life can be tiring. For all of us.  We go through seasons of trouble and then have  (thankfully) a season of rest to be followed by another season of distress.  That is Life.

I became a Christian at the time of the Jesus Movement when in the midst of that revival sweeping the young people of the nation (and the world), Jesus was ever so real.  He plucked this soul out of a non-churched family.  He chose this young girl who was so very lost.

An acquaintance from school was given the task of thinking of the last person she would ever think would come to church with her and invite that person to a revival meeting.  She chose my very good friend and me.  The last.  The least.  The little.  The totally lost.

I was saved at that revival meeting and later became a part of a Christian coffeehouse ministry where all the young people were on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ.  We were very young and we were, for the most part, chosen by Him from non-Christian backgrounds.  That, my friends, was the Jesus Movement.  When love for Jesus was new and faith had not been very tested.

I wish I could say I have always been faithful to Him.  Oh, I never completely turned away or got into what we would call great sin.  But I almost have.  I almost did.  Especially in my late twenties when life caught up to me more than the grace I understood.  I grew weary.  I thought of leaving it all.

I was disappointed by life as my father died without warning when I was a child and my first son died minutes after his birth.  While I loved my husband very much, his challenges added to the stress.  We had to leave my hometown to follow my husband's career so there was no support group of loved ones around me other than my husband and little girl.

Life was... hard.  I was so weary and I was only in my twenties.

I wish I could say it got a lot easier and that is why I found Him faithful.  No, just the opposite, actually.  I think very few of us have long stretches of time where everything goes just as we would like.  For we live in a fallen world and we have an enemy, you know.

We... you and me... we are in the middle of a great Celestial war between good and evil.  We live on a planet that was once perfect and is now death warmed over.  There is evil out there.  All we have to do is think of the loved ones in Paris who have sons, and daughters, and husbands, and wives that never returned home due to the very face of evil slaughtering the innocents.

How can God allow such a thing?  Because all of Humanity is caught in that Celestial war with both sides wanting our allegiance.  The enemy is a very, very smart strategist.  He has been around for hundreds of thousands of millenia.  He lived in the place without time.  Who knows how long ago he was created as the Beautiful One whom some believe led the very worship of Heaven.

But he wanted to be like God and then he wanted to be God.  He convinced Eve that God was holding out on her and that she could be like God. She was deceived and though Adam was not, he loved his wife more than he loved God and partook of the forbidden fruit. 

I have heard some say they want to have a good talk with Adam and Eve when they get to Heaven but not me.  For I know my own tendency towards thinking God is holding out on me and I know there have been times I have loved idols in my life more than the God who gave me life.

No, something happened as the years went by and it is this very thing that causes the angels to look at the redeemed of God in wonderment.  It is not in spite of difficulties that God has proven Himself faithful... it is because of them.

For you see, just like Job (who suffered a whole lot more than I ever have)... I can truly say that I had heard of Him but now I see Him.  I see His work in my life.  I have seen Him when I am totally without hope and He brings the provision.  I have seen Him when I am discouraged and I open the door to find a package on the front porch or a letter in the mail.

I see Him in the miraculous and I see Him in the everyday.  Sometimes when I have an idea for making the house look nice, I know it is the Master Interior Designer whispering in the voice of the Holy Spirit that if I try this and move that... Beauty.

I was just telling my daughter-in-law yesterday, when we ran errands together and she treated me to Starbucks, about nearly getting hit by a driver running a red light on the way home from the doctor's office... and how I have no idea how that car stopped in time not to hit me in the driver's door.  I see God in that which cannot be explained.

My friends, God is always faithful even when we don't understand where we are on the journey of life at the moment.  We each have our own unique set of difficulties while we walk on this fallen planet and God will bring us through them all.

The enemy is always whispering to our mind just as he did with Eve that God is holding out on us, that God is not answering our prayers.  He tells the mother praying for her children that they have fallen too far for God to reach down and pull out of the pit.  He tells the single mom that God has forgotten her.  He tells the man who lost his job that he will never find another.  The enemy is in the business of defeat and despair.

No... God is faithful.  He tells us in His Word that "many are the afflictions of the righteous but He delivers us from them all".  Why?  Because of that Celestial battle taking place on this Silent Planet, as fallen Earth is called in the C. S. Lewis space trilogy.

Someday you and I may be able to look back and see how, at our darkest moment, God was at work preparing the answers to our prayers in ways we could not see.  If we do not give up, if we do not grow weary, if we rise up with wings like eagles by trusting Him... we will see that day.

Personally, I don't care if I ever get any answers.  Once I leave this sod and walk into Heaven, I will just be so thankful that He held on to me during those times I grew too weary for the journey.  I don't really want to be reminded of the times I stomped my feet and pouted and told Him life is not fair at all.

We, who have little or no strength, can depend on His infinite strength.  He is faithful.  His mercies are new every morning.  It isn't Heaven, yet.  But it will be someday.  On that we can depend.


Terra said...

This is a wonderful post and I love how "He held on to me." He is always faithful and always there, whether we are aware of him or not. This morning before church I did a happy dance of praise thanking God for the rain, in this drought area it is a great blessing.

Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

This is an amazing post.

Thank you. I am just back from church, singing in choir, worshipping in the way I love best, in song. ♫ ♪

God bless you and yours, today, tomorrow- and always and in all ways!


Yes, Our Redeemer Lives!

Anonymous said...

Brenda, I just wish everyone in the world could read this today. Such beautiful encouraging words. Our God is faithful and He never ceases to care for us. One day we will understand things that happened here on earth for you're right--this is not heaven. Thank God that He saved that lonely, hurting, lost girl. And God bless that girl who invited her to revival where she met Jesus. Blessings, Sharon D.

Sandi said...

"If we do not give up..."

Sometimes, even if we do give up and run, knowing more than Him or thinking we know enough, He comes for us anyway and blocks the path we're on. "Look at me," He says. And then we are rescued. Again.


Jenny said...

Brenda, I needed that encouragement today. Yesterday was my mother-in-laws funeral. Our family has walked through weeks of watching her suffer in ICU and then make the decision to discontinue her dialysis. She faced the end with bravery and dignity and was uplifting her friends and hospital staff until the end. "I know where I am going" she would say, "I am going to be with Jesus." People marveled at her peace and courage. Her life wasn't easy, but we could trace God's faithfulness throughout her 80 years. That faithfulness has extended to my husband, her only child as he has now lost both parents. Her life verse was Proverbs 3:5,6 "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path". I am blessed to have been a part of her life.

Simply LKJ said...

What a beautifully written post. So encouraging. Glad I stopped over from Michele's.

Vee said...

Wonderful post and comforting, too, despite your admonition that this is not heaven yet and we can not expect it to be. Jenny's comment blessed me. The testimony of the saints is incredible. Only The Holy Spirit can do that.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Brenda this is a post full of truth.

I am thankful that God is faithful. He is in control and we can trust Him.


Linda V said...

Thanks for sharing your heart and journey. Your thoughts bring cleansing tears.
Love you!

Bonnie said...

What a wonderful testimony. May many read and understand.
It's the same beautiful crescent moon tonight throughout the world. There is evil in the world and it took many lives in Paris on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for sharing! It's your testimony that touches other's lives and gives them hope when they are in the midst of troubles. Nothing can ever separate us from God's love! He can turn Anything around and use it for good! He truly is an Awesome God!
Laura C. (WA)

Charlotte Moore said...

I saw your post from Michelle's The Nest at Finch Rest. So glad I clicked over to read. Yes, GOD is Faithful and HE does have it ALL in HIS control. We don't understand HIS will and way but HE never makes a mistake. Evil will keep getting worse because the devil knows his days are numbered.


Judy said...

Sometimes one imagines the questions we might have of God, about hard days - our own or other's - when we reach heaven, but I think it more likely, they will all be swallowed up in the wonder and joy of being in His presence and knowing we are "home".

rejoyce said...

Thank you so much for allowing God to speak through your words. So many times your words are "just what I needed." So many difficult times ... to much greater His grace. May you be encouraged as you encourage others.

Linda said...

Brenda, thank you so much for this reminder. Just what I needed.

Anonymous said...

I love your Sunday post! I was having negative thoughts today, the exact thoughts you listed in your post. It's amazing how God brings you across something you need! :)

Carolyn said...

Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post!