Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Love and Seek even when in Doubt

   A couple weeks ago we had a teaching at our church gathering on "doubt". It was asked if anyone in the congregation ever struggled with this issue and nearly everyone had a hand in the air, and the others  that didn't raise a hand, well.... they are dealing with another issue called "honesty"!         We've all struggled with doubt at some point in our walk with God and if we are truly being honest we've struggled with it more than once.
 Anyone who has known me for awhile knows that I deal with chronic pain in several areas of my spine due to an auto accident several years ago, and fibromyalgia. There have been days throughout this 12 year struggle that I have awoke in the morning to feeling as if a semi ran me over in my sleep and I don't know how I will make it through the day. And, many times plans will have to be altered or canceled altogether because no matter how hard I try or how much I pray, relief just doesn't come. The nights when I can't sleep because the spasms are so intense and I cry out to God for relief and it just doesn't happen, doubt begins to set in and take hold and I wonder if God even hears me. And if he does, why isn't He responding?
 I hear of struggles that others are going through as well and my heart breaks for them because I know they too, no matter how things appear on the outside, I know when things are looking bleak, doubt is sitting right there, ready to pounce.
Right after hearing Rebekah speak on this topic of doubt I was reminded of a teaching at a women's gathering on Matthew 11 . It says here that "while imprisoned John heard of the works of Christ" and he sent word to Jesus by his disciples to ask, " are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else"?
 There is such a desperation in Johns voice! And he was Doubting! I believe John believed Jesus was going to rescue him from prison and as his wait became longer he  began to doubt if Jesus was the Messiah! John! John the Baptist! The very one who in Matthew 3 we learn baptised Jesus! John touched Jesus in the flesh! Baptised Him! He witnessed" the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him!"v16  And he heard the rumble of Gods voice say, "This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased"! v17
 John experienced all of this, he touched, he saw, he heard and still later......he doubted!
 I can sit and think, Oh my how could he ever doubt after all he experienced? But, then again, I should ask myself the same question.
 I don't know why relief doesn't come when I am suffering with spasms and pain, and I don't know why others receive healing and I am still waiting for mine. But, I do know that God has given me the strength to get through those times and I am still here to serve Him. I still know where my life was years ago without Him, and where I am now with Him. I still remember all the strength He has given me to get through some of the most trying times of my life and the lessons He has taught me through those times. I know as long as I am on this earth I will not completly understand His ways of doing things, and I'm good with that, but I will never stop trying. Proverbs 8:17 says-" I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find Me".
I am in a place of resting right here in this verse- Loving Him-and Seeking Him. I believe if I never falter from these two things doubt will lessen it's hold, and the guilt from doubting will go away, others expectations and opinions of me will no longer matter. And  I am being completly honest here I admit sometimes this is my greatest struggle. When others make comments about what I "should be doing" or if I had more faith God would carry me through that and I could do more. If I don't show up at this event or that event it's assumed I'm either less social or loving and faltering from my faith or my walk with the Lord is weak or immature. Many times that's when I sit back and doubt God, because after all, if these other Godly people are getting the strength to "do" all this why am I not?
This is where my faith is put to the test, Do I believe or don't I? Do I truly believe that this unconditional love He has shown me is real?  I choose to rest in Him and Him Alone! Am I here to please others? Or my God, that I have come to know?
I choose to believe in what He has already shown me- He knows me- He loves me- and He will give me all the strength I need for each day just like He has been doing, walking hand in hand, side by side, with me, All the way, even in the pain, I feel Him! He is real!
The next time I am in the middle of a struggle and doubt comes knocking I will rely on God to help me remember and still believe!
I pray all of us will sense His love so so close today and that alone will carry us, no matter what the day may bring, even if it's doubt.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Altars of Remebrance

  One of my favorite books is "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hunnard. In this story we meet a character named "Much Afraid". Much Afraid begins a journey with the guidance of a couple companions given by the High Shepherd to the High Places. Along the way Much Afraid meets with many challenges with fear, honesty, humility, only to name a few. Through this journey Much Afraid carries a satchel, and each time the Great Shepherd has shown her a great lesson, Much Afraid places a stone of remembrance from that place into the satchel to remember the great thing which have been done inside her, lest she forget.
  How often is it when we are going through struggles in this life do we find ourselves asking, "God are you really even there"? Do you care? Do you even hear me? Forgetting all the Lord has done. We can take for granted all the blessings that have come our way as if they never happened.
   I still see that little girl that was once me. I see her smile less face, I can still feel her loneliness, her confusion her pain. God rescued me from those wounds. I will never forget!
  I can still the blood and grass as I laid on the ground that night as the man shined his light in my eyes telling me all was going to be okay and help was on the way. It wasn't my time to leave yet, although strangely enough I felt ready and at peace. I will never forget!
  I can still recall the nausea of near death on that night when I was told it would be okay to get high and I believed his senseless lies once again and it nearly cost me my life. I won't ever forget!
  I can still remember the cold upon my bare feet and the fear in my heart as I walked two miles in the middle of the night with the gash on my head still oozing with blood after being hit once again by a man who promised to love me and protect me all the days of my life. God rescued me from that, and I will not forget!
  I don't ever want to forget those years of despair and hopelessness wandering aimlessly to nowhere and everywhere all at the same time, looking for someone, anyone who believed I was good enough just as I am. They all wanted something- even my own dad saw what he thought was my only worth. He was wrong! I won't ever forget!
  The Lord has blessed me with so much.
  Our world was broken, broken beyond our ability to right the wrong and make it right again. But, God loves us to the extent He could not bare the separation, could not bare even the thought that we would have no hope of ever being in communion with Him again. So much so He paid the ultimate price, a price so high no one could ever know the magnitude-His being-brought to earth in flesh and blood to bare the weight of the greatest human error, or was it simply the first? Sin is sin after all and had this been the only sin-His love would have done the same. This kind of love is way beyond my comprehension- Yet, still I won't ever forget!
 Time and time again, God moves in a way in my life to show me that He does indeed hear me. My prayers go right before Him, before His throne. And then, just like the Israelite's wandering in the desert for 40 years, I get in a place of absorption and pity and I question His very existence. Don't ask how, just simply our human condition. That in itself is the very issue-the human condition. Freedom isn't found there, it can only be found in our depths, the real me, the me inside that makes me, me. Where Jesus is. The me God knows, and has known even before I came to be in this shell we call the human body. Spirit! That is who we are, that's who I am, and I never want to forget, I can't ever forget.
  He knows me, and all He wants from me is me. Me, in the simplest form, not who the world wants to see with all it's expectations. Just me!
 He wants me to come to Him with my troubles, my concerns, my joys, the things I find funny, the things I find troubling. He just wants it all and He wants the truth, silly to think we can fool Him with our pretenses anyway.
  All this time I struggled wondering why it wouldn't go away, wondering why the memory would taunt me, blaming Him for the unhappiness within and In one real moment when all that pain came pouring out with the truth that maybe deep down I hadn't forgiven him, but I so wanted to, I hated carrying it, the weight alone was too much, it alone was burying me. One real moment of absolute truth, it opened the door to allow Him to heal. I can't forget, I don't ever want to forget!  My question had been answered and there was no other way this could happen, absolutely none! None other than my Father in heaven heard my voice and He answered and brought me freedom I couldn't give myself. This is my remembrance stone, lest I ever forget!
  I hope the next time, and there surely will be a next time, I am in despair and I am troubled and I begin to entertain the thought that maybe this whole Jesus thing isn't what we all think it is and maybe God really doesn't hear my prayers, I will think back to all He has done and my remembrance stones will come flooding back to me and I will immediately fall back into the truth and I will lean upon the faith He has given me and pray for patience to wait upon Him to answer knowing He will answer.
  Lord, help me to never forget!