Never tired, always bathing in goodness

Where would I be if I did not believe I would experience the Lord’s favor in the land of the living? (Psalm 27:13 NET)

Sometimes you read a verse times after times and you don’t get this little thing that is obvious and makes a big difference. Then in a time of dire need, God stops you and makes you get it; actually more than just getting it, He feeds you with it. His Word becomes food for you. And for me, the verse above is one of those.

The part translated “Where would I be” is also translated “I would have despaired”, I had fainted”. What God is telling us here is that the only way not to be tired, weary, exhausted, not to faint and despair is to believe that we will experience His favor, His goodness; that He will do us good.

The only being who never gets tired is God. All of us, young, old, super spiritual and weak get tired one day. And it is normal. The Christian life is filled with trials, difficulties, challenges and many other things that steal our strength, our energy, our joy, our hope, etc. God knew it and provided us with the perfect solutions: to believe He will be good to us. When you believe in His goodness, His strength becomes your strength.

What does it mean to believe in His goodness for you? It means that you are so sure that He is for you, so sure that He will never leave you nor forsake you, so sure that His faithfulness, mercy, and grace will follow you all the days of your life that you wait upon Him, you wait for His help. You don’t fret nor get worried, but stay still because He is your God.

How do you know that you are doing those? Well, if your strength is renewed, if you walk without getting tired, then you are waiting upon Him. If you run without growing weary, if you feel that you are soaring like eagles, then you are waiting for His help.

If you don’t feel that way, if you feel tired and exhausted inside, if your spiritual strength is gone, you are not believing that He will be good to you. Let me put it that way: If God is the Ruler of the universe and He is for you, why would you run around panicked, worried, or frustrated? You would simply wait for Him and keep doing His will, knowing that everything is taken care of, knowing that you are taken care of.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is an eternal God, the creator of the whole earth. He does not get tired or weary; there is no limit to his wisdom. He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy. Even youths get tired and weary; even strong young men clumsily stumble. But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired.” (Isaiah 40: 28- 31 (NET))

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What is certain?

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21:5-6

Few things are trustworthy and sure in this life. When it is hard, people tend to remind us of Romans 8:28 as if it meant that everything will be OK. No, not everything will be OK in this life. At least God never promised such a thing. Life is hard, illogical, uncertain and unfair. But we will stop being angry, frustrated and anxious if we knew what is trustworthy and sure. And we will be able to be still, hope and rest.

We can be sure that God exists and that He rewards those who believe in Him (Hebrews 11:6). We can be sure of His heart as describes in the Holy Scriptures, which can be so different from what our favorite preachers say about.

We can also be sure that Christ came, died and raised from the death and now is at the right hand of God. And that because of Him, of what He has done, one day, we will be with Him and all will be fine (Titus 3: 4-8).

In the meantime things are not that fine. We expect things from God that He never promised. And we don’t understand why He does not give them to us. We expect Him to do it the way we have been taught He should be doing it, the way we think He should work. And we are disappointed.

So many frustrations because we don’t know the truth, we don’t know His truth, we don’t know Him. No wonder why Paul’s Goal was to know Christ (Philippians 3:8-11). In Him are hidden all the secrets of God (Colossians 2:3).  If you really know Christ, you understand life.

I know it is Christmas soon and that everything should be good and beautiful and everyone should be nice to us, especially God. But things don’t work that way, at least not in the Bible, not in God’s world. Life is hard, but we can be certain that after this life everything will be fine.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us; 
2 Timothy 2:10-12

Asking, trusting in God’s mercy

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:21-28)

What in the faith of that woman was great? I asked myself that question many times. I don’t know if I have the answer, but there is something she had that is indeed great: she knew that she was unworthy, and she came to receive mercy, trusting in God’s faithfulness.

She came calling Jesus Lord and Son of David. She acknowledged His power and His compassion, basically telling Him: “You have the power and the good will to help me so I cry for mercy.” When Jesus rejected her at first, she answered by asking for help. Then He called her “dog” and she said: “Yes, I am a dog, but I am your dog so I am expecting your mercy.” She never doubted of God’s goodness.

Generally, we don’t persevere as she did. When God seemed to push us away, we are desperate and it becomes difficult to pray, or at least to pray for that specific thing we want so much. Or we are frustrated as if God owes us something.  Faith believes that God has the power to do anything and rests on His mercy to ask Him again and again, trusting that His mercy will never fail.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

For stormy days

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33

Have you ever been frustrated with God because He did not come through for you after many prayers? Do you remember those days when you just did not understand why God, who is Almighty and good, left you in the midst of difficult, painful circumstances? Here is something that may help us to trust and be still in the midst of storms.

So Jesus sent the disciples on the boat. They were there not because of pride or disobedience but because of their submission, while Jesus stayed, dismissing the crowds, and then praying. While He was praying, the disciples were facing a storm and contrary winds. He did not calm the storm, but kept praying (Luke 22: 31-32). And even when He came to them, He did not calm the storm and the winds. He walked on the sea, but did not calm it. He spoke to them, comforting them, but did not calm it. Yet He was there with them. Difficult circumstances do not mean that God has abandoned or forgotten you. Difficult circumstances mean that God waits for you to come to Him in the midst of the storm. He wants your faith to be great.

Is God really there?

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

So God is sovereign. The Bible says it. All the men of God confirm it. And then you look at your life and it seems to be a problem.

Okay you made mistakes, you messed up sometimes or, if you are like me, very often. You wonder if everything is not your fault. You begin to think that if you were stronger, better, more spiritual, if you were able to control yourself as you dream of, things will be different. And then your brain reminds you of a verse like the one above. And you wonder how come God didn’t establish your steps.

The Bible is clear: “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.” Proverbs 21:30.

So even you, you cannot prevent God’s plans to be fulfilled in your life. So what is going on? Is that God’s plans for you or does He have no plan at all? Where are those good works God prepared in advance for you to do? Even when it comes to that you can sometimes feel left behind.

But because God is God, because you don’t have the choice you hold on. You stay faithful and keep going, but there is no peace in your heart. You question God: His love, His goodness. He said that He doesn’t show partiality (Galatians 2:6), but it seems that He only blesses others, even those who do not strive to love Him.

When you reach that point you need to take a decision. You need to decide to live by faith or to shrink back (Hebrews 10:38). You need to decide if you want to please God or to live without purpose (Hebrews 11:6). For me I decided to live by faith and to believe whatever God says in His word. When I feel abandoned, with the Holy Spirit’s help I choose to believe that He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). And when I don’t understand at all what is going on, when I don’t know what verse would be the best,  I hang on to this truth:” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” (Romans 8:28).

My circumstances don’t change, but I know that it will be okay.

Never alone

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…”  John 14:15-17
Let’s be honest being single is not always easy. I don’t know for you but there are days when being  alone seems a curse. When  my friends and siblings get married and have babies I feel abandoned by the Lord. When it is dark and cold outside  I dream of someone to wander with me on the city streets. When it is difficult to pray or to evangelize I wish I had that partner with me. Sometimes I just want to share a joke, a line from a movie, a good news or a meal with that special someone. Sometimes I want to be the helper I think God created me to be.
Being single is difficult. You want and need someone to help you carry the grocery bags. You need help to put together that bed you just bought. You need someone to tell you that you are beautiful when you feel ugly. You need someone with whom to share that scripture, that revelation you just have about Jesus at 2 a.m. I can go on and on.
But just when you wonder how you will keep going alone, the king steps in. He makes your life looks like a movie and saves you at the last moment. He defeats the devil, wiping out all your doubts and pouring all His love on you.
He is never far. He always with you (Matthew 28:20), ready to come to your rescue even when you don’t ask for help. You are not an orphan ( John 14:18). You are never left alone “for your Maker is your husband.” (Isaiah 54:4-8)
You have a Helper, an Advocate, a Counselor who fights for you, guides you, helps you, giving you what you need emotional, physically, materially and spiritually.
How He does it is not important. He is doing it every day  of your life if you keep Jesus’ commands.
Does that truth changes my reality? Not really. But I am comforted. I know I am loved. I know that I am not alone. When it is hard, I  have someone to turn to. I will always be helped because my God is faithful. No, ” God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind.” (Number 23:19)