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))

A God who runs

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.(Luke 15:18-20 ESV)

I don’t know what you think about God, but I know that sometimes, many times, I have hard thoughts about Him. It is as if somewhere in the depth of my heart, I always have some doubts about His goodness. I cannot just see it, understand it: a God who runs to me because He loves me.

If I were an outstanding woman of faith, I would understand. But I am just like the other heroes of the Bible, weak, messy, and fearful. And I doubt. I doubt because I give Him no reasons to rejoice over Him, but He says He does. I doubt because He does not need me but want me. I doubt because how could He wants me, seriously? It just does not make sense.

But in the depth of my heart, I also know that it is true; that as incredible that it is, His love is the real thing. I know He is good and merciful, gracious and full of compassion, and He runs. When I come back to Him, ashamed of who I am, He runs to me. No questions asked, just His arms around me.

The Holy Spirit made it clear: the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. So we need to pray that we will understand it. There is no other way. So I pray for me, I pray for you, that we will understand that incredible love more and more and more.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Your will be done

We all know that God’s will is the best for us, don’t we? Most of the time we firmly believe that His Will is good and perfect. Most of the time. So we pray  saying, “your will be done”. Sometimes God says “no”. It hurts but we can live with His “no”, most of the time. Sometimes it is very hard. We cannot see what is good in our circumstances and even the thought of eternity doesn’t help.

Or God may say “yes” and that “blessing” ends up looking more like a curse than a blessing. And we wonder why He said yes knowing the outcome. Did he say yes in His anger as He did with Israel  when they asked for a king (Hosea 13:11)?

Someone, somewhere told us that the will of God for us should always be pleasant,  should always look like a Hollywood blessing. We grew up being fed with stories telling us that being happy ever after is the norm. So we question God when things are not so good and lose our confidence, unsure of His love.

So lest we forget:

  • “The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds” Psalm 145: 17. (NASB)
  • “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32: 4 (NASB)

If we believe those truths with all our heart, we will rejoice in the Lord with Habakkuk, saying, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)

 

God rejoices to do us good.

I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them… I will rejoice in doing them good. (Jeremiah 32:40-41 ESV)

This is one of those promises of God that are difficult to grasp, to fully accept. God rejoices in doing you and me good. That’s extravagant love! Can you think of any fact more encouraging than that?

Sometimes our situations are so hard to bear that it feels like God is doing all He can to make us miserable. In those days, we need to remember.

To remember those low moments, those moments where we were so weak that we were sure God’s grace could not be enough for us and yet we saw God answer prayers after prayers.

To remember that time when we wanted that specific seat and prayed, then those two guys just left and we got the spot.

To remember that exam we were sure to fail and we got the mark we wanted.

To remember that surprising phone call which rejoiced your heart.

To remember those moments of unexpected blessings, those heavenly winks.

It was God doing us good and rejoicing in it. So let’s be encouraged and comforted. The all-powerful God, the one who hold all things, takes pleasure in doing us good.

Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the LORD’s house for the rest of my life. (Psalm 23:6 NET)

 

 

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

Reasons to dance

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

I read a lot about depression today.

I went to see my family doctor and she asked me to do some blood tests. While waiting to do them, I was feeling down. Not depressed just down. I had my reasons. My life sometimes seems to be a joke. Some days  it feels like everything I do is vain. And I have been sick for 10 days. And, just by accident, there is on the wall near the lab an ad explaining what depression is. And of course I had all the symptoms.

So I spent the beginning of the evening depressed. Not down anymore, but really feeling depressed. I read articles about Christian depression and how to deal with. Of course there was not a real solution for me. Then the Holy Spirit, my Counselor, my Helper, stepped in and advised me to bring my feelings to the Father in prayer. It was not easy. I knew I should pray. I planned to pray, but praying is so difficult to do when I need it. So, carried by God’s grace, I finally asked for help to pray and God, in His mercy, made me pray. And it was good. So good.

I was honest and I asked for help. I asked for help for everything, from joy to hope and happiness until my heart, my mind and my thoughts changed. I asked for help because the Holy Spirit never ceases to remind me that I can draw near the throne of grace to receive help in my moments of need.

Even though I felt like when I need help God never helps, the Holy Spirit did not stop whispering that it is a promise and that it is always true. So I asked for help. And I have been helped. After my prayer, I had energy to cook and dance. Not a lot. I get tired easily those days. But I danced and loved it. And I will dance again. I will dance because I have reasons for. First I have a Father who loves me and cares for me and listens to me (1 Peter 5:6-7; John 16:26-27). Then I have a redeemer who lives and intercedes for me (Hebrews 7:23-25). Also I am never alone. My Counsellor is always with me (John 14:15-18). And… one day, soon, I will begin my eternity of everlasting joy (Revelation 21: 1-4).

Relationship or only power?

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:25-34

No one can imagine the pain and the despair of that woman. She was so desperate that she chose to do what she knew she should not. She needed Jesus desperately. She needed His power to heal. That was all she wanted. She touched Jesus and was healed, but did not touch God’s heart. She was healed but God did not know her. She was healed but she did not meet her God.

But because the Lord is a loving God, He did not let her go. He wanted to give her more than she asked for. He wanted to offer her the healing of her soul, a relationship with Him, a place in His family. So He pursued her, offering her the choice to reject Him or to run to Him. The same thing He does with us every day. We are always free to choose His blessings and refuse His affection. Sometimes we are frustrated because He offers only Himself. But for God, Himself is the best gift He can offer (John 17:3). And sometimes it is the only thing we need. To have God’s blessing can make us happy, to have God will give us an unending joy and peace (John 14:27; 16:22).

This woman understood that she needed more from Jesus. She was healed, but came to Him and fell down before Him, showing her faith. And Jesus honored that faith. He made her well, whole, complete. She got a lot of more by choosing to acknowledge Jesus’ Lordship. And He called her “daughter”. He gave her a place in His family, a place in heaven with Him (Colossians 1:12-13). God pours His blessings on the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45), but only those who are ready to fall down before Him, to accept Him as Father are part of His family (John 1:12-13). And that is more that all the blessings we can want. Let’s  praise the Lord for that precious gift of Himself.