Seeing how God always knows just what you need, and when to give it to you, just leaves me completely awed. The amount of work he has done in my life, and the exact timing of it all is almost unreal to me. When I look at what my life was only a year ago,...the lack of confidence, the struggle to see myself the way God sees me..... I see how difficult it would have been to handle the things that are now in my life if God hadn't come in and completely renewed it.
One of my favorite passages in scripture that comes to mind when I reflect on this is Psalm 18. This is not the whole thing, so you should go read the rest of it too, but it says: "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind....The Lord also thundered in the heavens,.....He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me." In a world that was once a mess to me, those words spoke directly to my soul and gave me the strength to trust him again. I had renewed assurance that he really is good. This passage speaks my story and always reminds me that I can stand on the assurance that he is in control, and will always be there to help me.
Now, today, I can see not only the beauty of that story, but also the incredible forethought that God invested in it. At one point, I wrote about how my "house" had been swept clean, and God was ready right then to come in and fill it with himself again. (Thoughts). At another point, (more recently) I saw how God did not allow a certain event to happen in my life back in the days when it would have caused me to go in a downward spiral of guilt, sadness, and helplessness. Instead he made sure I was ready and strong in Him before it surfaced.
And just a few weeks ago, he made me aware of the importance of how I live my life, and the hope that can be found even in death. (Jesus is Coming!) He helped me to see that importance, and write it out, because he knew I would need to come back and read it again, not two months later.
In some ways, it's really easy to forget what is happening to our brothers and sisters, say, in the Middle East, because we don't live near the conflict, and we don't experience that same pain. So in some ways it's easy to think of them and say, "That is not the end of the story! Jesus is coming soon! Hallelujah!" ....because I am not living (to speak figuratively) in Iraq.
There is genuine joy in the statement, (and I still mean it with all my heart), but in the initial declaration of it, there was still a small detachment in me from it's true depth.
The true power of that declaration is harder to come back to and read when you actually really, really need it. And yet it is also that much more beautiful.
Because you really don't know when that beautiful person you have worked with for nearly two years is going to slip away from you, and go to meet her Father. But when she does, you can look back and find hope knowing that Jesus really is coming soon, and that this pain will not last forever. If you ever believed it before, you can really know it now.
The way you live really does matter. He says:"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Rev. 22:12) He said it to me before, and he says it to me again. I don't know how long I have! And I don't know how long the people around me have. We are all dying. We all have a fixed time when we will leave this earth. So make the time you still have left worth it! Look around you and see the people that need Him. That need love. That need forgiveness. And go touch them. They aren't hiding from you. God has placed everyone you know into your life for a reason. They are already right there. Make the time you have left count, and go share God's love with them.
And don't forget that there still is always hope.
A year ago, I would have broken. But God has redeemed me; filled me when he knew I would need it the most. In the presence of God I said: "Jesus is coming soon! Hallelujah!"
And today I come back, with renewed assurance, and he helps me say:
"Jesus is coming soon! Hallelujah! His Truth still stands!"
Please pray for the family of my coworker Laurie, who left us last Sunday. I can not imagine what they are going through.
And please pray for me; that I may have wisdom in how to be there for my other coworkers who are grieving, and see how it is that God wants to use this for his glory. It is hard, but even still, God is good, and he is in control. Amen.