God Is Coming for You

God hasn’t forgotten you. In the middle of the storms raging in the world today, God still hears the quiet prayers of those calling out to Him. He still hears the tiniest of whispers calling out His name.

I believe He is listening for your voice. Today. Right now.

The enemy is going to try to magnify the darkness of the world, making it seem so large that you, your concerns, get swallowed up—like you’re whispering  into hurricane winds and your voice is too weak, small. You can shout, but no one will hear.

Satan wants you to lose all hope. He wants you to give up. Stop praying. Stop trying. Just give in. It’s useless. The world is one big mess, and you’re just one person. You can’t do anything to fix your own problems let alone the massive struggles of the world. Besides, God isn’t really listening to you and your little voice.

Rubbish. All of it.

God hears His children. Always. He never sleeps, so on those nights you can’t sleep, He calls you to curl up next to Him in the living room. When you’re in a meeting or in the middle of a conversation and you are in desperate need of guidance, God hears the silent prayers of your heart.

And when you are on your knees, sobbing into the carpet or standing during a church service and the tears are reaching clear down your neck, God stands beside you.

He sees the walls you’re trying to build again.  He knows why you built them before. He wants you to trust Him. Hand Him the bricks.

My dear friend, God is coming for you. He is going to rescue you. He is still the God of godly surprises and mighty rescues. Don’t think for even a minute that He doesn’t know how to reach you or how to get through to you. He created you. He knows you better than you know you.

He may come for you through the words of someone you haven’t seen in a long time—words that leave you standing in awe with more tears coming because you’ll see God has not forgotten you.

He may come for you through the mighty power of His Holy Spirit—speaking to you through your own mouth and the words He gives you. He may reach out to you from the pages of His Word—helping you to hear His voice clearer than before with eternal hope staring at you from words so profound and true they leave you trembling.

Or perhaps He will come for you, to love you and remind you He’s never going to leave you, through this very blog—so you will know His children are still out there in the world, in the storm, battling the darkness.

They are fighting for truth, for light, and for you. And more importantly:

God is fighting for you.

You are not alone. God is coming for you. Hold on.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14 NIV.)

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” (Hebrews 10:35-37 NIV.)

Photo from pexels.com.

When God is Silent

silent

Have you ever cried out to God only to be met by silence? You don’t get any answers, you don’t feel peace, and the only sound you hear is your own sobbing as your heart breaks.

Maybe you’ve even wondered, “Where are you, God? Don’t you care about me? Don’t you see what’s happening?”

I once asked God those very words. (For those of you who know me, you’ve probably heard this story. What can I say? I’m still learning from it.)

Years ago, I had questions for God, life-altering questions, so I went in our backyard to get away from everyone and everything. I needed silence. I needed to hear God in that silence.

Only God didn’t answer me. So I asked Him to let me see a butterfly if He cared about me. Just a glimpse, Lord. I looked all around our yard, in the trees that surrounded me, and in the grass. No butterfly.

I felt as if something inside of me had completely broken.

Days went by and I was so discouraged and deeply depressed. No one could help or offer any comfort. This was between God and me. And how I saw it during that painful silence, God let me down.

At that time, I had a job cleaning the church we attended. I grabbed my cleaning supplies and started on the outside of the glass doors. I noticed a moth trapped in a spider’s web on the door frame and did my best to rescue it from that monster. (What can I say? I really don’t like spiders.)

But when I finally pulled the moth free, I realized it wasn’t a moth at all: On my fingertip, I felt the gentle “pop” of a newborn, monarch butterfly’s wings as they opened for the first time; the dark, ginger-colored wings were still wet.

I held that butterfly for a long time. Watching in awe as it opened and closed its wings to dry them.

In that moment, God spoke so lovingly, so perfectly to my heart that I won’t ever forget it. He was telling me in a very real, very tangible way that He does hear me, He sees me when I cry, and He loves me enough to teach me the hard lessons.

The hard lesson of waiting on God. The hard lesson that sometimes He is silent.

Perhaps you’re there today, waiting on God, asking for an answer, and you’re being met by His silence.

My dear friend, please understand that God loves you more than you and I can possibly understand. You see, He is preparing you and teaching you to trust Him. He’s growing your faith in Him.

Just like the butterfly needs the struggle of emerging from the chrysalis in order to strengthen its wings so it can fly, we need the struggle to strengthen our faith so we learn to trust God more deeply as we walk closer to Him.

And when we walk closer to God, we learn the difference between His silence when we’ve disobeyed Him and sinned and need to repent, and when He is using the silence to teach us.

So if you’re hurting today and there is silence at the end of your prayer, don’t stop seeking God’s truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything, any sin that is keeping you from a closer walk with God.

And if you find silence at the end of that request as well, then remember God’s silence can be a temporary tool that teaches you about your loving Heavenly Father who never leaves you.

Even when He is silently holding you.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5b NLT.)

 

 

Alone in a Crowd

alone in crowd

Alone. I’ve felt that way a lot. Who hasn’t? But what about when you’re surrounded by people?

You’re sitting by a campfire roasting a hot dog while your friends and family are chit-chatting about the last time you all got together; cousin Polly used sour cream to make deviled eggs when she ran out of mayonnaise, hoping no one would notice.

There’s laughter but it’s too light for you to hold onto, too difficult to join in. Besides, you’re concentrating on getting your hot dog just right. Not really. You’re focused on those golden flames as they lick the night air, wishing you could scream or cry. Maybe both. Instead, you just sit there as a part of the group knowing you’re totally apart from it.

Your mind is full. Your heart is heavy. You can’t explain it. Not to any of them. They don’t even see it. You smile at the right times. Nod your head when you need to agree. And you go on pretending that everything is okay even when it’s not.

You feel totally alone. Like no one would “get it” if you opened up and spilled the beans right next to the hot dogs. So you externally include yourself while internally you’re so far away they don’t even know it.

Alone. Totally alone in your thoughts and struggles. No one knows the real you and you don’t know how to let anyone in.

But God sees you.

God sees you right where you are with that hot dog that’s starting to burn. But you’re ignoring it because the tears are starting to come and you don’t want to turn away because someone might see. God knows everything that’s disappointed you and everyone that’s hurt you. He knows every failed dream and the one closest to your heart that you’re too afraid to pursue. He knows the scar tissue that’s hardened your heart and why you’re struggling to get rid of those walls you’ve put in place to keep people away.

He’s sitting beside you right now. His Holy Spirit is within you; He’s the One holding you and comforting you from the inside, helping you to keep it all together when you feel it’s all going to fall apart.

He’s got you. You don’t have to do it alone.

Have you ever noticed a couple in a crowd, one that’s connected so deeply you can tell they’re together by the secret conversations they have with a single glance? Their interlocked fingers held in a gentle embrace. The tender smiles reserved exclusively for one another. They almost seem to fade into the background of the room, untouched by the surrounding conversations. It’s as if they’re lost in the crowd when actually they’re losing themselves in each other.

Together. Solid. In sync.

That’s you and God. Your Creator. The One who knows you better than anyone else. And He’s not going anywhere. Not ever. So that would mean you’re never alone.

Not even in a crowd.

“God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 MSG.)

Waiting at the Screen Door

screen doorSometimes I build a wall of cement blocks around myself, keeping them at a comfortable height because I don’t want anyone to see me when I’m struggling, when I’m falling apart. I’d rather let you peek over the blocks to see my crazy curly hair or maybe I’ll give you a little wave to let you know I’m here.

The wall keeps me safe while I’m hurting. Without it, I’m completely vulnerable and that scares me.

But if you’re struggling, then staring at my cold wall with only a glimpse of curly locks or the palm of my hand isn’t going to do you any good. And I want to encourage you.

So today, I’ve hoisted the blocks aside. Please understand, those things are heavy and I certainly didn’t do it alone. I had to surrender the blocks to God. He is the only One who can really move them.

But that’s how much He loves you.

I believe He wants you to read something in my struggle, and I have no idea what that is but I’m trusting Him as I step beyond my protective pile of blocks to let you see me. The real, hurting me I usually hide:

Last week was a really rough one for me. I was beyond discouraged. I was severely depressed. I mean, a heavy darkness like I’ve never known before (and I’ve had some real doozies in the past). Oh sure, I reminded myself of the Scriptures I often share with others when they’re going through something similar. (Joshua 1:9 to be exact.) I put on a “happy face” when I needed to because it’s easier to do that than try to explain something like: “I hurt somewhere on the inside so deeply I can’t understand it. I know God is with me. I know the enemy is trying to steal my joy. But this is so heavy I can hardly move, can hardly take a deep breath. I can’t write. In fact, I don’t want to write. I can’t see clearly or hear God clearly. I’m crumbling, falling apart, crying myself to sleep etc. etc. etc.” Yes, it’s much easier to offer a little smile and retreat to my corner of the world behind my wall.

The discouragement came after I stepped out in faith and obeyed God by speaking to two different groups of women. I still smile when I think how God sometimes calls me to do that when He knows my heart and the fear I have of public speaking. I have a friend who laughed when I explained that to her. Her laughter still rings in my ears and brings a smile to my face. Only God can transform this little girl whimpering in the corner into a woman who can hold a microphone and speak of God without shaking. Only God can do that.

As I mentioned, the heaviness came after I obeyed God. My first thoughts were, I’m terrible at speaking. I didn’t do it right. I failed. I let God down. I let everyone down. (All of which came like flaming arrows, if you catch my drift.) My Father knows my heart and all my imperfections and He is the One who called me to speak, to tell His daughters how our struggles strengthen our faith. I’m sure He planned accordingly for my many shortcomings and stretched His strength to fill in my many, many weak spots.

But then came exhaustion; a total sense of feeling drained. Again, more thoughts like, See, you were just doing it in your own strength and you got it all wrong. If God called you to do it, He would have given you the strength to do it. You certainly failed Him. That was a whopper of a flaming arrow; a big fat lie. God did give me the strength to do it. There was no way I could have made it through that day of speaking without Him. Seriously. I had such peace all day long, even with arrows zooming by my head. It was days later when the exhaustion knocked me over.

Then FINALLY after days of falling asleep nearly every time I stopped moving, of trying to praise God in song, praying to Him and sobbing, breaking down and building a wall so high only God could see past it, God touched my broken heart, my wounded spirit while I rested. I woke up Saturday morning with a real smile and a song in my heart. Some of the words that beautifully played over and over in my heart: I press on.

But that’s not all. I saw something in my spirit: A screen door opening. I don’t know about you, but I often think (and write) about closed doors and waiting on God to open them. This screen door was exciting to see! And the more I thought about it, the more I began to praise God that it wasn’t a heavy, ironclad medieval contraption of a door like I often imaged. It was a screen door. You know, the kind that allows fresh air, the scent of lilacs, and the songs of the cutest little house wrens to flow right in.

While you and I have been waiting for God to open the door, His Holy Spirit has been flowing in to fill our spirits, overflowing and spilling into our hearts. The whole time! We’ve never been alone, just as God’s Word tells us.

So I learned when we’re waiting on God, we’re not staring at a rock solid door, our noses stuck to it as if we’re being punished. We’re staring through the mesh of a screen door at the horizon, getting glimpses of God and the wonderful promises He is working on for our lives. We get to smell the rain, hear the thunder, and appreciate His creativity blooming all around. We get every bit of that while the Holy Spirit, our wonderful Comforter, holds us and waits with us.

You see, God wants us to wait with Him while we’re waiting for Him. He wants us to talk to Him, cry out to Him, and REST with Him while He’s preparing to open that screen door for us.

That beautiful, creaking screen door that will open up our world to His will and His plan for our lives.

Can you see what’s out there? Can you look past the screen door, past the porch, beyond the horizon? Can you see all that God has for us?

Me neither! But I know my God, and I know it’s going to be jaw-dropping good.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV.)

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Exodus 33:14 NIV.)

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 NLT.)