Even When We Cannot See

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

There are days when to be “Be still and know that HE is God!” (Psalm 46:10) is so easy.

In those times, my heart and my head agree with each other, and I almost dance with joy in experiencing both what I know and what I feel in tandem.

Certainly, I experience it when there is much to be celebrated. To lift my hands to the One from Whom all blessings flow is easy and immediate.

There are other times when what I “know” about our very good God, what I “feel,” and how I respond clash loudly! In those times, I, for all intents and purposes, choose not to be still. I don’t always ask “why” well and, I have to admit, my “why” is more like the rant of a petulant child.

But, to be in the midst of turmoil of my own or another that I love or to watch the world turn upside down in a variety of ways and yet to “be still” is not a reflection of my own strength. Rather, it is a supernatural gift of a gracious God who, in the middle of my pleading, of laying my heart bare before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, lifts my eyes and my heart to “see” Him instead of the moment. He holds and steadies this child, tenderly, even when He chooses not to calm the storm. And, in those times, He is also in the process of refining my heart.

We often have a desired outcome, an expectation for our circumstances; a way we believe is best and right.  At times, it may deal with the externals and the “haves or have nots” to which God says, “There is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12).  Yet, when it comes to physical illnesses, most would not argue that our requests are reasonable.  But, God’s ways, that sometimes “seem” difficult or mistaken to us, always lead to “life that is truly life” (I Timothy 6:19) because they are grounded in the firm foundation of His loving sovereignty that knows the end from the beginning and sees what we cannot. And, even when it doesn’t “feel” good, we can “know” it is.

All too often, I (and I think it is safe to say, “we”) “feel” – regardless of what we “know” – that for God to show His love, He must answer our requests exactly as we ask, fulfill our every desire, especially if they are “good” desires. Or, if He doesn’t, that He will immediately provide an explanation for us to see what He’s doing, not just with eyes of faith but with our physical eyes!

But it is not always the way of our Father. He says, “Trust me” even if it hurts. He says, “Trust me” even if it makes no sense. He says, “Trust me” and let me do “exceedingly and abundantly more” – not only more than we can think or ask but also more than what we can perceive with our eyes.

What the Israelites could “see” was a vast army heading in their direction to bring destruction. And yet, Moses told them to “be still” and watch God fight for them!  What? They had a clear view of the immediate danger, but they could not “see” what God had in store, how He would protect and defend them. Even so, indeed, as He did time and again, He delivered them.

The same is true for His children today; He calls us to “be still” and watch Him fight for us; even if His deliverance is, at times, hard. He calls us, often a forgetful people, to remember His faithfulness in the past so we will stand on that same promise of faithfulness in the present.

“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them…Not only may you see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in your life; the part you do see may make no sense to you.” (John Piper)

The other day, as my husband and I talked about and prayed for a situation that someone we love is facing, he reminded me of Joseph, sold as a slave by his brothers yet, in time, raised to a place of prominence to be an avenue of provision and protection. Could he “see” the faithfulness of God in that moment when he was taken away? Did he “feel” the love of God in that instant? Or did he cry out with an honest groan, “Why Lord?” And, yet, as we are given a view into his life, we are able to observe his faithful obedience to God. We watch his trust in the One he knew to be the sovereign Lover of his soul. We witness God honor that one who learned to “be still” and watch the Lord fight for him. And, through His Word across generations, we now get to see many of the “whys” to God’s ways; that He allowed Joseph’s hardships so he might be a place “for such a time.” God was doing “good” long before the “good” could be seen!

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12

Knowing that the Lord Himself is going before us and behind us is not a small thing nor is it a fanciful hope; it is the reality for those who are redeemed children of God, loved deeply by the One who doesn’t always give His demanding children just what we want but always gives just what we need and what will ultimately be for our good and a glory to Himself! And when what He gives is painful, He walks through the fire with us, He holds us close, and He says, “Be still and know (hold onto and experience) that I AM God.”

This side of heaven, we will not always do that well. But, by His grace, may we be found faithful, trusting, and “still” more with each day!

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Excerpt from “Even If” by Mercy Me   (Music and lyrics so often draw my heart in…as do these.  So thankful my son shared this song with me some weeks ago)!

 It’s easy to sing

When there’s nothing to bring me down

But what will I say

When I’m held to the flame

Like I am right now

 I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand.

But even if You don’t.

My hope is You alone.

 …God, when You choose

To leave mountains unmovable

Give me the strength to be able to sing

It is well with my soul. 

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone.

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone.

 You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good

All my days.

Jesus, I will cling to You

Come what may.

‘Cause I know You’re able

I know You can.

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone It is well with my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

 

At the End of the Day

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He gets in my lap and I give him a hug;

Safe in my arms, quite secure and loved.

The day has been busy as has the child

I will remember well the laughter and smiles.

I tuck him in bed and I kiss him goodnight

I trip over toys as I turn off the light.

Reminders that childhood will escape  all too fast

Wanting most to impart the things that will last.

So, I say a prayer that he’ll know what is true;

I talk to our God and say, “Make him steadfast for You!”

I’ve got to admit I’ve got so far to go

The good work He began, He will finish I know.

But I fail oh so often in the way that I teach

Not numbers and letters but with my life, do I reach?

With thankful heart, I lay him down

At the foot of the cross where grace abounds.

Grace to redeem him and grace to transform

Grace to give wisdom, his choices inform.

Grace to repent and grace to forgive

Grace to take hold of the LIFE You do give.

So, sleep now my child, Your Savior is near

Tomorrow is new, full of mercies, my dear.

Each day is a gift, give it back to Him.

Embrace His heart, run your race and then

Know that one day, when you leave our home

You will leave my arms, but you’re never alone.

While cleaning out papers recently, I came across this poem I wrote many years ago.  As I read and thought through what was on my heart at that time, obviously for one of my sons, it is equally so for my daughter and time has, indeed, been swift.

Now, as each one of them are adults – walking out their own relationships with Christ in different  places, it is no less true.  They are never alone.  Whether they walk on mountain tops or in the midst of valleys.  They are never alone.  When they can “see” what is ahead and when they simply must “walk by faith and not by sight.”  (2 Corinthians 5:7)  They are never alone.  As they walk unhindered and when they have to lay down their self-rule at the foot of the cross.  It is the presence of their Savior that holds them fast.  It is the grace of God by which they are saved and in which they now live.

“Therefore…as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13

As with every adult son or daughter, their dad and I no longer train and transfer the truth of God day in and day out; but we are there to boldly take them to the throne of grace every day, throughout each.  And we are there, now as brothers and sisters in Christ, to encourage, cheer them on in that walk, just in a different role.

That time passes quickly and our time, as parents, to instill the truths of God from His Word is in each minute of laughter or tears and each moment of discipline; reminding that it is our God who gives us true joy and who loves our laughter.  And it is our God who first gave His grace to us so that we can display to and lead them to that grace of God by ourselves extending that grace that forgives to them and to each other but also the grace-filled discipline to turn their hearts to what is true and not just what they feel or what they desire in that instant.

Remind them of your love when they feel unlovely or when the world feels like it is crashing down around them.  But remind them, even more, that though you will not always be there in person as the years go by, our God will never leave them and will walk through every joy and every sorrow, even redeem each of those sorrows for “those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!” (Romans 8:28)

The time to stop in those crazy moments, to savor them and ponder them in your heart, is now.