Trusting God in the Void

     

     Void

 

     Yesterday, after over nine years in school, I completed my last course requirement for my Master’s Degree.  For over nine years I juggled (though not always successfully) kids, work, cleaning, etc. And now that I am finished, I feel a bit strange.  I suppose that this is because there is now a question mark where there once was a plan in place.

     And though most of my previous classmates (as discussion posts point out) are already full into their careers, or are about to start one, I am kind of in limbo. While I do know that God has called me to a specific place but have no specifics I do believe that God has given me my next step. So after nine years of schooling, I will spend this next season soaking in the time with my grandson and getting closer to God.

     Though I am not going to lie, this season is not what I envisioned. I always thought that at the end of all of my schooling there would be a big shiny door open for me.

     I imagine that Ittai the Gittite felt, if only for a second, a bit like I am feeling,

     You see, Ittai was a guy that had dreams, big dreams. He wanted to work for the King. Yet, He no doubt had (as there usually are) plenty of neigh sayers. I would imagine that he heard things like, “What? You, working for a king?” “But you are a foreigner!”  “Why would you dream such a thing?”

     But against all odds ole Ittai the Gittite got the job and traveled far away. No easy task in those days. He then started his brand-new job, only to find that it looked nothing like he imagined it to be.

     For only one day after his arrival his boss, King David (along with his staff) had to flee for his life.  We see this in 2 Samuel 15:19–21.

 “Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.”

     He just got there, and his plans have turned to dust. He could have done as suggested and went home, the day after he came. It would have been easier, and for sure safer. But look how he responds;

But Ittai answered the king, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord, the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.”

Forget Mike, I want to be like Ittai!

     He knew what was important. It was not about his dream! It was about his king!

     Yes, my plans are not as I have imagined. Yes, I, like Ittai, have no idea what is coming next, but, like him, I do have a Boss. I do have a King that I will stick to. For,  “wherever my lord [my] king shall be, whether for death or for life!”

     As with a lot of Biblical people this could have been all there was to say about Ittai And frankly, for me, it would have been enough. But God was not done with Ittia. For in the very battle that would but David back on the thrown we see that even though it may not have looked like it, God had a plan after all.

     “And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite.”” (2 Samuel 18:2, ESV)

     I do not know all that you are facing today, maybe it is a job loss, or the loss of a loved one, maybe it is a financial problem or maybe, like me, you have graduated with no real doors for your future opening up. You may be feeling a deep void in your life and may not even know why.  If so the best thing that you can do it be like Ittai, stick close to God and He will open the right door for you when it is the right time.

     Know that I am praying for all who read this post.

A word for the waiting

For those of you who are in a season of waiting, in a dry and thirsty place, in a place where you are just “DONE” with it all, be encouraged that God sees you, Loves you so very much, and is not through with you. Sometimes it feels as if He has forgotten you, as if he cares more about “them” then he does you, but remember “feelings” are fickle, do not let them guide you but let Him (and His word) do so instead. Do what God is leading you to do, and you will see the JOY return (remember it IS your strength).

Take your eyes off your situation (yes I know it sucks, but nothing will change unless you make a decision to focus on what the Bible calls you too), and put your eyes on God, and I promise you will begin to see change. You were not designed to carry your burden; that is why when you do you feel so weighed down, so “depressed” so unable to go on. Give it to God (really give it to him) and watch him make a path through that desert you have been in for far too long. Then breath in deeply and lift up your head and see how good He is!!

Why fear is not the answer

Photo © 2jenn - Fotolia.com

 

There are many Bible verses about love.  How it is patient and kind, how it covers a multitude of sins. That will have to be for another day, for the scripture brought immediately to my mind was 1 John 4:18, which tells us that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Looking at that verse closer we see that…

There is no fear in love

Why is there no fear in love? Because God is pure love. “There is no unrighteousness in him.” (psalms 92:15). And there is nothing more “un-right” that fear.

Now; there may be some “religions” that teach and preach a god of fear. A god, who, at any second, is about to swing down his arm of judgment and crush his “unrighteous” followers like the gnats they are made to feel like.

That is not my God.

No, my God is a God of deep, flowing love. My God is a God whose deepest desire is NOT that we become His unthinking minions for the sake of His mighty power, but that we become people who follow His example of loving deeply so that others might see and be changed by His love flowing through us.

My God is a God who calls us to be like Him alone. Who wants us to be so “enfolded in love” (Ephesians 4:18), so wrapped up in the love that only He can give that people will first have to make contact with love before they reach us.

but perfect love casts out fear

Imagine that you are a house. You are, of course, a clean and tidy house. All pretty and smelling great…that is until you become infested with the “fear” bug. It starts out so very tiny, hardly noticeable. But instead of doing what 2 Corinthians 2:5 says and taking that ungodly thought captive before casting it out, you do nothing, and therefore, it is allowed to grow and multiple.

In a short time, your home (while still pretty underneath) is no longer “clean and tidy.” You realize that you have a problem, that fear has covered your life so completely that the essence of you is no longer visible. So you call in the big guns. That’s right, the Orkin man!! He comes with (insecticide) guns a blazing, and he casts out, (gets rid of) each and every fear bug.

Before you know it, you are clean and tidy once more and are more watchful for the little bugs that might ruin your view.

Perfect love is like installing a guard in front of your house so “fear” will no longer be allowed entrance.

For fear has to do with punishment

Fear isn’t for the now but for the future.

If we are afraid, that means that we think that we will be adversely affected in the future. But God never told us to live in the future. Matthew 6:34 tells us “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” We are not supposed to live in fear of what will come, but to trust God to sustains us today.

I once heard somewhere that the word FEAR stood for False Evidence Appearing Real. I love that acronym. Something like 98% of the things we fear NEVER happen.

So why are lives wasted fearing? Some of the reasons might be;

  • We are not reading the Word on a consistent basis. As we read, we are storing instruction that God will then bring up to us when we need it, like when we are tempted to fear.
  • We are not spending time worshiping God. There is something about worship that drives out fear and replaces it with peace that will not allow fear entrance.
  • We are watching the news too much. Studies have shown that bad news sells. Fear sells. That is why the news is filled with the stuff of nightmares…stay away, the important stuff will filter down to you.
  • We are choosing to feed our fear and not our faith. What we spend time thinking about is important.

whoever fears has not been perfected in love

We live in an age where fear is on the rise. When those terrorists killed all those people in Paris, my first reaction, I am embarrassed to say, was to want to kick out every “potential threat” from America and to close all of our borders.

Why? Because I have four children and one grandchild and I feared anything happening to them.

But them my beautiful and intelligent daughter (well one of them) reminded me that this is not how Jesus would respond. That He taught us to love our neighbor. That He never taught us to be suspicious or fearful of him.

We have to be careful of allowing this fear to take a hold of us. Not to allow this fear to take up residence in our though or it will control us. And in case you are wondering if that would be a bad thing, …

Hitler was abetted by the tremendous fear of communism taking over Germany.

After the war, and into the 1920s, Germany experienced violent strikes. There was fighting, rioting and deaths. Communism in Germany was abetted by its international stature; it saw Germany as the next country after Russia most likely to turn communist. Trotsky, Lenin and others put effort into mobilizing their forces to expand their revolution into Germany.

Hitler capitalized upon that fear. He found a ready response in the German people, who were more afraid of communism than what he stood for. (jewishhistory.org)

Wow look at that last sentence…Hitler, rose to power because the people “were more afraid of communism than what he stood for.

Bonhoeffer knew that Christians were not meant to be controlled by fear and wrote, “When holy scripture speaks of Jesus, it proclaims that people are free from all human rules, from everything that pressures, burdens, or cause’s worry and torment of conscience…Discipleship is Joy.” 

So who was Bonhoeffer?

 He was a man that though he was born into a privileged lifestyle, did not allow the lure of comfort to define who he was. When the Nazi’s took power and demanded that every Pastor swear an allegiance to Hitler, most Protestant German pastors (out of fear) quickly did. Bonhoeffer, however, did not.

He was one of the founders of the Confessing Church. He swore allegiance to Jesus alone. He was not afraid to live for Christ. He was part of a plot to kill Hitler (weighing murder against the thousands of lives lost) and was captured and killed only a few weeks before the concentration camp was liberated. Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not allow fear to take the reins of his life. He reserved those for God alone.

Where does this leave us

The recent terrorism in the world today is prompting the rise of Politian’s who are consistently feeding into our fear. May we learn the lessons of history, before it is too late.

Fear should not make our decisions for us.

If you have been fearful, I urge you to bring it to God and ask Him to replace your fear with His peace and ask Him to guard your heart and mind.

Ask for His guidance alone on who to vote for.

Allow God full access and He will get you where you need to be.

One last thing

When a group of children were asked about love,  a six-year-old child had the best response;

If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate. – Nikka, 6

And a little child shall lead them…..

A word for someone

What your facing,

From your perspective it looks so very big.

A mountain sized problem that you can see no way of getting past.

You have been trying to push past it for so long that your energy is spent.

You think that giving up is your only option.

But God is saying stop looking outward and start looking up!

Change your perspective!

Stop looking at your problem and start looking at your God.

Hand him your problem and climb into His arms and watch as he flicks aside that mountain  as if it was a pebble.

Or watch as he gives you the strength and energy to climb it with ease.

Remember this life of Faith requires us to TRUST God with all that we are.

He is all we need!

 

 

You are amazing

You are a miracle!

It is amazing how you were formed in your mothers womb totally without any human hands.

You were amazing from birth.

Live in light of that!

Live in light of the fact that you were created and loved deeply by the One who hung the stars and aligned the planets.

Let every day of your life be a testament to the awesomeness that is you.

Shine your light! Live out loud! 

Don’t let the cares of this world carry away your joy.

The world needs to see it.

So stir up your joy (sing a song loudly, dance with beat in your own head, etc) and pass it on.

Have an awesome day!!!!