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Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
The alarm clicks on. It is 6:00am. “Lord,” I breathe out. “Thank you for this day. Please let me use it to your glory.” I continue prayers – I fret over my children, ask for safety and blessings, I cover my husband’s day, health for my sick friend, strength for my ailing parents; new life for this couple’s marriage, understanding for that young lady struggling…repentance for our crazy country. On and on. I repent. I rejoice…and when I am all spent with petitions and praise, I roll out of bed and stumble to the kitchen for Java. My hubby has been up for awhile, already into his second cup. I hear the jawing of the radio as I load creamer into my liquid blessing and am suddenly struck with the ugliness of the news reports in the next room.
College students missing, Ebola virus spreading, terrorists murdering, financial crisis everywhere, wars, wars and rumours of wars…ugh, I moan. My very spirit is assaulted. I exhale a painful sigh…
How can this be? I wonder silently. Our world is literally “going to hell in a hand basket,” as my mother would say. Everyday humanity digs itself deeper and deeper into unholiness. It feels hopeless…
“But God”. I heard a whisper in my mind.
I remembered sharing some concerns recently with a close friend of mine when she said that to me.
“But God”, she said – “He is sovereign. He knows all this. He allows it as well. It is allowed because it will work toward His purpose. You can’t hang on every horrible thing that happens and own it. Then you are playing God, and I am pretty sure that job is filled… ” she smirked.
“I know this,” I said – “but do I KNOW this”?
It is just too easy to shake my head and doubt that God could be in the middle of all this mayhem. But in the 21st century, nothing man does is new to Him. Remember before the flood? Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord[b] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Sounds like now, but God cleaned up the mess. Then look at Sodom. Genesis 18:20-21.“Then the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether[a] according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know’.
Abraham pleaded with God to save the lives of the “righteous” men. The Lord heard Abraham and saved Lot and his family only. BUT He cleaned up that mess then too.
There are multiple passages in the Old and New Testament that witness to God’s willingness to allow evil for a purpose and mercy for those who are His. Think of the Jews. THE most persecuted people in the history of the world…they were slaves. They lost Israel their inheritance….and yet God promised in Amos 9:14-15 that he would bring them back to it: “ ‘I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’” says the Lord your God.
In 1948, He kept that promise. Isaiah 66:8. 8 Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.
Who would ever have believed it? (Click here for more info).
But God did it. He is sovereign. He is working even today’s evil together for good. Hard to see I know.
One more example. Today I took a walk with Johanna, my friend with cancer. She was tired. But she did it. (so proud of her) 😉 That said, she told me something that struck me to the quick. She says through all of this, she wants to “Walk Worthy.”
She is facing hardship that most of us will never know – but she is concentrated less on her crisis than she is focusing on God’s will – to walk worthy through this and allow Him to use her in it. Wow. I am stunned to silence. He is walking with her. He is walking with each of us. Whether it is fear of the world’s crisis, our personal dramas’ (a.ka. minute-crisis) or REAL crisis, like my friend is facing.
It is easy to be drawn away from Him in the midst of all the darkness of our days. But God also shows Himself in goodness… in the love of a child, the provision of friends who step in when you are sick, the anonymous $ gift that comes just the right time when bills are piled high… He sometimes heals us, and sometimes not. But, He never leaves us and we can know – yes – really KNOW that when we fall, He will catch us. We may get some bumps and bruises on the way down, even some deep cuts. But in the end, as we pull ourselves up, we realize we are leaning on the Cross to help us stand. He is with us. Whether in this world or in eternity with Him, we who call Jesus Saviour cannot be snatched away. (John 10:28).
So yes, maybe this world is dancing on the wide road to destruction (another of my mom’s colloquialisms), but God has you (and me) in His hands. So be patient, be true and Let God. Just, Let IT GO.
Amen and Amen.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)