Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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Trust In The Lord No Matter What

(Written as a letter to one of my children, but shared now as a part of my own reflections in life, in hopes that it might be of some encouragement to others, as well as my son.)

Dear Shawn,

The other day I read statements made by Nathaniel and you, which gave me food for thought. He had said that he felt blessed because his house was still standing after a storm. You had responded with a question something like, "Would you have felt damned by God if it had been destroyed by the storm?" I later wondered what your own answer to such a question may have been.

Sunday I heard a really good sermon by James Merrit on what it means to really trust in the Lord no matter what one's situation or circumstances may be in life. As a result, I not only began to reflect back upon the short discourse between you and Nathaniel, but also back upon a time when I believe God once spoke one of His truths to me. Having shared this with you before, I seek to share it with you once again.

Coming home from work one day when you were about five or six, I reached out to open the door. Before I could turn the door knob, God spoke to my heart saying, "If you were to loose this house and everything in it, God would still be God.” Though I did not understand the full significance of what He said, I remember simply thinking, “Okay God, I don’t understand why you are saying this to me, but I believe it and accept it as truth because you have spoken it.”

Over the years to come, He would remind me of what He had said, and little by little, He continues to help me understand its significance in my life, and why He would impart that seed of His truth to me in such a personal way. All of us are going to have good and bad times in our lives that may cause us to stop and ponder why God allows those hurtful things to happen. I am learning the truth of how God is eternal and therefore His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. I don’t believe God causes bad things to happen to us. Instead, I have come to understand that we live in a corrupt and decaying world where evil exists. In this world, when it rains, the rain lands on both the believer and the unbeliever alike. The difference is found neither in the circumstances caused by the storms of life, nor in the resulting possible destruction, but in our response to the One who is in control of it all. We can either choose to walk in the fear of the storm, curse God for the destruction and wallow in doubt and despair, or we can choose to trust God and praise Him no matter what. It’s having this assurance that God is not defined or limited by our circumstances or situations. It’s having the confidence that God is in control, and He can use even the bad things that happen to draw us closer to Him for His purposes to be accomplished and fulfilled in our lives. It’s the gentle, but ever persistent, working of the Holy Spirit as He reveals to each of us the loving and tender mercies of our Savior as He remains closer than a friend, holding our hands to guide us through each and every struggle in life.

I can’t sell Jesus to anyone, but I can tell you that His saving power is free to anyone who seeks Him. I can’t force anyone to believe or trust in Him, but I can testify about what He has done and continues to do in my life. I can say with absolute confidence that I know that I am His and He is mine, not out of arrogance, self-righteousness or my own strength, but out of faith in His strength and love. Witnessing to others about what Jesus has done in my life is a natural outpouring that comes from wanting others to know that what He has done for me, He will gladly do for others. It’s not that I am special but that He is special.

I can tell you that when my Daddy lashed out with hurtful words just before I was leaving to join your Daddy in Germany, it was God that revealed to me that the angry words were really words of frustration from a loving Daddy who did not know how to express his words of love and concern at no longer being able to be there to control what may or may not happen to me in a land so far away.

When I gave birth to Candace, your baby sister having so many severe birth defects that she could not live more than an hour; I could have easily blamed God and become bitter with grief. But Jesus was there to lift that burden, until He knew I was strong enough to go through the natural process of grieving for her. He gave me the eternal vision of her healed, healthy, and happy in His loving and caring arms. He gave me the “spirit of praise” to replace the “spirit of heaviness.”

Against the advice of doctors, Daddy and I chose to have another baby and we were blessed with you. Even before I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy, God gave the assurance that you were fine, and I was not to worry. I can honestly say that God’s assurance of His care for you was so strong that I never doubted Him for one moment.

There have been times when I wondered “Where are you Lord, and why are you allowing this to happen? Upon one of these occasions, God used a friend to remind me that God was there and doing His work. I had to learn to be patient, to wait upon the Lord, and trust in Him even when I could not see evidence that He was still in control. With words of wisdom, I was granted the peace that passes understanding that only comes from the Lord. Those words spoken by a friend were: “God is there in the midst of this. You have to remember that He knows the beginning from the end, and you just have to realize that you can’t see it for you are yet in the middle of the tunnel.” Once again, in His own timing God did work things out for the best, and far better than I could have imagined. Just because we don’t think the answer is coming fast enough, or He doesn’t answer us with the outcome that we had hoped for, doesn’t mean that He doesn’t hear our pleas. These are but a few times that God has used to help me learn to trust in Him, and believe that He will work things out for my good. God is not a respecter of persons. As the song goes, “What He’s done for others, He will do for you.”

I saw a man on TV yesterday right after his home had been wiped out by a tornado. The reporter interviewing him could not believe how upbeat the man was even after such a devastating event. The man remarked that he was a Christian and could not be depressed about the loss of something that could be replaced when the Lord had spared his life. That spoke to my heart. My further thoughts were that even if the event had taken his life, he and his loved ones could still rejoice because of God’s promise to every believer that “to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.” Who could have any lasting sorrow about going home to be with the Lord? When we truly trust in Him as Savior and Lord, He gives us that focus on eternity for He is an eternal God. The things of this world are but temporary and merely act as a training ground to give us the opportunity to choose whether we are going to believe in Him and accept his plan for our salvation, or choose to go our own way independent of Him.

Whatever my personal circumstances may be, they are but a speck in time when compared to the time of eternity. No matter what trials or hard times I may face, I can never say that they are as great as or greater than what Jesus suffered for me. He gave up the glories of Heaven to come down here to our corrupt world. He knew what He was going to have to suffer, and yet he did it anyway just because He loved us so much. Even though He realized that He was going to be persecuted, crucified, and even rejected by some, He prayed to His Father, “not my will but thine be done.” He showed us what it means to really trust in our heavenly Father. Though we may suffer through some pretty bad times during our earthly lives, they dim and vanish into nothingness when compared to what marvelous wonders God has prepared for us in Heaven.

Though your question, “Would you feel damned if your house had been destroyed by the storm?”,was not directed to me, it was used to initiate a search into what my own response to the question would be. As time goes on, I pray that I may live out my life in such a way that produces evidence that, by God’s mercy and grace, demonstrates a life lived by trusting in God no matter what the circumstances. May God grant me His forgiveness for the many times that I have failed to do so. Because of Jesus, my hope is not based on the benefits, happiness, or success that I may or may not experience in this life. Those things are all temporary and vanish into thin air with the last breathe of my life on Earth. Instead, by the grace of God, my eternal hope and joy is not in what the world gives, but rather is rooted and grounded in the hope and joy that can only come from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May I always give praise, honor, and glory to God for He alone, and not myself, is worthy of praise.

My son, may this letter be used by the Lord, to speak directly to your heart and cause you to hunger and thirst after Him. May His peace and love dwell in you richly.

I Love You,
Your Mommy

I found the following scripture that confirmed again for me what God was trying to tell me when he said,
“If you loose this house and all that is in it, God will still be God”:

Habakkuk 3: 17-19

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls;” (Boy! These are all pretty bad circumstances aren’t they? Yet look at what he says in the very next two verses.)

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ (deer’s) feet, and He will make me to walk upon my high places.”

The following is a commentary in my Bible expounding on the above scriptures:

“Crop failure and the death of flocks would devastate Judah. But Hubakkuk affirmed that even in times of starvation, he would still rejoice in the Lord. Hubakkuk’s feelings were not controlled by the events around him but by faith in God’s ability to give him strength. When nothing makes sense, and when troubles seem more than you can bear, remember that God gives strength. Take your eyes off your difficulties and look to God.
God will give his followers surefooted confidence through difficult times. At the proper time, God will bring about His justice and completely rid the world of evil. In the meantime, God’s people need to live in the strength of His Spirit, confident in His ultimate victory over evil.
We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. But we can be assured that He is God and will do what is right. Knowing this brings us confidence and hope in a confusing world.”

“To God be the glory, great things He has done!!!”

Ginger Rahn


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