The virus is ‘back,’ infection rates rising all across the nation. New restrictions are being put in place for travel and even for our holiday celebrations! We are of many opinions about the wisdom and effectiveness of those rules, but there is one thing that most of share – we are just sick of it all! Who wouldn’t like to just go out to dinner without thinking about a mask or sitting in a half-empty room? Who wouldn’t like to experience a Sunday morning worship service complete with hugs, singing loud, and warm human interactions?
In a conversation yesterday I was asked, “Do you think life will ever be ‘normal’ again?” Who has not wondered that? I cannot predict what the future might look like, but I can say with complete assurance that I know Who holds me secure.
My prayers these days are filled with silence, focused on waiting, seeking to know anew that HE is God. I meditated on this passage today, one that invites us to ‘take refuge’ in Him. “So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God’s inner sanctuary.” (Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT)
One stormy night Peter stepped out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee at Jesus’ invitation. Remember that little story in Matthew’s Gospel? “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31, NIV)
When he consciously thought about the ‘impossibility’ of walking on water he started to sink. In that moment he had the presence of mind to say – “Lord, save me.” That is me in this time! Sometimes I whine my prayers confessing that I am weak, afraid, sick and tired of life as it is, that I am out of hope, spent, and done! But, then there is renewed realization that Jesus is Lord and my faith grows, allowing me to renew my reliance on the God who saves.
Years after his walk on the water, Peter, then a spiritual leader in the new Church, wrote these words of encouragement – “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. “ (1 Peter 4:12-13, The Message)
When life appears to be out of control, when questions outrun the answers, we might be tempted to conclude that God has turned His back on us. If we begin to believe that lie, we fall into a vulnerable place that is illustrated in the story of Eve in Eden. Satan approached Eve with the suggestion that God was not good, that He was withholding the best things in life from her. I have heard that same whisper. When I listen to that voice, things get bad. When I look up in prayer, waiting, listening for the Spirit, I find that He is able to save.
When we feel desperate we are good company. Jesus Himself, when suffering on the cross, screamed, “My God, why have You forsaken me.” The Resurrection life lay on the other side of painful death! So it is for us, my friend. The new life of faith and hope emerges from the death of Self. When we are conflicted, struggling, trying to find our way as a Christian, we make a mistake if we look for simple answers or quick resolutions. Faith asks us to pray for courage and to allow for tears that entreat Him to hold our hearts together even as we wait the reward of eternal life.
Whatever challenges you’re facing today, God is present. Walking with Jesus is little like Peter’s walk to Him on the water, impossible in the natural, but completely plausible when He holds our hand. Pray a simple prayer – “Lord, save me!” and let Him.
Here’s a word from the Word. Let the living Word fill your mind with His Presence as you meditate on the promise.
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food,
supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.”
(2 Corinthians 9:8-12, NKJV)
HIDE THOU ME
(A Southern Gospel song that carries a GREAT message)
Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my life in vain.
I’m tempted then to murmur,
And of my lot complain.
But when I think of Jesus,
And all He’s done for me,
Then I cry, “O Rock of Ages,
Hide Thou me.”
O Rock of Ages, hide Thou me.
No other refuge have I but Thee.
When life’s dark vale I wander,
Far, far from Thee.
Then I cry,”O Rock of Ages,
Hide Thou me.”
Sometimes it seems I dare not,
Go one step farther on.
And from my heart all courage
Has slipped away and gone.
But I remember Jesus,
And all His love for me.
Then I cry,”O Rock of Ages, Hide Thou me.”
Hide Thou Me
Harris, Thoro / Tolbert, L.R. © 1926. Renewed 1953 Singspiration Music
CCLI License No. 810055