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Hope

Hope

Life has a way of ripping the in-control rug right out from under us. When mental illness (MI) hits our child, we’re thrust into survival mode. Dreary routines give way to psychiatrist appointments. Laundry could easily be tackled. But emotions must first be healed. Priorities shift. Our kid’s happiness, clarity of thought, and safety become the only things that matter.

A complicated life also simplifies life. We moms, who are used to taking care of everything and everyone, suddenly focus on one person: our vulnerable child.

In a simplified life, short devotionals are in order. So I’ve decided to do several messages based on one-word reflections. The word for this one is hope.

Hopeful children express delightful anticipation. “I can’t wait for our family’s movie night!”

But nothing kills bright expectancy like countless disappointments. Dashed hopes create fragile trust.

“I hope my father will come to my performance tonight. He promised he’d be there. But things always happen to make him break his promises. I doubt he’ll come.”

Many well-meaning parents have to disappoint their kids when life interrupts plans. Things happen that are unpreventable, unavoidable, and unexpected. Love doesn’t let their child down. Limited power does. We humans can’t know the future, let alone control it.

But the One who holds our future can control it. And He won’t let us down. Hebrews 6:19-20 assure us, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”

As long as we’re anchored to Christ, we can find peace in the midst of a storm, calmness in the midst of sorrow.

Many of our kids with MI face an uncertain future. Nothing seems sure except the promises of God. As we cling to Christ, we’re fastened to the throne of God. With access to His power, love, comfort, and peace.

MI storms can set our souls adrift. Tornados of emotions rip through our heart as we helplessly watch our child suffer. When symptoms resurface we feel like we’re heading down rapids toward a waterfall. But we have an anchor for our soul.

God is our hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).”

 With Him, we can overflow with hope!

When our child with MI is a prodigal, we can entrust him in the hands of our ever-present Father.

When our child needs healing, we can place her in the hands of the Great Physician.

When our child is emotionally shattered, we can seek His perfect peace.

When we need direction, we can lean on His promises for wisdom and provision.

When MI causes division between loved ones, Christ our Mediator can restore relationships.

God reminds us to put our hope in Him.

Jeremiah 14:22 tells us, “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.”

The Psalmist reminded himself to put his hope in God.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5).”

Isaiah 40:31 tells us the benefits of putting our hope in the Lord. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

1 Timothy 6:17 urges even the rich to put their hope in God. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”

Are you wondering, “How can I go on?”

If you think you can’t take it anymore, 1 Timothy 4:10 reminds you God is real and alive. He’ll help you hang on.

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

Colossians 1:27 reminds those who are saved have Christ’s indwelling power. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

The Psalmist reminds you that God is faithful.

“But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish (Psalm 9:18).”

So, like Paul, we can, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).”

 

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Greater Rejoicing at Christmas BECAUSE of Suffering

manger.luke2.14

Little did we know back then that the Christmas story would hold the key to our son’s hope. When Chris was five years old he recited Luke 2:8-14 in church. Listen to his tiny voice declaring ‘peace to His people on earth.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yoVGaIaE8k

In December 1996 on another Christmas, eleven years later, Chris unraveled. Psychosis clouded his thinking and ravaged his emotions. He needed peace. We all needed peace.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines peace as, “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

Can there be peace in the context of mental illness (MI)? Can we hope for peace? Back in 1997 we experienced God’s peace in the midst of our sorrow.

Surely we have trouble. But we can rejoice: in Him we find peace.

John 16:33 reminds us that Christ’s birth brought peace. Jesus assured his followers, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Suffering has a way of illuminating joy. How is that possible? Think about it. Serious struggles in life clarify priorities. Small annoyances no longer bother us. Dark trials deepen our faith. Send us to our knees. That’s when we really experience God’s faithfulness, power, and love. The result: inner joy.

What are you hoping for this Christmas? That the calendar days will fly by and the holiday will pass quickly? That you’ll have an incident-free family celebration?

Maybe you’re yearning for the less-complicated life of the past—before MI struck your child.

Do you wonder how you can celebrate with a heavy heart? Are you afraid Christmas lights will mock your dark emotions?

Perhaps what we all need is peace. That’s precisely why we can embrace Christmas more than others who seemingly lead a carefree life. The message of the season is peace. But we know life is filled with stress and trouble. We can count on them: trials. Sooner or later we’ll find ourselves enduring a trial.

Paul accepted that fact and told the Thessalonians, “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3).”

Where can we find hope knowing that we’re bound to experience trials? Raising a child with MI can test our faith. How can we hold onto our belief in a loving, living God?

When things got tough for Paul, the unshakable faith of others kept him strong.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith (1 Thessalonians 3:7).”

We’re like Paul. We see others going through a similar trial raising a child with MI. Their enduring faith encourages us. With bolstered faith we say, “If they can keep the faith during their ordeal, so can I.” Their testimony renews our trust in God. With greater assurance we declare, “If they can keep their eyes fixed on Jesus, so can I.”

In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he encouraged them with this reminder:

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).”

We all share in that ‘eternal encouragement.’ I don’t know about you, but I need endless encouragement. Reassurances from above that will settle my heart. And give me His peace.

The radio has already started playing Christmas songs. I love the familiar carols that remind me of His peace. Songs like these:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

“Hark! the herald angels sing

‘Glory to the newborn King

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!’”

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

“It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth

With news of joy foretold,

“‘Peace on the earth, good will to men

From heaven’s all gracious King.’”

Give yourself permission to unwrap your Christmas present from God early. Open up Isaiah 9:6. You’ll find that blessed Gift, God’s Son, the Prince of Peace. Along with God’s Gift comes perfect peace. You’ll find the promise of that peace wrapped lovingly in Philippians 4:7.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That’s one re-gifting we can all celebrate! It’s for everyone!!!

 

You can be an extreme survivor.

football.mercy.best

Can an enemy be more than dead? Are there degrees to an army being slaughtered? None of my history books made distinctions between defeated foes: slightly destroyed soldiers VS completely demolished warriors. Victory is victory. So what’s the meaning of Romans 8:37?

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Sounds like the kind of victory I’d love to have. Is it possible to be more than a conqueror of a trial? How ‘bout the trial of raising a child with mental illness (MI)?

The phrase, “more than conquerors” reminds me of how my second graders would write. Their limited vocabulary didn’t stop them from expressing emotion. If they wanted to convey extreme excitement, they simply used repetition.

“We had a very, very, very, VERY, good time!” The level of enjoyment dictated how many ‘verys’ were used.

Adults use much more sophisticated language. We use superlatives.

Some superlatives can be offensive. Like an obsolete term assigned to individuals with an intellectual disability. People with cognitive limitations used to fall into one of three categories: mildly mentally retarded, moderately mentally retarded, or severely and profoundly mentally retarded. It’s now unacceptable to refer to a person as someone who is severely and profoundly mentally retarded.

I once had a conversation with Chris about words used to describe children with disabilities. He was interested in hearing what I’d be teaching my college students in an upcoming Foundations of Special Education class.

“We’ll be discussing our nation’s history of special education. We usually have a lively discussion about labels which are used to describe children,” I explained. “It seems there’s a label for every exceptionality except gifted.”

“I’m severely gifted,” Chris playfully replied.

As always, I enjoyed his quick wit. His humorous oxymoron lightened the conversation.

It’s difficult for me to understand the phrase “more than conquerors.” However, I could relate to the phrase if it was “partial conqueror.” Having a son with MI fills my life with alternating victories. One day is peaceful—a delightful conquest. The next day is filled with challenges and I’m filled with despair—a surrender and retreat.  Spiritual territory is regained the following day as I rely on God to help me respond. I give an gentle answer in return for unprovoked anger—another battle won.  Maybe I’m more like a “sputtering conqueror” … relying fully on God one day, then not even seeking Him the next.

I’d love to believe I’m more than a conqueror. My problem is that I lose sight of the Victor. “We are more than conquerors THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US.” During uncertainty I tend to forget the battle’s already been won.

Athletes know when the battle’s been won. Football players realize there’s no need to ravage an inferior team. When the score reflects the opposition has no chance of winning, they precipitate the ending. The mercy rule specifies that the clock should keep running (except for limited reasons).  The intention is to put an end to the misery as soon as possible.

God has His mercy rule in place. Eternity’s clock is ticking. There will be an end to our misery here on earth. In the meantime Romans 8:37 assures us that, “We are more than conquerors.”

Yes, the battle has already been won. God has gained an overwhelming victory. Believers can rest in His promise and presence. We’ve been promised eternal life with Him in heaven. And if that’s not enough, we have His presence in the form of the Holy Spirit. His indwelling power helps us with our earthly trials.

When things get tough with MI, we wonder if God has left us. We ask, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword (Romans 8:35)?”

Romans 8:38-39 assures us no hardship—not even MI—will separate us from His love.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The mention of angels and demons reminds us there’s a spiritual battle being waged. God’s angels protect His people. Sometimes God sends a heavenly messenger. Like the one sent to Daniel. Here’s how Daniel described the divine interaction:

“Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. ‘Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,’ he said. ‘Peace! Be strong now; be strong.’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength (Daniel 10:18-19).’”

How did Daniel qualify for that celestial encounter? The messenger explained what Daniel had done to earn the honor.

“Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them (Daniel 10:12).”

Heavenly Father,

I come before You humbly. I’m determined to fully understand Your victory. When all around looks dismal or when things seem out of control, help me remember Who’s fighting the battle. As Your messenger did for Daniel, strengthen me and give me Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The more we reflect on God’s love and power, the more we find rest in Him. How can we even explain such love? By using surperlatives. Like Chris Tomlin did in his song ‘Indescribable.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWdM4B1HEyI

 

Signs of Joy

Chris.Vic.Christmas  Chris.waving

What’s my remote tail wager? My smile. When our cocker spaniel was alive I’d flash a full-teeth smile in his direction. Allegro’s tail would instantly wag like fast-speed windshield wipers. Then I’d switch to a tragedy-mask sad face. He’d match my expression by freezing his tail and dropping his head. I’d alternate the faces and get the same mirrored emotion from my pet. Happy face—wagging tail…Sad face—motionless tail.

My furry family member appeared to be able to detect my mood. But detecting a person’s mood isn’t so simple. A cheerful expression doesn’t always mean someone’s happy. Many smiles conceal the opposite emotion. Like Sunday church smiles intended to hide heartaches. Or professional smiles worn to impress. Or actor’s smiles used to entertain.

I never knew how much I missed Chris’s smile until a friend asked me a simple question.

“What makes Chris smile?” she asked.

Her words released a flood of tears. My emotional dam had been holding them back.

“I’ve stopped hoping to see him smile,” I responded, choking back tears.

A toddler’s smile can be trusted. Carefree joy flashes across their face as they delight in new experiences.

As a toddler Chris seemed to smile all the time.

“He seems like such a happy baby,” strangers would observe as they offered back a beaming grin. His contagious smile would light up their faces.

That was before bullying jolted the joy right out of him. Fellow classmates taunted him. Chris’s attention deficit hyperactive (ADHD) made him an easy target. Difficult peer interactions reduced the frequency of Chris’s smiles.

When mental illness (MI) hit Chris’s facial expression appeared lifeless. No smile. No curve to his mouth. Just a flat appearance. The sparkle in his eye was replaced with a dark, dead stare. Nowadays it’s rare to see him with a genuine smile. His occasional smiles look a bit strained. Like the Kodak moment kind of poses.

Mental illness (MI) can wipe away any pretense of happiness. Facial expressions can be windows into the soul. Especially when a person has MI. The pain is so great it’s reflected on the face. The mother longs to see signs of joy in the face of her child. How long can a mom endure seeing signs of turmoil, depression, or anxiety?

Can we find any comfort from the Bible? What can we learn from scripture? Proverbs tells us what we know. “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:13).”

We know MI can crush our child’s spirit. So the cry of our heart is for God to create in our child a happy heart. A clear-thinking mind. A peaceful spirit.

The Bible has much more to say about countenance than about smiles. That’s because smiles display superficial happiness. Genuine joy comes from deep within. It’s all about the heart.

King Artaxerxes understood that Nehemiah’s demeanor reflected his inner sorrow and said, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart (Nehemiah 2:2).”

The good news is that God can change hearts. He can do what we can’t.

What can we do? Proverbs 12:25 encourages us to speak kind words to our kids. We know they make a difference. That’s some comfort.

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up (Proverbs 12:25).”

We can also share Truth with our children, trusting that His Word will not return void. Here are just a few verses of peace, joy, and hope.

He’s promised peace:

“For he himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).”

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you (2 Thessalonians 3:16).”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).”

He restores joy:

“He fills your hearts with joy (Acts 14:17).”

He gives hope:

“You are my hope in the day of doom (Jeremiah 17:17).”

Dear Father, use these verses to comfort and heal our children.

Heads up!

Violin.down  Violin.Up

“Heads up!” What happens if you don’t heed that warning? You take your chances. A ball may be rocketing right toward your face! Athletes need to remain attentive.

Keen attention is required for students. Some demonstrate it and some don’t. Those who don’t pay attention in class risk failing tests. To help distractible students, I seated them beside classmates with extraordinary powers of concentration. The children with tremendous focus provided good examples. The inattentive students learned to follow the lead of their neighbor.

How can an eight year old demonstrate consistent focus? Maybe it’s because he gets lost of practice looking up. His small stature requires tilting the head to look at those in authority. The vast difference in size reminds the youngster of the adult’s greater power.

That gives us a picture of what we can do. Tilt our heads to the heavens toward the One Who has great power. Mental illness (MI) can loom so large in our lives. What if we looked up to God more often? Would our perspective change?

Photography offers a symbol of a transformed viewpoint. My new passion is snapping pictures from the ground. Looking up reveals surprises. Things appear much larger and more beautiful. Like the two pictures of the violin. I took several photos so we could advertise it on Craig’s List. Looking down, I captured a beautifully-crafted instrument in a humdrum context. The picture I took looking up made me smile. Surrounded by the sky, the violin became part of God’s creation.

Likewise, we can view our journey with God’s plan as the backdrop. With that perspective, MI shrinks in its size and power over us. It becomes just part of God’s canvas for our lives.

Come with me as I usher you into God’s Museum of Sovereignty. Stroll with me as we pass by paintings on the walls. Each one depicts a different life. We arrive at the portrait of your life. Pause and study the Artist’s work. At first glance, swirls of dark colors depict turmoil. Linger a bit and let the divine details draw you in. Search for the significance behind each stroke.

Behind the shadows of your trial, you see splashes of His light illuminating your path. Suddenly you spot the beauty of His faithfulness. As you peer closer, you detect glimpses of His purpose. You contemplate the Artist’s meaning behind the characters and scenes.

Trace the stream of your teardrops. They flow down the Mountain of Comfort and dissolve into the Pool of Insight. His power and love become as crystal clear as the water. Gratitude fills your heart. And you smile.

When MI becomes so complicated and you don’t know where to turn, remember the advice: heads up!

Close your eyes and see the violin surrounded by endless sky. Imagine that the violin represents your life. Think of the sky as God’s abundant hope. His endless peace envelopes your life. With eyes still closed, reflect on the sculpture He’s forming in you. He who begun the good work has promised to be faithful to complete it.

We often begin our day praying for no problems. Hoping our day will be perfect. Rather than anticipating His perfection in the midst of trials.

Without a heavenly perspective, MI can certainly hammer us until we hang our head low in hopelessness. The Psalmist experienced such despair. He gave us the perfect example of self-talk in Psalm 42:5 & 11, Psalm 43:5. We can join him by saying, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

There it is. The ‘heads up’ we need. Look up to One Who is bigger than any of our problems.

Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to look up in our journey.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Reflect on God. He is above all things and thinks of you, above all else. Let Michael W. Smith’s song ‘Above All’ bless you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjYiEyu8Si8

All I Want for Christmas

Manger

Is Christmas a time of drowning for you? Not in debt, but in the quicksand of life with mental illness (MI). You may be thinking, “All I want for Christmas is that it will quickly end.”

Christmas lights, gifts, and baking can be reminders of times before your child had MI. The Hallmark TV channel has already begun airing Christmas movies. Plots which contain scenes of Norman Rockwell families. None seem to show how to celebrate the season in the context of MI. Stores have started selling Christmas decorations. None that can silence sadness.

It can feel like life is passing us by. We tend to believe everyone else lives ‘normal’ lives (whatever that means). Life appears to be so easy for others. People don’t know how complicated life is for us—too complicated to participate in favorite holiday traditions.

Oh, how we yearn to feel the joy of Christ’s coming to earth as a babe!

Chapter nine in the book of Matthew tells us about a lady who got caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christ’s visit to her town. Many probably didn’t even notice her. She was the one who endured a bleeding disease for twelve years. No one knew the courage it took for her to fight her way through the mob of people just to get to Jesus. Surely people stepped on her foot, accidentally jabbed her arm, or knocked her down. But she persevered. She needed a Healer. She sought a Lifesaver to rescue her from drowning in the loneliness and isolation of her disease.

Jesus felt His power go from Him. He noticed her and healed her.

Is there a way for us to celebrate Christmas while we deal with MI? Can we view the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season in a new way? A way that will lift our spirits? Can that lady inspire us to say, “All I want for Christmas is Jesus.”

The message of Christ’s birth is sweeping through our towns. We can face the mob scenes just like that lady. A woman who suffered adversity for many years knew how to keep her focus on Christ. Jesus entered her world and she simply wanted to touch the hem of his garment.

We share similarities with the lady in Matthew 9:20-22.

  • She endured a disease which caused her to hide herself. We often hide ourselves in shame.
  • Her disease weakened her and most likely kept her in anguish. We, too, are tired and worn out by MI. In anguish we watch our child with MI deal with life.
  • Surely, she spent all her money on cures – to no avail. We often spend lots of money on psychiatric care for our fragile or tormented child. And wait for restored joy and clarity of thought.
  • She touched Christ’s garment by faith and in secret. We approach Christ by faith and in secret.
  • She needed Christ’s comfort. We, too, seek His comfort—for those in our family who are troubled.
  • Christ called her daughter, speaking tenderly to her. Christ calls all believing women His daughters. We hear Him speak to us tenderly from His Word.
  • Christ honored the faith of that humble woman. He honors our humble faith.
  • Society shut her out, calling her unclean. But that didn’t shut her out from approaching Christ. Society shuts out those who struggle with MI. But that doesn’t stop us from entering into Christ’s presence. In prayer we bring our concerns, hopes, and requests to Jesus.
  • Jesus entered her world. Christ left heaven to enter our world. He made a way for us to get to heaven. He’s acquainted with all suffering. Those are Truths worth rejoicing!

Outdoor Christmas lights don’t have to mock our struggles. They can be beautiful reminders of what we celebrate: Jesus’ presence in our lives.

Emanuel, God with us, is more than a Christmas greeting on a card. It’s a Truth we cling to. We rely on the promise of His presence. He is with us every minute, every day, all year long. Providing renewed hope, perfect peace, heavenly wisdom, and constant protection.

Reflect on the fact that Jesus left heaven for YOU as you listen to O Holy Night sung by Josh Groban:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zh-yR0pbmU

Welcome Distractions

Bentlight  rainbowDevotions

Am I the only one who ever wanted to burn highlighters? After countless hours of reading textbooks in college, I had an urge to destroy highlighters. They reminded me of my need to analyze technical passages of text. Of comprehension earned after rereading a paragraph several times.

My grueling study paid off. Graduation day came. No more required reading. I could choose which books to read. Leisure reading became a passion. Especially the Bible and devotional books.

One morning as I read my devotional book, a rainbow spread across the page. As if God highlighted it with His multi-colored light. It came from the crystal I placed near my window. Often it splashed a kaleidoscope of colors in my kitchen each morning. On the walls, on the floor, on the counter…Never before did it light up the page of my book.

It got my attention. I reflected on the welcome distraction. Thanks to Isaac Newton, we know that the spectrum of colors always exists in white light. A prism simply separates the colors to reveal their beauty.

It’s the same way with leaves. Some colors are hidden. In the fall, conditions are just right for the chlorophyll (green color) to give the other colors a turn. Less light leads to less chlorophyll. Carotenoids then have their chance to reveal yellow, orange, and brown—colors that were there all along, but masked by the chlorophyll. Anthocyanins can be produced so some leaves can display red.

Hidden beauty, always there.

The sudden flash of colors took my breath away. I gasped as God reminded me, “My beauty is all around…always there. I’m always with you.”

Life raising a child with mental illness (MI) can seem very dark at times. Thankfully, God draws back the veil so we can get a peek of His exquisite Creation…evidence of His power and love.

Moses needed God to show him the way. He spoke directly to God asking Him, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you (Exodus 33:13).”

Don’t we all seek to know God more? Don’t we hope to find favor with God?

God assured Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest (Exodus 33:14).”

Wouldn’t we love to have that assurance? That God’s presence WILL go with us. And He will give us rest. Happily, we do share that assurance. Though our journey seems lonely, we’re not alone. He’s with us. Though our journey is exhausting (mentally, emotionally, physically), we have access to His rest.

Although God spoke directly to Moses, Moses needed tangible evidence of God’s presence. He requested, “Please show me Your glory (Exodus 33:15).”

Gotta love Moses for his honesty. Reminds me of a young child asking, “How will I know you’re in the audience?”

Although Moses wasn’t able to see God’s face, God allowed him to catch a glimpse of His back (Exodus 33:20-23).

Moses’ example emboldens us to ask God for evidence of His presence. In your dark place, ask God to reveal Himself. To give you tangible evidence He’s walking with you. So you know you’re not alone. Then watch for it.

The rainbow lightshow which splashed across my devotional book, though mesmerizing, can’t compare to the light we’ll see someday in heaven. Where there will be an end to darkness.

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned (Matthew 4:16).”

Listen to Light of the World  (Tim Hughes) and reflect on His amazing love for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa9FIUHKIWQ