Tag Archive | God’s presence

Discouraged?

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Colonial Williamsburg

Ever notice that fears feed discouragement? You’re afraid of what might happen to your child with mental illness (MI) and your worrying grows. The problems inflate to a size too massive to handle.

I can’t begin to figure it out. What if school problems get worse? What if his new medication doesn’t work? What if our insurance won’t cover the new medication? What if we can’t find a better therapist? Giving up isn’t an option. Where can I go to escape this trial?

You’re not alone in wanting to escape. Take Elijah. He was so fearful that he felt completely isolated. He went into a cave. There he cried out, “‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.’” [1 Kings 19:10 (NKJV)]

The Lord met Elijah in his loneliness. He spoke to him in just a whisper.

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” [1 Kings 19:10-12 (NKJV)]

Listen to part of what God told him:

“‘Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” [1 Kings 19:18 (NKJV)]

Elijah had become so discouraged that he thought that he was the only person left who had not bowed to Baal. Boy was he wrong! A whopping seven thousand others in Israel had remained faithful to God.

Things aren’t as bad as they seem. God understands our despair. He has words to encourage our hearts. He’ll meet us in our loneliness and discouragement. Not in the wind, or an earthquake, or a fire. But in a still small voice. We just need to tune into God’s soft messages. But how do we do that?

The Lord gave me insight when our piano was being tuned.

A friend of ours came to our house to tune our piano. While he worked, I did my devotions. The piano tuning drew my attention away from the Bible. I wondered, How is he able to tune our piano by ear?

Then I realized he had developed his keen musical ear as a music teacher. The more time he spent listening to notes, the easier it was for him to discriminate between pitches.

My mind shifted back to my devotions, but then continued to wander again.

How can I develop a keen ear to hear God’s voice? Probably the same way. The more I listen to His words, the easier it will be for me to distinguish His voice from all the other noises in my head. But how can I hear God’s messages for me?

With the piano-tuning serenade in the background, God whispered to me. “Remain in My presence and you’ll hear My voice.”

Remain in His presence. That’ll help me get my heart tuned up. 

With deeper focus I searched for verses about being in God’s presence.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast”  (Psalm 139:7-10).

His presence never leaves us.

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Acts 2:28).

His presence fills us with joy.

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence” (1 John 3:19).

Our hearts can rest in His presence.

So next time I’m discouraged, I’ll rest in His presence and tune into God’s still small voice.

 

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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