Tag Archives: trust

Ever Be…or Not??

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Bethel’s worship song, “Ever Be” has been one of my favorites for over a year now. But have you ever had a moment while singing a favorite song where the words take on a whole new meaning? Almost as if you had never actually understood them before? Yeah, that happened to me this week.

Your love is devoted,
Like a ring of solid gold.
Like a vow that is tested.
Like a covenant of old.

Your love is enduring
Through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon
With mercy for today.

Faithful you have been.
And faithful you will be.
You pledge yourself to me.
And it’s why I sing,

Your praise will ever be on my lips,
Ever be on my lips.
Your praise will ever be on my lips,
Ever be on my lips.

We so often talk about the importance of trusting God and continuing to praise Him in the midst of life’s storms. And certainly we must trust and praise God when tough times come. He is a Comforter and Redeemer of all the hurt and pain and trials and tribulations of life. However, the irony is  when all hope is lost and everything appears to be falling apart, it is often easier to trust God and praise His name than at other times. In the darkest times we have nothing to cling to BUT God. It’s also easy to praise God when life is going well.

But what about the “in between” times? You know, those times in life when nothing truly tragic is happening, but life still isn’t going the way we want it to. You’re thrilled to have a safe, warm house, but it isn’t what you want. It needs new flooring and the bathroom needs remodeled and the kids just put another hole in the dry wall. You’re super proud of your family, but the kids just won’t stop arguing and 5th grade math has you feeling like an idiot. Everything is going really well at work. You have a job you really enjoy and find meaningful. But you really want that promotion and fear you’ll never get it.

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I think I spend a lot of time in this “in between”. I think we all do. And though my praise for God so often waivers, He remains faithful through these times just like any other. His love for me really is devoted and tested and enduring. He has indeed pledged Himself to me and He always keeps His promises. He is worthy of my praise all the time – when He’s all I have to cling to, when life is better than I could imagine, and when I’m in the “in between”. So the question is will I praise Him? Will His praise truly “ever be on my lips” even when I’m simply not getting my way? Will I continue to praise Him at all times, choosing to trust Him to work all things for my good, and be my great Redeemer. Will I acknowledge He is the Giver of all good gifts and my truly devoted loving Father? I long to! And the best news is God is as great in mercy and patience as He is in love and kindness. But our praise is literally music to His ears and He deserves it always. So may it truly ever be on our lips.

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God Speaks from the Storm

I had to sit down on the step outside my door. I just couldn’t ignore the awesome display of God’s greatness unfolding across the sky. Thunder constantly rolled in the background. Lightning danced from cloud to cloud as mesmerizing as any fireworks display. And the clouds visibly moved across the horizon like rafts floating down a swiftly moving river.

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In both good and bad ways, so much in this world can make us feel so small. Senseless shootings. Political unrest. Terrorism. Poverty. It all feels so overwhelming and makes us feel so powerless and out of control. Thunderstorms. Stars. Mountains. The ocean’s tide. Miracles. They all feel so overwhelming and make us feel so powerless and out of control.

You see, it is all about perspective. We can spend time anxious about all of the things that are out of our control. Or we can relax because we are not in control and be grateful we know the One who ultimately is.

Proverbs 19:1-4, 7 says,

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

    The skies display his craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;

    night after night they make him known.

They speak without a sound or word;

    their voice is never heard.[a]

Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,

    and their words to all the world.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,

    reviving the soul.

The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,

    making wise the simple.

The commandments of the Lord are right,

    bringing joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are clear,

    giving insight for living.

In times of doubt, anxiety, fear, confusion, anger, or grief, God’s creation proclaims His glory and reminds us He holds all things together. It is so tempting to wonder why this world is the way it is because so often it just doesn’t seem right. But God isn’t done redeeming yet. When Job questioned God about the suffering he had endured, God reminded Job that he was not there when God created the world and everything in it. For an entire chapter (Job 38), God reminds Job of how great God is and just how small Job is. The chapter starts with, “Who is this that questions me with such ignorant words?” I used to imagine God scolding Job and putting Job in His place. I used to read the first verse as the Biblical version of, “Who do you think you are!?” But I’ve grown to read it differently. Now I see God as a compassionate Father telling a beloved son that the way of the world is not his concern, that it is too big for him to understand, and what he must do instead of question is simply trust. Essentially, God is saying, “Job, I’ve got this. I know what I’m doing.”

Isaiah 55:6-9 says,

“Seek the Lord while you can find him.

    Call on him now while he is near.

Let the wicked change their ways

    and banish the very thought of doing wrong.

Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.

    Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so my ways are higher than your ways

    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

No, this world doesn’t always make sense. Yes there is unimaginable suffering happening everyday. People are capable of causing such great harm to one another. And yet, God holds it all together. He is slow to anger. He is patient. He is full of grace. He is not to blame for the evil. He is responsible for redeeming it. And that redemption process in ongoing. In order for our relationship with God to be real and true, He must allow us choice to either love or hate. And even that truth doesn’t answer or satisfy all of our “why” questions.

So as I sat staring at the light show in the sky and took in the power of the rolling thunder, I was reminded that I have an intimate relationship with the Creator of those things. He created the thunder and the lightning. And He created me. And though I don’t understand it, He wants to relate to me intimately and He loves me fiercely. His ways are so much higher than mine, and slowly I’m learning to trust His way and love Him back.

Choosing to Trust and Promising to Praise

A couple of nights ago, I went running in the rain. Now I am normally a VERY fair weather runner – it can’t be too hot or too cold and it certainly shouldn’t be raining! But this particular night, the cool rain and the quiet glistening streets just felt right somehow. I often spend my time running talking to God. Often it is simply asking God to make sure I make it back home! But this night, it was confession…I’ve been writing about confession and I suppose I have to live what I write…

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I told God just how sorry I was for not trusting Him wholeheartedly and completely. Have you ever been there? I say I trust God with my present and my future and believe He is with me in the waiting (click to read about God’s presence with us as we wait), but I don’t act like I really trust Him. Instead of enjoying the good gifts He’s given me each day, I fret and worry about whether or not He’ll come through tomorrow. I say He’s a good, good Father who gives incredible gifts, but I continue to doubt His provision for tomorrow despite experiencing His abundant blessings today.

And so with each step it wasn’t just sweat and rain that ran down my face…

But God is a good, good Father. He is patient. He is kind. And He is SO slow to anger. And for that I am even more grateful than I am for the tangible blessings He gives.

God is indeed with me in the waiting and as I wait, He longs for me to rest in the assurance of His constant and faithful provision. He has always come through in the past. He holds and knows my future. But if I continue to fret instead of demonstrate faith, I’ll miss the joys of His blessings in my present. So what’s my fear? Well, what if what I want for my future isn’t what God provides? Ugh, I hate even typing it. It just sounds so selfish, bratty even. But I know I’m not alone. Don’t we all doubt whether God’s plans really will be better or at least as good as what we have planned? And don’t we all know how silly it is to think God is somehow holding out!? And yet…

The truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes the path and plans God lays before us involve more suffering or heartache than we anticipated. And so we long to believe and trust and follow God faithfully wherever He leads, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We know God’s way is ultimately the best way, but we are also very aware of Jesus’ promise that in this world we will have trouble (and disappointment and sadness and hurt).

And so what are we to do? God in His graciousness knows how much we struggle to trust Him and promises to give us strength where we lack. And so we ask Him for that very thing…strength to trust. We ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to stay in the present where we are much more able to notice the blessings God has given, praise Him for providing, and delight in the joy they bring. We promise that in good times and bad, His praise will ever be on our lips because atmospheres shift when we praise. And so my prayer did just that – it moved from confession, to gratefulness, to promise, to asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to keep my promise: a promise to praise His name whether I get my way or not and a promise to choose to trust Him, because like choosing to run in the rain, ultimately trusting God and praising Him really is a choice.

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And so hold me accountable. May I stay present and grateful for the gifts of each and every day. Whether life seems to be going my way or not, may His praise ever be on my lips. And I pray that is true for you as well.