In ministry, I often hear so many stories from hurting people. There is a lot of pain in our world, but the encouraging thing for us is, that this world is not the end. We are promised a future and a hope!
In the midst of trials, so often the situation seems too big and we forget the promises the Lord has given us. Sometimes, it seems like there is never an end ahead or a light at the end of the road. We see how huge problems are and often, that makes God seem so small.
I ran into a girl while shopping the other day. As I was talking with her, she shared how she was at her wits end and ready to give up on everything. While she shared with me, she grew emotional. I could see so much hurt in her eyes. I sat and listened as she spoke. “I just don’t know why all these things are happening and I’ve tried praying and everything. Why am I not hearing from Him, Why isn’t he helping me”, she asked?
I have heard this so many times from believers all over as I have traveled lately. Even I have felt discouraged and distant from the Lord! I kept asking for wisdom and directions and just didn’t seem to be hearing anything nor seeing my situation change.
Discouragement is often difficult to move past. Team that, with trials and you have what seems to be a hopeless concoction. In hopelessness we tend to grow depressed and distance ourselves from others. It can be a sad situation. Often we run from God instead of running to Him. I believe that the enemy is working over time, trying to make the church feel defeated and in despair.
My friends and I were chatting about how often we respond to the question, “how are you”, with a, “I’m fine”, even when we are totally not fine. If we would take the time to sit and share how we really are, it would be so different. Many times we are in such a hurry that we don’t even wait for a response. Or we have so much going on we feel no one really cares to hear, so why share? Sometimes when I am talking to a kid and they give me the quick, “I’m ok”, I ask, “No how are you really doing”? Then I will get a real response.
I share this because as I was talking to this girl, I was that person in a hurry. When I saw the hurt in her eyes I was broken by my initial lack of concern. When I really listened to what she shared, I could relate to her feeling that the Lord was silent to her prayers because I had just been in that same place.
I am a firm believer that the Lord speaks often, but we are too busy to hear Him. A week ago I packed my car, a lunch, my Bible and some worship music and headed up to the mountains to be with Jesus. My friends tease me, knowing I try to do this at least once every two months. They always say, “Is He (Jesus) only hanging out in the mountains”? ☺haha
We know that this is not the only place Jesus hangs out, but for me, it is the one place where I have no cell service, I’m surrounded by His beauty and it is a perfect escape from the business of life. I wanted so badly for nothing more than to be in His presence and to hear from Him. I sat worshiping and praying and reading; it was extremely refreshing. I still didn’t sense Him speaking to me though. As I kept asking to hear His voice I felt I was to simply worship Him because He was worthy. In reading, I began to feel a peace come over me about everything and truly the freedom to lay it at the cross. It wasn’t till two days later that I truly began hearing from the Lord. It was in a moment of checking the surf and since there were no waves, I sat looking with a gaze into the deep blue ocean. In stillness, there the Lord began reminding me of His love and grace.
His love I read once is like the inescapable sea that washes up on the shore, it never runs dry. The Fathers loves is so great for you and me! If we would believe that in faith it would make surrendering our problems to him so much easier. I read this in a book the other day called Faith, by Chuck Smith. It resonated so much with me and it brought truth to how God must feel. It said,
“God has given us so many promises of how we can trust ourselves to Him. We can be free in all that He has created us to be. If we are living in constant fear and anxiety, our conduct cannot please God. I’ve often wondered how God looks upon a prayer like this: ‘Oh God, help me to believe you. Lord, please help me to believe your promises.’ Suppose I were to say to my grandson, ‘Son, on your sixteenth birthday, grandpa is going to give you a car.’ If he knew that I had bought cars for all the rest of my grandchildren on their sixteenth birthdays, how do you think he’d respond? I’m pretty sure he’d expect the same thing to probably happen for him too. So what would you think if, after I gave him this promise he replied, ‘Oh grandpa, help me to believe you. Help me to believe in your promise, grandpa!’ I would think, Son, why can’t you believe me? Have I given you a false promise before? Have I promised wild things and failed to come through? God has given us a Bible full of amazing promises and yet so often we say, ‘Oh God, please help me to believe you. Lord please, help me to believe you’ll do as you promised”.
To most of this sounds crazy! Of course we would trust we would get the car. We should also have that same trust in Christ and His promises. God is faithful and sovereign. He longs to be the one we trust completely and surrender all to Him. If we are not hearing from Him, we are called to wait on Him. If we are consumed with the situations of this life, we are called to lay it down at the cross. His Yoke is easy and His burden is light. Lay the heavy load down at His feet. Do not allow the enemy to cause defeat through depression or lies that God is not there. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He is a very present help in time of need. You are loved and cared for by the Most High God!!!
I was able to pray for and encourage this young girl and remind her that God is there. I challenged her to get in her Bible and remember His promises. I reminded her that He holds the universe in the palm of His hands and all she is going through is kept safe in those loving hands.
God has given us each other for prayer and support. As I spoke this weekend to a group of young girls I challenged them with these same words: Find someone in your life who you can be completely transparent with, someone who you can share everything with and that you can trust to hold you accountable. A person who spiritually has a firm foundation and will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. Who will even tell you when you are wrong; and you will be able receive that from them. A friend you can pray with and when they ask you, How you doing”, you can share honestly with them. Remember always Jesus is your friend too and longs to speak with you and you with Him!