Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finding Him

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. {isaiah 43:1-2}

There are circumstances in life that make it difficult to feel the presence of God.

I know this.

I see it when I look around at the world and see the sorrow and devastation. I hear it when I talk with a friend who is going through a difficult time, filled with doubt and apprehension as she wonders what, if anything, there is in the positive realm she can look for in the future. I know it when I hear the pain of a parent who is lost, feeling the effects of the battles their children face. I feel it when I ache for the company of my mom, and I saw it in her battle against the cancer that was ravaging her body.

How does one explain to those who are drowning in an ocean of fear, doubt and worry; those who are facing the flames of circumstances that are too hard, too much, too heavy and too brutal that God's hand can be recognized?

I expect a safe and easy life. I just do. So when I'm thrown a curveball, I want to abandon my faith and my God because I feel like He has abandoned me. And it makes me angry, this feeling of abandonment, because I don't think that I've done anything to deserve it.

Why me?
Why not me?
{rosanne cash, when asked about her brain surgery}

Life. It's just hard. And there are no guarantees on it being safe or easy, however much I may wish otherwise.

You will not drown in the difficulties, even though the water feels overwhelming, and the flames will not consume you, even though the heat seems unbearable. You will not be burned up.
{isaiah 43:2, in my own words}

But.

You might just be in the water. You might just be surrounded by flames on all sides.

That's the part that kind of sucks.

I make plans for my life. I like control and I like knowing what is coming. And when difficult circumstances arise, I'm the first one to fall apart, because my plan did not include this. Maybe things don't go according to plan, and maybe that's an okay thing, because it forces a trust in God that wouldn't come otherwise.

He made me individually. I'm not just another number to Him. There is no depersonalization. (I may have made that word up.) He created me and formed me, and he knows me. He knows my mind and the way I think and my emotions and the things I'm likely to get up in arms about. He gets me because he made me, and he has already paid the debt for my freedom--freedom from worry, doubt, and fear. And he continues to remind me over and over again in his word: do not be afraid.

If we look, we can see God in the regular, everyday rhythm of life.

Go look. And find him.

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