When any one makes a promise, it is like signing a treaty. Friends promise to look out for their friends. Couples promise to forsake all others. Others promise to fulfill their commitments. But what happens if those treaties are broken?
We hurt. We cry out at the injustice. We feel so alone. But there is a God of compassion, who comforts us in all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:4) Let’s fall into HIS arms for comfort. He always keeps his promises.
How often I desire to see him, but “he wraps himself in light.” How often I want to know where he is going, but “he rides on the wings of the wind.” But… I can hear him, because “he makes winds his messengers.” (Psalm 104) The winds blow around me all the time. I can stop and listen. God speaks.
It was cold. Oak leaves lay frozen in a puddle, unable to escape. I stopped and grieved. That was exactly how I felt about something precious to me. It too had been captured.
Then a thought came. “Look up!” An oak tree overshadowed me. Another thought. “Don’t be sad. That oak tree will produce many more leaves! So can you!” Isaiah 61:3 says, “… provide for those who grieve in Zion… They will be called oaks of righteousness… for the display of his splendor.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you… For I am the Lord… your Savior… Do not be afraid.” (Isaiah 43:2-5)
Sometimes it seems like God isn’t there, and we have to cross the river alone. But he puts those stepping stones in the right places. He is with us, even when we can’t see him.
When God said, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places…” (Isaiah 45:3), it was a promise. A promise always implies hope. It implies that God is able to do what he said.
But what if God had not given that promise, it would have been absurd to expect him to fulfill it. Faith needs a promise. But faith also needs a promise keeper. In the Bible Abraham embraced God’s promises even though they seemed impossible. It says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope, believed,” (Romans 4:18). Abraham couldn’t see how things would work out. He accepted God’s promises in the dark. He trusted God in that darkness.
“I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3)
One of the treasures of darkness is faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1) When we walk in faith, we walk in darkness, so that we might know the One who calls us by name.
Thirty-five years ago I was told that I would feel fulfilled if I got married. I believed it and tried to make it happen. But I had to let go of that dream to find out that happiness is apart from marriage.
Now I am realizing another truth. I believed that the goal of every author is to get published. I worked towards it with all my heart. But again I was wrong. My goal is to write what God wants me to write, and if he desires for my books to get published, he will make it happen.
It is so easy to put our agendas first, and forget that God is above all. He is the one who satisfies our needs. “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.” (Psalm 37:3 NLT)
How valuable is a life? What is one willing to pay to save someone from death? Joseph went through slavery and imprisonment to save his family, seventy souls. But was it necessary to suffer so much for so long? Thirteen years of silent tears? God thought so. Jesus died to save the world.
Does God ask of us those same kinds of sacrifices, these deaths that hopefully lead to someone to Christ? Yes. I am going through one at the moment. It seems my memoir must go silent for a while. Is it worth it for the salvation of even one soul? God seems to think so.
Joseph was able to look back on his life. He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20) That isn’t an easy perspective, but it is the only one that brings life.
When God sent Moses to Pharaoh, he wanted Moses to ask Pharaoh a request. “Let my people go!” Why was that necessary? God doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do what he wants. But God respected Pharaoh’s role. He was giving Pharaoh the chance to do what was right.
Instead Pharaoh revealed his true heart, and God showed Moses the consequence. “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you – so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”(Exodus 11:9)
Just like for Pharaoh, God respects our role in life. But can we respect those around us? Can we let them thrive? God gives us a choice… and whichever way we chose, it decides which “wonders” we will see.
These past few months I have been writing the final draft of my memoir. The publisher likes it, but I have run into an external block. Could that be enough to stop my book?
Fear, hurt, and tears set in. How could this be happening? I ran to God in agony. But God didn’t fall into a panic with me. He threw his arms around me instead. He said, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, then you will be successful wherever you go…” (Joshua 1:7)
I can choose what to do in opposition… panic or trust. Dear God, help me trust.