I’ve been working too hard, and have gone over the edge. Have you ever done that?
The sun was already setting. I had to get outside. And it was as if God was there. The sun spread out its arms, soothing me. I followed it until it set.
Maybe I’ll start chasing sunsets every day. God is bigger than work.
Sometime I feel like that thief on the cross. “Jesus! Get me out of this mess! I’ve been hung out to dry! It wasn’t my fault, really.”
Jesus looks over from his cross. “You might not have noticed, but I am with you.”
“No!” I cry. “I don’t want you to stay with me. I want you to save me.”
Jesus tries to shift himself so that he can breathe. “You might not have noticed… I am!“
I figured life was about being serious, sensitive, and saintly. But I decided to ask God how he had made me. One word came back. Funny. I doubled up in laughter. I purposely stopped being funny at age fourteen. We were at a camp. My father was the director. One morning early, I ran his underclothes up the flagpole. I thought he would laugh. I got that one wrong, but I vowed never to be funny again… Funny what promises God asks us to break.
The facts of 2015 could stare us in the face. Broken dreams. Smashed hopes. Where was God? He could have changed those facts, he could have made things better… He didn’t. He had a deeper agenda. Faith. Can I trust him in 2016, even when hope seems futile? Can I believe him that my broken dreams are only the beginning, the seeds of an adventure with God?
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.