Sunday, January 24, 2010

Never Forsaken

-- There is a doubting whisper swirling about during these uncertain days . . . have you heard it? People talk about it, wonder about it, don't know what to do about it . . . some even write blogs about it :) IT is the feeling that God is . . . nowhere to be found . . . distant . . . cold . . . ignoring our cries . . . indifferent to our suffering . . . somewhere else . . . too late . . . not coming . . . IT comes in many forms, but IT boils down to the sinking sensation that because we sometimes don't feel Him close, maybe He doesn't love us after all. IT. IS. A. LIE! But this well-crafted lie is so commonly FELT among skeptics and believers alike. We feel it when we're disappointed, when things don't go our way. We feel it when we're afraid, when we can't see around the bend. We feel it when stupid, earth-ish aggravations happen at absolutely the wrong time. We feel it when we ask Him for help and it appears to us that He hasn't and won't. We feel it when, like in Haiti, the unthinkable happens and we know He could have prevented it. We don't understand why He seems so quiet, and too often we are inclined to feel abandoned and alone. There is no wrong in wondering about the silent times--I know them well as my family is three years deep in the challenges that have followed my husband's job loss. There have been such big questions and times when it has felt like God was ignoring me. Usually I feel an easy flow of connectedness with God. My days and nights are a running conversation with Him, almost like on the phone when, even if no one is speaking, I can hear that the line is open and there is someone on the other end. However, there are other times when God gets quiet, so quiet that it FEELS like the call has been dropped and my voice is bouncing back to me, tinny and flat. The temptation is to think He hung up on me, but that is when I have to trust what I know, and NOT what I feel. There is a powerful dynamic that happens in our relationship with God when we want Him relentlessly, when we refuse to give up in the face of His silence. It reminds me of the famous night when Jacob wrestled with God in the form of a man, the pre-incarnate Christ. Jacob struggled hard with Him through the long night, unwilling to let go until God blessed Him. This kind of clinging to God in desperate, gritty determination may result, like it did for Jacob, in God "changing our name" (that's a good thing), because of our changed and deepened relationship with Him. As maddeningly silent as God can be, His is the silence of Presence, not the silence of absence. God isn't playing childish and insensitive games with the hearts of His children! Instead, He very much wants to create an insatiable hunger in us, a hunger for HIM. In the struggle, in the wrestling with God in prayer, despite His sometimes silence, let yourself discover how desperately you need Him! That realization is powerful stuff that will change you from the inside out. He will not be silent forever, and you will find that your fervent prayer has availed much.
"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10 NIV
No matter how alone you feel, God is closer than you know! How will you cling to Him this week? If you know someone who is feeling alone, this picture is available as a greeting card that might really be an encouragement.

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