I confess that I can be a worrier. Having an anxiety disorder doesn't help matters either. I know scriptures like these like I know the back of my hand:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink...Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sew or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6: 25-27)
Much of what I worry about never comes to fruition. I know that worry is like rocking in a rocking chair - it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere. I get that.
But, what about when the really big tragedies of life hit? What about those? What about those things that "happen to other people" and you think secretly...there's no way I could come through that!
I have a couple of friends who have lost their spouses at a relatively young age. I can't even fathom losing the love of my life. If I even dare think about it, I imagine being curled up in the fetal position in bed and not going on with life.
A pastor told a story about how he once sat with a family who had lost their fourteen year old son in a hiking accident. (Also a scenario I can't even imagine). He recounts, "One of the things I remember most is the father, sitting on his front steps, crying, sobbing, wailing, mourning the loss of his son. For hours. There was nothing I could do, no words I could say to diminish his despair. I am certain that even today, almost ten years after that tragic event, he still feels the pain and sorrow of losing a child."
I believe that talking with others who have experienced similar losses can be a big help in moving through the pain. When someone has truly "walked your walk" they know your depth of pain. They are able to sympathize and cry with you. But I believe there is something else that helps even more...something I have witnessed and read about.
I believe they receive a special source of comfort and strength known to only a select few in the world. I believe that God makes available a depth of comfort to people who have experienced great loss in their life. Some will try to get through tragedies without it, but to those who ask, to those who believe in Christ, God will bring a depth of comfort that few will ever experience.
God promises, "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you." (John 14:18)
I believe that God makes good on His promises.
God also promises Grace in our time of need. God does not give us grace before we need it - grace in our imagining. No...
God only offers grace in the moment of need. I have experienced this first hand. Like comfort, God offers grace in the moment of our greatest need - not a minute before or after.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
His grace is supernatural. It transcends anything we have known or experienced. His grace is a sustaining power. In Psalm 55:22 God promises that if we cast our cares on the Lord, He will sustain us.
...He will never let the righteous be shaken (to slip and fall, to be upended, to be utterly cast down.)
It's as if God carries us in the arms of His power, as a nurse carries a child. He strengthens our spirits by His Holy Spirit so that we will be able to sustain the trial.
Underneath our greatest pain and despair are ALWAYS the everlasting arms.
In addition to Comfort and Grace, I also believe that God is in the business of Redemption.
I remember sitting in a group session at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) conference. A beautiful young lady was telling a story of how her mother, at a very young age, was violently raped. Anyone would be traumatized by what her mother endured.
She went on to say that out of shock, shame, and fear, her mother tried twice to abort this child that was conceived by hateful means. Her attempts were unsuccessful. For some reason, God wanted this child to be born.
Twenty some years after that child, who failed to be aborted, was born, she was standing before me on stage talking about her deep and devout faith in Jesus Christ. She talks to many groups, sharing her testimony. She also works with crisis pregnancy centers talking to young girls who have found themselves pregnant and are considering abortion. This young woman offers them a glimpse of God's plan of redemption...that He, and only He, can bring beauty from the ashes.
I remember her talk so vividly. It has stuck with me. God's redeeming power.
God is able to bring beauty and redemption from even the most dire of circumstances.
God's redeeming power can:
Bring beauty from ashes
Bring eternal life from death
Bring freedom to the bound
Bring deliverance from sin
Bring peace to the distraught
Make the unholy, holy
The unjust, justified
The word redeem means "to buy out" (like slaves were bought out and given freedom in place of slavery)
Whatever prior condition you find yourself in...God can redeem it...buy it out...make it new...bring beauty from its ashes.
How do I know? Because I have seen and I believe that He brought new life from death. A God who can do that can do anything. Therein lies our hope!
God sees what we cannot. We can see God's heart even if we can't trace His hand.
God is Love and God is Good. Therefore I will believe that He is somehow capable of redeeming everything.
Like in the story of Joseph...what man intended for evil, God was able to work all his pain and suffering together for good. God brought beauty from the ash heap of Joseph's life. Not only did God redeem Joseph's circumstances, He used Joseph to save thousands of lives and bring glory unto Himself.
God sees what we cannot. He sees the unseen - what we cannot even fathom.
Comfort, Grace, Redemption, and trusting God's good and loving heart give me hope when I wonder...what if the worst case scenario comes true?
What about you? Have you experienced God's comfort, grace, or redemption in dire circumstances? Would you share so as to give others hope and give God the glory?
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that you love us so much that there is no depth of pain in which you will not go deeper still in order to hold me in your everlasting arms. I thank you for your comfort, grace, and redeeming power. Thank you for the times you have brought beauty from the ashes of my life. Help me to trust that you see what I cannot. And, because you are Love and your are Good you will see me through whatever the future holds. Enable me to trust your promise that you cause all things to work together for good. You are my Redeemer, my Restorer, and my Rewarded and in You alone I put my trust. In Jesus precious name, Amen.
ps. Speaking of Redeeming. God is at work through Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. literally freeing children's lives from poverty and slavery to give them the hope that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and from getting a solid education. We are giving these precious innocents - the orphaned and impoverished - tools for the future.
Would you join with us in our ministry? Our needs are many. A gift of any size would be fully used to help the children and gratefully received.
Send all contributions to:
Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC 27513
** Include your email for an end of year giving statement and please pray for us won't you?**
This is Arzoo...our newest child to be sponsored into RCS, Pakistan. Her father - physically and mentally ill is into witchcraft. Her mother cannot support or care for their children. Arzoo was left to fend for herself. She has now found a home in our House of Hope called Redeemer Christian School, Pakistan.
God's redeeming power at its finest...