Friday, January 31, 2020

When I'm... God is...

At my lowest, God is my hope. At my darkest, God is my light. At my weakest, God is my strength. At my saddest, God is my comfort.

No life is perfect. We all have our ups and downs and I have found that, when I've been at my lowest, there is always someone who is worse off than me. So I know that things can be really rough sometimes. Like the woman I talked about who was so overcome by grief, she just wanted to die. Or the man with terminal cancer who knew he'd soon be leaving his wife and children. Or my friend who lost a series of jobs and was on the brink of homelessness.
Life can really seem unbearable sometimes.

But there is help. Real help. We all have a lifeline through God. Our God, who loves us more than we can imagine, wants to help us through the times when we don't know which was is up.

The Bible gives us proof, over and over, of this help.

At My Lowest, God Is My Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Even when you hit rock bottom, you can be assured that it won't last; it's only temporary. 

The hope that you have in God's promises can fill you with peace. It doesn't mean that you've given up. It just means that you trust God to keep you from harm.

I have a friend whose husband recently told her that he doesn't want to be married any longer. It's pretty complicated and she is anxious about finances, but, at the same time, she's filled with more peace than she's felt in a long time. She knows that God has her back and is working overtime to protect her. Her finances are falling into place and she is giving God all the credit.

At My Darkest, God Is My Light

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. John 8:12
When I was in college, I spent a couple of summers as the director of a residential camp for girls. I had been a camper there, too, and, after several years, I knew just about every inch of that camp. It was a beautiful setting and I always felt comfortable and secure as we went through our daily activities. 

Nighttime, however, was a different story. Things looked so different in the dark. My favorite quiet place, overlooking the Mississippi River, looked sinister in the dark. I always scurried from my cabin to the bathroom because who knew what was hiding behind the trees? The worst was having to walk down a hill in the dark to lock the gate each night. Even though nothing bad had ever happened as I performed that simple task, I was so scared because I didn't know what might be lurking in the woods, waiting to jump out and grab me. 

Shedding light on those ominous-looking woods brought out their beauty and made me feel safe. Such it is with Jesus. He sheds light into the dark places so you can feel safe and secure.

At My Weakest, God Is My Strength

So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Strength comes in several forms: physical, mental, emotional, intellectual.

When you are feeling weak - maybe you're being tempted to do something that you know is wrong - stop and ask God to give you the strength you need to withstand the temptation.

Or, perhaps you are clinging to that last strand of a rope, like the kitten in those "hang in there" posters that were popular several years ago. But your struggle isn't cute or motivational poster-worthy. It's real and your emotions are raw. Trust Jesus to give you the strength to carry on.

At My Saddest, God Is My Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort
Like many pregnancies, my second one ended abruptly in a miscarriage. Even though we had barely confirmed that I was pregnant, I was already madly in love with the life growing inside me and so I was devastated when my obstetrician confirmed that I was no longer pregnant.

I felt so strange when I returned to work after a short recovery. It was apparent to everyone that I was incredibly sad. Most of my coworkers acted like it was nothing and I was being too dramatic. I heard more than once "You can always have another." There were a few friends who offered me comfort. They let me talk about the baby, hugged me, and offered tissues to dry my tears. Still, I ached inside.

I had questioned why it happened. My OB gave me a medical explanation, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. My friends said things like "it was just meant to be" and "the baby was probably deformed and wouldn't have survived". That also was not what I wanted to hear. I turned to my pastor and, if you can believe it, he was one of those who told me I could always have another. He was young and childless, so I forgave him.

I finally started praying about it. I didn't ask God to take away my sadness or to give me back my baby. Instead, I asked why He would let it happen. How could the God of love allow such a horrible thing to happen? God didn't answer that question. Instead, a peace started coming over me. I never did find out why it happened, but I remember that feeling of loving comfort and I knew that God was hurting as much as I was. 

I suppose the old adage "misery loves company" is true because, knowing that my loss made God sad, too made me feel better. I knew that He understood my pain.

I pray that you can experience God's love and compassion when you are at your lowest. He wants to provide that comfort. He's waiting for you to ask.

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