I love my girls. They’re both sweet, smart, funny, beautiful… (I could go on and on.) My son, though, has taught me so much about the heart of my Father. Alan’s had a tough week. He’s in a new school this year, and all the anxiety seemed to crash in on him at once. On Tuesday. I picked him up early after he ended up in the office with an upset stomach- again. Eventually, he admitted that he’s afraid he’s going to get in trouble, or he’s going to mess up an assignment, or… There was a list of worries.
I hugged him, brainstormed with him how things could be better, and made his favorite dinner. And yesterday morning… he sat in the car in tears again. I wish I could fix it for him. I wish I could smooth out the path in front of him (and the girls) so he never has heartbreak or struggle or pain… but I can’t. I have to stand by and watch him go through these things. I can hug him. Comfort him. Commiserate with him. Yes. But he has to face this himself.
In a greater way, the heart of my Father God, is that tender towards my struggles. He knows it’s hard. He knows it hurts, but yet, He also knows I have to face it. Even Jesus Christ faced extreme suffering. Thankfully, my Father God has the power to redeem the hard times, so that they turn out for my good and His glory. And while I can’t be with my son during his school day, God never leaves my alone.
When I was in Florida this past summer, I stood on the beach the very first day and watched wave after wave roll in around my ankles. A mother stood nearby helping her little boy jump the waves. As I watched, I heard a whisper in my soul. “See that?” God said. “I will not stop the waves, but I will NEVER let go of your hand.”
One of the most difficult seasons we can go through is when God is silent. It shakes me up, even if it’s only a few days. While I was at the beach, I presumed that would be the perfect time to hear from God, but by the second day, He wasn’t speaking. I was reading the last chapters of Isaiah, 40-66, with all those great passages, and I thought more than once that God was really missing a great opportunity. Surely, He had something to say…
I got tremendously frustrated, and began to suspect that my trip was a mistake. Every old reflexive fear and insecurity roared back. Did I make God angry somehow? Is that why He wasn’t speaking? Or maybe I was right after all, and that deep intimate relationship wasn’t possible.
The day before I left, as I sat on the beach, mentally reviewing the week, I remembered the prodigal. That’s when I heard from God. “I don’t want to overwhelm you,” He said. “That banquet is yours, but I want you to enjoy it to its fullest. I don’t want you to question whether you belong or not. We’re going to take this slowly so that when you know, you know, and you never question your place with Me again.”
God knows my frame and remembers that I am dust. The silent days… Just because I’m not getting constant reinforcement from my Father doesn’t mean His heart has changed. Not at all. He was doing a work that only He could do, in His wise way. It was a lesson in trust. The parting words He gave me were, “Hold on tightly to the things you know in your head, and I will make sure your heart understands them in time.”
I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going.
I am back from the most unique vacation I have ever been on. I went to the beach. (My favorite place- Any beach will do as long as there is sun, sand and ocean.) But I went alone. No computer, and absolutely nothing I ‘needed’ to work on. Just me, some books I’d been wanting to read, my Bible and my notebook (and my cell phone- I can’t be totally gadget free).
Jon suggested the vacation, not just because I needed a break from my routine, but because I’m at a critical spot in my faith. God and I are wrestling through some major issues (I suppose, in truth, I’m the only one wrestling. He’s waiting for me to get it.) I feel like the father in Mark 9:24 who cries out to Jesus in desperation over his demon-possessed son, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I know there are gaps in my faith, but I want a deep, intimate, intense relationship with God. So I went away with God.
I was ready for a Damascus Road experience with God. In fact, I walked out to the beach when I arrived and said, “God, what do You want to tell me?” He said two things. (Now when I say ‘God said’, I don’t mean I heard Him with my ears. What I got was a distinct, fresh thought in my mind.) God said, “You are worthy because I chose you.” I’ve got a lot of emotional baggage and struggle with self-worth issues. God knows this and He wants me to understand my worthiness rests with Him, and not me. Because of that, nothing I do (or don’t do) can change my worth. He imputes that worth to me just as sure as He gives righteousness and salvation.
The second thing came as I watched a mother hold her little boy’s hands, helping him jump over the incoming waves. God said, “I will not stop the waves, but I will never let go of your hand.” He knows that any time I read His word, especially in Psalms that the descriptions of waves or floods always mean some of this emotional turmoil I battle on occasion. Apparently, the battle will never end this side of heaven, but He will never abandon me, never leave me to fight for myself, never let me be swept under.
Those were two powerful statements for me. Then God didn’t speak again for six days… But I’ll save that story for another post.