“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches.” (Isaiah 45:3)
Grief visited this week. It threw shadows across my path as family and friends grieved over the loss of loved ones. People were left with sadness, tears in their eyes and empty spaces in their homes. There really were no words to say.
When hard times come, when the darkness has crept into our day, we can know that God is there with us, close. For He is close to the broken hearted. He knows our pain, our loss. He hears our whispers of fear and hurt and He catches every tear that we shed.
In during these times, we will discover treasures in the darkness. Treasures of God’s grace as we find the strength to get through. Treasures of friends gathering to show their love and care. Treasures of prayers and an awareness of God calling people to pray. Treasures of a deeper revelation of God’s love for us.
We find the laughter and the light grows stronger and brighter again.
The darker the night,
The brighter the day,
The fiercer the fight,
The stronger the faith,
So I place my hope in You
(Kristene Mueller – Redemption)
“And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” (John Masefield)
Before the age of GPS, before the time when man-made satellites joined the stars in the sky as tools for navigation, sailors sailed the sea guided by the stars – celestial navigation. They used the position of the fixed stars as their guide. The stars were their constant in the changing seas.
God is our constant. He is steadfast and unchanging. No matter what we have to face each day, or what uncertainties lie ahead, God is there with His mercy and His love. As constant as the Northern Star is our God. There to guide us, love us and bring new mercies and grace into every new day.
Some days you just feel weary. Weary from being brave the moment you step out your door. Weary from weathering the storms of life. And you reach the end of the day and you feel spent. That hard phone call that added more load to your back with the future it seemingly painted. That unexpected hurt that made your heart heavy.
You pour that cup of cold tea away because the day never let you have it. And you feel like a knitted top that’s had a pull in it begin to unravel and fray and you can’t seem to stop it.
And then you read something that speaks straight to your heart, and you feel your soul sigh with relief as you’re reminded of God’s grace and hope…
“Feels like there’s a million things coming at you as you look into the week ahead, but really there is always only one thing: Just. Stay. Calm.
“The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm” Ex14:14
Let the Spirit in dwell, before stepping into the hour, day, week. This is the way calm comes. For God will do the battle for you. You just do the breathing in Him.… Jesus didn’t just calm one storm—He can calm all our storms. And He comes as a sign to us, a sign of the cross, a sign God’s reaching for us, believing in us, in love, in redemption, in making all things new, in making us enough because He is.
And He comes like light through rain coming down. ” (Ann Voskamp)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”(Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)
And maybe that pull in the knitted top can be fixed and doesn’t need to unravel any further.
Yesterday – a walk down memory lane. A rare opportunity to visit an old family home, the old family church. To see the pew that we would always sit in, the church hall where we went to Sunday School. To the see the house – my old bedroom, the back garden. Memories flooding back, of laughter and fun, good times.
As we walk forward into this New Year with resolutions and plans, hope and dreams, it is sometimes useful to cast our eyes over the years past. Not in a yearning for the good days gone or in grief over the bad, but in a realisation of the times when God’s hand upon our lives is visible. When you realise that God had prepared you for what you were to face with Scriptures or prophetic words, with the people that He placed around you. When you are reminded of the prayers answered, of the breakthroughs received.
Looking back and seeing the hand of God on our lives gives encouragement and strength for today and hope for the future. It’s a reminder that even when at the time we don’t notice, God is always working on our behalf, for our benefit, for our good.
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11)
I can think of no better way to start the New Year than borrowing words from my father’s New Year’s Day preach….
“As we gather together this New Year’s Day, in the Presence of God to worship Him and give thanks for the year that has passed and petition Him for the year that is to come, I want to underline for you this wonderful, hopeful, promise filled truth, that – Our God is a God who rejoices in offering us a new beginning – not just for now, not just for today, or tomorrow, or this year, but for life and forever.
No matter what has shattered and battered us in the past – long ago or just recently – No matter how badly we have failed and messed up our lives and others – our God, at this very moment stretches out His hand to pick us up, dust us down, wipe away our tears, heal our wounds, clean us up, and set us on our feet again.”
Happy New Year Everyone!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
It’s an odd week. That week that’s bookended either side by Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. You lose track of what day it is. Are the shops open today? Normal times? And what about the Postman – does he come this week? And of course the inevitable conversation of what day does rubbish gets collected!
Sometimes it can feel like that with life. That you’re sandwiched between the promise and the provision. That you’re neither here nor there. Not at the mountain top but not in the valley either. Just in between. Or as A.A. Milne wrote in his poem, you are on a stair halfway, neither up or down. It’s the middle places that much of our life is spent. Spent waiting, hoping, standing in faith. We’re waiting for the answer to prayer, the healing, the provision.
But it’s in these times that we need to keep on, press on and hold on. We need to remember that God is faithful and true to His promises.
And if I’m right about what day it is, the rubbish goes out tonight…
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
There has been a lot of shaking happening in New Zealand at the moment. Last week a large earthquake occurred in the South Island. The aftershocks and tremors of which are still happening. The damage to the land and to people’s homes and livelihoods is severe. The landscape is forever altered.
In our lives there are occurrences, events that will shake us. Earthquakes without a doubt! But also changes in our lives – the loss of a family member, changes in finances, health, employment. The list can go on. Some circumstances will seem to shake us to our very core.
But just as earthquakes reveal the strength of the buildings within which we live and work, so too does our response to our circumstances reveal the framework of our faith. It reveals our foundational beliefs that we hold of God. Beliefs about God’s goodness, His intent toward us and His love. We can’t afford to build a belief system that is based only on what we see and experience in our lives.
Lysa TerKeurst wrote “if God is good and God is good to me, then I must fill in the gaps of all the unknowns in my life with a resounding statement of trust: God is good at being God.”
We need to trust God. We need to ensure that our circumstances are framed by God’s truth and who God is. God is constant in every season of our lives, whether that season is good or bad. We need to that thought settle in our hearts. God is always there. Always good.
Shaken we can be, yes.