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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When Miracles Don’t Arrive

When Miracles Don’t Arrive

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There’s one thing that some people may not understand- and that is that we really have little control over what happens.  Oh yes, our decisions and choices affect a lot of outcomes, but there are some things we just do not have any means to control.  We didn’t choose for lightning to burn our barns down or ask for cancer to visit our homes, but it happens nonetheless.  Really, the only thing we control is how we face the turmoils when they come.

If you’re like me, it may feel like almost every area of your life has been facing some sort of crisis.
After awhile, you have lost control over everything.  Things have been pulled away and other events have been happening that make you shiver to think of what could be the outcome if no miracles arrive.

People around you expect strength, cheer, and wisdom, and all you have to offer is emotionally drained and life-weary hands and heart.

Every night you wonder how much more you can possibly handle and dread what the next day may hold.  You cry and pour your heart out to God because He is the only One with enough power to help, but there is silence.

You wait for miracles, but none arrive.  Days pass, weeks vanish into time, and months fade into history, but things only worsen.

You look around at others and their seemingly glorious lives and wonder why they are blessed- even though you have lived faithfully to God’s will and standards and they haven’t.  You mimic David in Psalm 73 and say,
Surely God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
    I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
    their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
They are free from common human burdens;
    they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
    they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
    their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
    with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
    and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
    and drink up waters in abundance.[c]
11 They say, “How would God know?
    Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children.
And then it happens, that deep unsettling of everything you firmly believed.  No matter how guilty you feel for thinking the thoughts, they come anyway.  The questions that people once asked you, now are your questions- even though you used to proclaim the answers.

Where is God?
Why would a good God allow bad things to happen?
Why won’t He help?
Does God hate me?

This makes you uneasy, because surely these are the questions only reprobates and rebels ask.
However, most people who face tragedy or turmoil will have some if not all of these questions run through their heads, no matter how devote or famous of a Christian they may be.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons God sends trials.  Praise from a person who smilingly believes in a personal God because they have always received everything they wanted and have hands full of blessings won’t mean as much as the praise that comes from a person who believes in a personal God even though they have empty hands and can’t seem to see or feel Him as they walk through their darkest valleys.

As I write, I know there will be those who criticize because this surely doesn’t align with the popular “health and wealth gospel”, but I write in brutal honesty from my own experiences.  I hesitated because some won’t understand the questioning, the complete loneliness, the lack of control in life’s circumstances, and the months of waiting for miracles that don’t arrive, but I knew there are others who have walked and are walking on similar journeys; so I share this for those worn-out pilgrims.

What have I found?

I know from the pulls in the depths of my soul, from the intrinsic splendor of the world and universe, and from the recordings of history that there is most certainly a God.

I know from looking back at past miracles and experiences and times when I saw the Hand of God that He really does love every single one of His children.

I know that having earthly blessings and miracles doesn’t make one person more special than another in His eyes because Jesus said that as His children we would face hard times.

I know that the miracles I look for haven’t come, but I have been given the miracles of salvation and eternal life, a loving family, and a new day to use for God’s glory.

I know that life may very well collapse around me, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is in control and has the best in mind for me, whether to accomplish His greater will, test my belief in Him, show His true glory, or to speak to someone who is watching.  Satan loves to watch me doubt and has pretty high bets that I will succumb to the giants that I face, but God is on my side and I can rest in that fact no matter what happens.

Job the Old Testament man, martyrs, and the most profound hymn writers realized all that matters is God and His perfect will.  Things won’t make sense now, but they will some day.
Do you know that Psalm 73 didn’t end with, “All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.”?  Here’s the rest of one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible….
When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
    you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
    when you arise, Lord,
    you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

As I write this, nothing has changed in my situations, I still don’t have any control of what is happening, my “miracles” haven’t arrived yet, and I don’t have a clue what is going to happen in the future, but I will tell of the deeds that God has done in my heart because He is Goodness, Wisdom, Love, Refuge, Strength for my failing heart, and Holder of my right hand!

“Never-Ending Power of My Love”
-MarJanita L. G.

Pushed against the edge
Of a deep engulfing cliff.
Rocks begin to tumble,
And feet begin to slip.

Downward, downward starts the fall
Until fingers grab a limb.
Branch breaks, heart goes numb,
And hope is dark and dim.

Splash upon the water
Which are footwear to the cliff.
Swimming, swimming, but the current
Knocks a punch and fights to win.

Sinking, gargling, gasping air
While time stands stern and still
To watch the battle underneath
Of exhausted, ebbing will.

Lips move to cry for help,
But no noise or sound is heard.
Alone, forgotten, forsaken-
Tears are empty and prayers are blurred.

Eyes close as depths keep pulling
To a lonely darkened cell.
No escape, no way out
From the underwater hell.

Strong arms are grabbing,
Reaching into murky water,
Pulling the body up to shore,
Working to rescue the drowning Daughter.

Once safely placed upon the shore,
Heart broken and clothes wet,
With bitter words she begins to say,
“I’ve been faithful, how could you forget?

Why didn’t you help me
When I called on Your name?
When I cried out for help,
You never came.”

He looks in her eyes
and wipes away tears,
“If only you knew
I’ve loved you thousands of years.”

He shows the scars upon his hands,
The blood where rocks had ripped the skin,
The water dripping from his clothes,
And the aching muscles there within.

Then He takes her small frail hand
And places it upon His heart
To feel the hurt that beat within
As He had watched her fall apart.

“My child,always remember-
Hardships- life consists of
Since it’s the only way to show
The never-ending power of My Love.”