Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 11, 2020

Thank You to Our Veterans

My husband is now 72 years old, but he still holds memories of the time he served. So thankful for him and for all those men and women who answer this call.

Glorify Him

My husband, Sam, is 61 years old, but let a Vietnam war documentary air on the history channel and he is 20 years old again, the memories forever engraved on his heart and soul. He has never been one to talk much of what he saw and experienced, seemingly content to push all of those memories into a corner of his mind that only those who were there can fully comprehend and understand. Yet, every now and then, he will mention certain things that help to remind me of the sacrifice that every person who chooses to serve in our military makes.

Sam was drafted to serve during the Vietnam War, a war that was so unpopular that many in our own nation turned their backs on the men and women who served. He remembers sitting with a group of fellow soldiers in an airport restaurant and being totally ignored…

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Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 3, 2020

Hope for the Weary

Do you feel weary today? Perhaps you are battling a physical illness or carrying a burden over a loved one. Maybe the everyday grind is wearing you down. Then again, maybe the pandemic sweeping the world, or the current political climate, is making you weary.

Whatever makes you weary today, please know that there is hope. His name is Jesus.

In the Bible, we read about the prophet Jeremiah who was overcome with grief when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. He grieved over the sinfulness of the nation of Israel who had chosen to reject God. The book of Lamentations records Jeremiah’s laments over the destruction of Jerusalem and its suffering and pain. However, even in Jeremiah’s anguish and sorrow, when he felt that even his prayers were shut out (vs. 3:8), he remembered God’s faithfulness.

“Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers and sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.”

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:19-23)

Jeremiah discovered hope when he turned his focus to God and remembered His mercy and compassion. As Jeremiah continued:

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:24)

There is a lot going on in our world today that can make us weary, but I ask you as I ask myself: “In what or in whom are we trusting?” Nations rise and fall. Leaders help and fail us. There is only One who is worthy of our trust. This is the One who died to save us and to give us eternal life – Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is the One in whom we can hope – yes, even when we are weary!

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | October 9, 2020

Where Is My Faith?

(Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25)

The disciples were in a boat with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee when a great windstorm arose. Waves beat into the boat, filling the boat with water. The disciples began to panic, but Jesus was in the stern of the ship asleep. I can just see the disciples excitedly shaking Jesus awake as they exclaim: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38b).

Have you sometimes felt like the disciples? You may not be in a sinking boat, but for whatever reason you may be discouraged or feeling hopeless. And perhaps you wondered “Jesus, do You not care?”

Jesus responded to the disciples cries and calmed the wind and raging water, but then He asked them: “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25)

I have read this story countless times, but for some reason this time Jesus’s question to the disciples resonated with me. Where is my faith? In whom am I trusting?

There is so much trouble and unrest in our world today – from a virus that has taken thousands of lives and disrupted our everyday lives, to raging fires, storms and floods; from violent protests and riots to unbelievable acts of inhumanity to one another. Like the disciples, do we look to Jesus and ask: “Do You not care?”

When I was a child, my Dad would take my sister and I to a creek near our home to teach us how to swim. Unlike my sister who quickly caught on, I was too frightened for Daddy to let go of his hold on me. I could paddle. I could kick. Yet, if Daddy even suggested removing his steadying hand, I would panic and thrash wildly. Then one day, Daddy let go of me. Did he not care?  I panicked. I flailed in the water, but do you know what happened? I began to swim! When it finally occurred to me that I was really swimming, I looked at Daddy. He was standing there watching me, smiling as happily as I.

In much the same way, Jesus watches over His children. He loves and cares for us. Sometimes He calms our storms with His steadying hand. At other times, He calms us in the storms and walks with us through them. We may not know why certain things happen, but as we seek Him, learn from Him, and walk with Him, we learn that He is a God who cares and who is worthy of our faith. We can trust in Him. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5b).

Habakkuk was a prophet during the fall of Nineveh and the rise of Babylon. Assyria and Egypt had been defeated by Babylon and Babylon was rising in power. Judah’s days seemed to be numbered as wickedness prevailed. Habakkuk cried out to God against the lawlessness and violence he witnessed.

As God responded to Habakkuk, the prophet was reminded that God is sovereign over all the earth. Although evil may have its time of triumph, our sovereign God will hold the wicked accountable for their actions.  God replied to Habakkuk: “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

Habakkuk listened to God, prayed, then broke out in a confident hymn of faith.

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls –

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.”

(Habakkuk 3:17-19)

I pray that as I live in our world today that I will model that same confident faith. Leaders can disappoint and fail us. Governments can rise and fall. Yet my trust is not in leaders or governments, but in the One who died to save me. He is my joy, my strength, and yes, the One who watches over and cares for me. I put my faith in Jesus!

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 11, 2020

Sometimes It’s Friday

This Easter is probably unlike any other Easter I’ve known. The current pandemic has claimed lives, shut down businesses, closed schools and churches, curtailed travel, and banned social gatherings. Instead of filling our churches this Easter, we’ll gather around our TV’s and electronic devices to hear our Easter messages. But, just like the following devotion says, sometimes its Friday. Sometimes, just like those early disciples, we’re scared and confused. We have questions. We don’t understand. But just as Sunday morning came for those disciples and they discovered the stone rolled away, Sunday morning comes for us, too. Easter reminds us that our hope lies in Jesus, the One who died for us, who conquered the grave and rose again, and who walks with us today – even on our Fridays. As Jesus Himself said, ““I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25).

Glorify Him

Sometimes It’s Friday

As I’ve thought about the events leading up to that first Easter morning and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I couldn’t help but think about Jesus’ closest disciples and friends. I wonder what was going through their thoughts and minds. This is the One in whom they had placed all their hope and now they watched as He was nailed to a cross, drew His last breath, and was laid in a tomb. They had heard the prophecies. Jesus, Himself, had even told them what was going to happen. But it was still Friday.

On Friday they were scared, confused, and broken. They didn’t fully understand. They had questions. They had fears. And in the midst of their confusion, they couldn’t quite see Sunday.

I’ve had my share of Friday’s and I dare say, you have, too. You may be in the middle…

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Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 19, 2019

When Faith is Hard

When Faith is Hard

“For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to here; and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

(Matthew 17:20)

Sometimes, faith is hard! We love God. We believe God. Yet we find ourselves in a place that we just cannot understand. We may be struggling to just hold on to that mustard seed of faith we have.

I thought about this recently when I read in Genesis 22 about God’s testing of Abraham. God told Abraham to take his son, Isaac, and to offer him as a burnt offering. Isaac was the son that God had promised to Abraham and Sarah, the one who was delivered to them in their old age, and the one with whom God had declared he would establish His covenant (see Genesis 17:19). Yet God now told Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.

The Scriptures do not tell us that Abraham questioned God at all. He simply rose up early the next morning and set off to do as God said. I cannot help but wonder what was going through Abraham’s mind. Was he grappling with why? Did he wonder about God’s plan? I wonder if he even thought about not being obedient. However, the Scriptures give no hint that Abraham questioned or considered any other thing. He simply set out to do what God said.

When Abraham arrived at the mountain for the sacrifice, he told his helpers: “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5). Notice, he said “we will come back.” Could he have said “we” in an effort to not raise questions among his helpers? Or did Abraham sincerely believe that God had a plan. He surely remembered God’s original promise: “I will establish My covenant with him (Isaac) for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19)?

Abraham continued to build the altar, to place the wood in order, and to finally bind Isaac and lay him upon the wood. But as Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife, the Angel of the Lord, called to him: “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12). When Abraham lifted his eyes, he saw a ram in a thicket and offered it up for an offering instead of his son. Abraham called this place, the “Lord Will Provide.”

Abraham’s faith did not falter. He had passed God’s test. While Abraham may not have understood what God told him to do, Abraham’s faith was bigger than his fears, his lack of understanding, or any questions that tempted him to disobey. Abraham believed God!

What about you and me? What about our faith? Do we still believe and trust God when we face the hard things, when we are fearful or lack understanding?

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that our faith is important to God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus, Himself, often confronted people for their lack of faith. On one occasion, He chided the people for worrying about food to eat and clothes to wear. He explained that God knew they needed those things. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30).

Another time, Jesus walked on the water to His disciples who were in a boat being tossed by the waves. Peter asked Jesus to call him to come to Him on the water. At first, Peter walked on the water, but as he looked at the waves around him, he became frightened and began to sink. “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:31)

Still another time, the disciples were with Jesus in a boat on the sea. Jesus was in the stern of the boat, asleep, when a storm arose. The waves beat into the boat and it was filling with water. The disciples awoke Jesus and exclaimed: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) Jesus arose, rebuked the wind, and calmed the sea. Then He said to His disciples: “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

Worry, doubt, and fear can surely test our faith. Yet, I think Abraham shows us that even in times of testing, our victory lies in God Himself. The more we know Him, the more we trust Him – even in the hard times, and the more we believe in Him and His love for us, the more the seed of faith He plants in our hearts takes root and grows.

Abraham knew God. Abraham walked with God. Abraham believed God. Abraham put His faith in God – even when it was hard. I pray that I will do the same!

 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”

(Hebrews 11:6).

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 26, 2019

Rest for My Soul (2)

Rest for My Soul

[I wrote the following devotion three years ago. I stumbled across it again recently and realized how much it still describes my constant need for soul rest. I love the following Scripture: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). True rest – soul rest – is found in Jesus Christ alone.]

As I grow older, I am discovering that proper rest is not just a luxury. It is an absolute necessity. When I try to keep going when I need to take a break, I rarely do my best and I often create more work because of my weariness or lack of concentration. I am learning that moments of rest throughout my day can actually help me accomplish more and do things better.

Yet in addition to physical rest, there is also another rest that I crave. This rest is not satisfied by merely stopping for a few minutes to prop my feet up or to drink a glass of water. I like to think of this other rest as soul rest. You see, sometimes it is our very souls that become tired and weary, more so than our physical bodies. Most of us grapple daily with various matters from relationship issues or financial struggles, to job worries or health problems. Likewise, there are myriad concerns that surround us in our fallen world. There is no shortage of reasons for men and women to fear and worry. Just consider the current political climate, persecution of Christians around the world, mass shootings and gun violence, and the threats of ISIS and others, to name just a few. There is also much to mourn as we see our own nation making decisions that do not value human life, that celebrate rights of individuals over moral responsibility, and that pass laws that stand in opposition to the very Word of God. Oh how I regularly need rest for my soul! Perhaps you do, too.

The good news is that Jesus knows that about us. He knew it about His disciples and early followers when He was on earth. Life was surely not easy for believers then either. In fact, Matthew recounts how Jesus issued a rebuke to the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because although they saw His mighty works, they did not repent (see Matthew 11:20-14). Jesus issued a promise, however, to all who would come to Him:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls(Matthew 11:28-29).

I have always loved this Bible verse. Nothing can bring peace to my heart like coming to Jesus and just pouring out all that is on my heart and mind. And when I take His yoke upon me and learn from Him, He assures me that I will find rest for my soul. Unlike worldly yokes that enslave us, when we place our faith and trust in Jesus and become yoked to Him, we discover the truth of Jesus’ words: “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew11:30). The yoke of Jesus frees us from the bondage of sin, oppression, shame, worry, fear, failure…..whatever we have become yoked to in this fallen world; then in Him we find help, hope, courage, strength…… and rest! Soul rest!

Nothing or no one can satisfy our need for soul rest but Jesus. Only He can take all our struggles and issues, all our fears and worries, all our losses and brokenness, and even in the midst of them fill us with Himself and give us rest for our souls! If you need soul rest, I invite you to answer Jesus’ invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls(Matthew 11:28-29).*

 

 

*If you would like to know more about accepting Jesus’ invitation, I invite you to read “How to Be Saved” on this site.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 17, 2019

Where is Hope?

Where is Hope?

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:12

 

In 1962, Adlai Stevenson, an American politician and diplomat, made the following statement in an address honoring Eleanor Roosevelt: “She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world.” As I read this quote, I thought about Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

 

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus taught His disciples: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

As believers and followers of Jesus, we have the light of the world, Jesus Christ, living within us. How do we shine this light before others?

 

  • We reflect the light of Christ. The more we seek Christ, follow and obey Him, the more we will reflect His light to others.
  • We shouldn’t hide the light within us. Are there sins, habits, or attitudes that hide or hinder the light of Christ in you and me?
  • We display His light daily for all to see – not so that others see or talk well of us – but so that others can see what life in Christ looks like and they can be drawn to Him.

 

More than ever, this world needs to see the light of Christ so they might come to know Him. Yet, more and more people are turning away from the only One who can give them hope. It frightens me to think that my witness, my failure to properly reflect the light of Christ, might hinder anyone from coming to know Him as their Savior and Lord.

 

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus taught His followers, those who had responded to His invitation to repent (Matthew 4:17), what true righteousness looked like and   how they should live in their world.

 

Among other things, Jesus taught His followers to:

 

  • live righteously, to be salt and light and glorify the Father
  • go the extra mile to be reconciled with an adversary
  • be faithful in marriage
  • not retaliate evil with evil
  • have a generous and compassionate attitude toward the needy
  • love their enemies, bless those who cursed them, to do good to those who hated them, and to pray for those who spitefully used them and persecuted them
  • do good deeds, but not for recognition
  • pray and fast in secret
  • forgive men their trespasses
  • lay up treasures in heaven.
  • not worry about their lives, but to seek God and His righteousness.
  • not judge others.
  • do the will of the Father.

 

These are the kinds of actions and behaviors that make the light of Christ visible to a lost world. There is much sin, corruption, and brokenness in our world today. However, in order to change our world, hearts must first be changed. Only Jesus can change hearts and draw people to Himself. Our hope is in Jesus Christ!

 

Jesus calls us to live so that others can see His light. It may mean lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness, but God can make the glow from that small light warm our world. I have some repenting to do. Will you join me? Let’s do good, love and pray for one another, live so that others see Christ, and always be ready to tell others about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

 

 

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

(1 Peter 3:15).

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 1, 2019

Facing the New Year with Confidence

Facing the New Year with Confidence

 

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

(1 Peter 5:10, NKJV)

 

It’s that time again – time to begin a brand new year! I’ve always enjoyed looking forward to that fresh slate of 365 days, undoubtedly, with the desire to get it right this time. Yet, before the first page on the calendar is turned, it, too, is often stained with hardships or mistakes, missed opportunities or failures, and various troubles that we all face in this world.

 

None of us are exempt from trouble in this world. As Jesus told His disciples before He departed: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). The book of 1 Peter is a letter that the Apostle Peter wrote to Christians living in Asia Minor. These Christians were facing persecution and many difficulties as they tried to live for God. Peter wanted to encourage them, to help them keep on doing what was right, and to remind them of the eternal reward that Christ had already secured for every believer.

 

The book of 1 Peter can be an encouragement to believers today as well. Peter tried to help the Christians expect and understand their suffering. He called them to live holy lives, not returning evil for evil. Peter reminded them of the example we have in Jesus, who suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. And he reminded them: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (5:10).

 

We will face trouble and persecution in this world, but we can face this new year with confidence. As we commit ourselves to God, follow Him, and trust Him in all things, we can be assured that He will not abandon us. He works in us and through us as He…

 

  • Perfects us – mends our brokenness
  • Establishes us – helps us stay steady and secure in an insecure, unstable world
  • Strengthens us – gives us strength, builds us up, helps us succeed in His work
  • Settles us – helps us to remain steadfast

 

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast “all your care upon Him (God), for He cares for you.” God cares for us! He will walk with us through the valley. He will strengthen us in our battles. He will carry our burdens and cares.

 

As I set off on this new year with all the blank days yet to be written, I rejoice in the wonder that God is with me – no matter the difficulty, no matter the pain, no matter what I face this year – “may the God of all grace, who has called me to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after I have suffered awhile, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle me.” And may I “be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 15, 2018

When the Lord is My Portion

When the Lord is My Portion

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for Him.’”

(Lamentations 3:24, NIV)

 

As I write this devotion, people in my area of the world are waiting for Hurricane Florence, or Tropical Storm Florence, by the time the slow-moving storm makes its way to the Western part of the state. The fact that it will be less powerful and faster moving, however, does not allow us to grow complacent. Our water-soaked area is still predicted to receive between 6-10” of rain in a two-day period, and in some areas more.

 

I live beside a small creek that usually trickles by lazily. We wade in it and allow the dogs to play in the cool water. Our grandkids toss rocks into it and watch sticks lazily float downstream. Yet this lazy little creek can become a boisterous stream during high water events. About a month ago, it spread over our driveway and began to make puddles in our yard. When the rain stopped, it quickly began to recede and return to its banks, but not without creating a host of problems for many people at various points along the stream.

 

Federal funding has been denied for repairs on this little creek; the town has appealed their decision; and now, we wait for a tropical storm, predicted to be bringing heavy rains, to come to an area already water-laden and problem-ridden. We do what we can to prepare. We wait and we wonder what will happen.

 

And as He so often does, God reminded me of a verse that I have clung to in the past and that I will cling to today as well – “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’” (Lamentations 3:24, NIV). What does it mean for the Lord to be my portion?

 

A couple of Psalms likewise make reference to the Lord being our portion (Psalm 16:5 and Psalm 73:26). It was first found in Numbers 18:20 when the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”  God was explaining to Aaron that the priests did not have an inheritance in in the land distributed to the children of Israel. Their relationship was a special relationship with God Himself.

Believers today are like those priests. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised an inheritance in this world. Yet we are promised an inheritance in God’s kingdom to come. Just like Aaron, God Himself is our portion, our inheritance.

 

When the Lord is my portion, I am willing to wait on Him – no matter what. I trust Him – His will, His timing, His way for me. When the Lord is my portion, I wait on Him – not in resignation – but in confidence, keeping my eyes on Him, seeking Him, praying, hoping in Him.

 

Luke records a story Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8.

 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

 

In this parable, Jesus is encouraging believers to remain persistent in praying and seeking Him. When the Lord is my portion, I will remain faithful.

 

In this world we will have trouble. Jesus told us that. (See John 16:33). There will be storms with wind and rain and there will be other storms that can come in many different ways such as an unexpected phone call with devastating news, or an unwelcome and unexpected medical diagnosis. There will be storms that we may not be able to understand and with which we struggle. But regardless of the troubles we may face, when the Lord is our portion, we can have peace in Him. We know Him. He is the One we expectantly wait on, look to, and trust. We can stand – or hang on – confidently, knowing that the Lord is our portion!

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 18, 2018

When God Draws Near

When God Draws Near

“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path.”

(Psalm 142:3a)

 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with things you are facing in life? It is probably safe to say that most of us face days, times, even seasons when life is downright hard. We can just read a few of the Psalms to recognize that the psalmists, too, cried out to God when they were overwhelmed.

 

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God’” (Psalm 3:1-2).

 

“Why do You stand afar off, O Lord: Why do You hide in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised” (Psalm 10:1-2).

 

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2).

 

“My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3).

 

Like the cries voiced in the above psalms, we, too, can face trouble, ridicule, and misunderstanding. Others may try to hurt us. We may experience pain, sorrow, rejection, or discouragement. We can become overwhelmed! So what do we do?

 

Notice that the psalmists went straight to God. The book of Psalms contain the cries and pleas of many as they poured out their hearts to God Himself. And, remarkably, while not every time, most of the time, they completed their petitions with thanksgiving and praise to the God they were confident would see them through.

 

No, their problems were not always solved; their burdens were not always lifted; and I’m certain that sometimes their tears probably still stained their pillows. But they discovered what we can discover too. When we come to God sincerely seeking Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and placing our trust in Him, God comes near! As I draw near to God, He draws near to me (see James 4:8).

 

What happens when God draws near?

 

He sees us and He hears us.

 

  • I’m reminded of Hagar, Sarai’s maid, pregnant with Abraham’s child. She fled into the wilderness after her mistress, Sarai, dealt harshly with her. Yet, God saw her. The Angel of the Lord urged Hagar to return to Sarai and the Angel told Hagar:

“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
  He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

(Genesis 16:11-12)

Hagar “called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees” (Genesis 16:13).

 

Just as He saw Hagar, God sees us, too. He knows exactly where we are and what is going on. He sees us and He hears our cries.

 

He strengthens us and helps us.

 

  • In 46:1, the Psalmist exclaims: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

 

When we are in trouble, we tend to think that God is not with us, that He doesn’t hear us. Yet when we come to Him in faith, trusting every aspect of our lives to Him, He is our refuge and strength – even in the hard times. It is hard to describe, but even as we face trials, we can feel a sense of protection and peace because He is with us. As He draws near, He shelters us and strengthens us even in the midst of trouble. The prophet Isaiah reminds us: “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” (Isaiah 41:10).

 

He covers us with His mercy, grace, and love.

 

  • This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Throughthe Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,’says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

 

Our God is faithful! When we seek God and walk with Him, each day brings the assurance that no matter what heartache or evil we face, no matter how overwhelmed we may be, our God is with us. He is near with His mercy, His grace, and His love to catch us, to hold us, to equip us, to lead us, and perhaps to even carry us. We can have hope even in the darkest of circumstances.

 

When God comes near, we can rejoice in Him! Instead of the worries and problems that hound us, we see a God who loves us, who sees and hears us, who cares for us, who strengthens and helps us, and who covers us daily with His mercy, grace, and love. God may change our circumstances. Or He may give us understanding and direction in and through our circumstances. Either way, we will be able to rejoice in our faithful God, who is always with us – The Almighty God over all people and things, who draws near to us! “Therefore, I hope in Him!

 

 

 

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.

(Micah 7:7)

 

 

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