|Photo Credit: D. Kelly @ Grant Co., WV|
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”
(Philippians 2:12-16, ESV).
A DEEPER LOOK
As the balloons floated out of sight, our family smiled heavenward.
Each of us lost in our own memories. Lost in thoughts of those we still love, those in eternity, those we will see again. And even through our tears, we could feel God close.
Our faith in Him lets us know that He understands our tears…even when we don’t.
He reads the meaning behinds those tears. Tears of compassion, brokenness, acceptance, hurt, or surrender…especially those tears that flow unbidden, at the oddest times.
Have you ever considered what God sees when He looks into your heart? Does He see love, joy, peace, kindness? Or pain, anger, hurt...are worldly feelings filling up that sacred space?
Have you ever imagined God smiling down on you? Have you ever given Him a good natured wink and smiled up to Him following a victory…knowing it was His victory…He just let you take the credit? Good days with God are amazing. But life isn’t made up of all good days.
Sometimes life is right down hard. And to be honest some days feel just plain bad. Like that Easter Sunday my sister knocked on our door instead of just coming on in. Now that was a bad Sunday. It was the first time I remember being 'mad' at God. The news my sister had for us wasn’t any she wanted to share but had to nonetheless. Looking back, that’s why she knocked…she was putting off the inevitable.
I remember being angry at God for weeks. Our entire family was hurting. I know that others were just as mad as I was. So I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want to see my faith filled family hurting like this. Being alone felt right at the time. And in the midst of this storm, God recognized my need for solitude and He gave it to me. But then, when He knew I was ready, He wrapped His arms around me. When I needed Him the most, He was right there. Like He’d been waiting for me to lean back onto Him so the healing could begin.
I wish I could explain, in words, how it felt to get a hug from God. I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about that. And He still has me in His arms. Our family has lost a lot of loved ones since then, as the amount of balloons in the picture indicates...and losing them still hurts. But because we know - that near the end of our faith - stands a loving Savior, just waiting to embrace us with His love and His peace that surpasses understanding, we continue loving and living with the hope of seeing them again.
"There are plenty of times in our life when we just need a hug. Or someone to listen. Most of the time, God uses people – sends them even – into our lives for these opportunities. But every once in a while, He – through our faith in the Holy Spirit – lets us experience Him first hand.
In order to receive Him, we have to be open and receptive, discerning and ready. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”. I honestly believe it is because of this experience, this God hug that I received in a storm, that my faith in Him is stronger than ever before. That faith grows through living real life – the good and the bad – the happy and sad – knowing that He is always standing nearby.”
Journal your thoughts here
-When you are nearing the end of your faith, why should you seek God out in solitude?
-How do you ‘fall back onto God’ after you’ve been mad at Him?
-Jot down a few personal experiences you’ve encountered between You and God.
-How can you see, now, active intercession by the Holy Spirit in these experiences?
-How can you use these experiences to help others going through similar trials?
and I am feeling:______________________________
Be Blessed this week y'all,
In Christ with love and compassion - Coach Kelly