david herndon


hospital

I awoke suddenly to the incessant beeping of the IV machine, letting the entire hall know that it was time to change the bag. Luckily the patient did not wake up since by now I knew how to work the buttons better than the PM nurse.  I settled back into the plastic covered recliner that was my bed and tried to go back to sleep, knowing that in 90 minutes I would be up again, helping take vitals with the nurse.  I was exhausted, but sleep did not come easy.

I was worried.  I was anxious.

This was my life for most of last week.  My son woke up one morning with a stomach ache.  A doctor’s visit, a hospital stay, and then a transfer to another hospital.  It could be appendicitis.  I could be colitis.  It could be a parasite.  “We’ll have to run tests to be sure.”  Tests meant drawing blood, among other things.  Lots of pricking and prodding tended to weary the patience of the strongest 6 year old I know.  Doctors, nurses, needles, oh my.  He was scared.  So was I.  My son was sick and I didn’t know what was wrong or how to fix it.

So in the early hours of the morning I sat in my plastic recliner and prayed.  Then God reminded me of this scripture:

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).”

I get it.  I’ve heard like a million Christian talks on how “worry is the opposite of faith,” and how “worry is a sign that we are trying to control God,” and blah, blah, blah.  I know that I shouldn’t worry about making a good impression on the new neighbors.  I know that I shouldn’t worry about that red light when I’m already running late.  I shouldn’t worry about affording to pay for one more Disney trip.  That’s first world problems.  That’s the small stuff.  That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the big stuff.  What if I can’t afford to pay for all three of my children to go to college?  What if my daughter gets pregnant as teen?  What if one of my sons gets a girl pregnant?  What if one of my children becomes a drug addict?  What if I get cancer?  What if one of my children gets cancer?  What if my wife gets cancer?  What if its not appendicitis or a stomach bug?  What if its something worse?

When you love someone as much as a parent loves a child or a husband loves a wife… how do you not worry?

When tragedy strikes and your whole world turns upside down… how are you supposed to be thankful?

Abraham worried about fulfilling God’s call so he had a child with a woman who wasn’t his wife.  Noah worried about finding land after the flood, so he kept sending birds to their deaths as they flew across endless water.  Gideon worried about battle so he often tested and challenged God.  Paul writes in Philippians 4 the famous “do not worry” passage, but just 2 chapters before he talks about his own anxiety concerning one of his disciples, Epaphroditus.  And even Jesus, the night before his death, sweated blood as he prayed, “If there is another way, let this cup pass from me.”  The bible doesn’t really give instructions on how not to worry.

I hashed this out with God, the beeping IV machine, and the plastic recliner all night.  As I watched my son sleep I couldn’t help but think that my love for him is but a fraction of God’s love for us.  “I would give my life for his health,” I said.  “So would I,” God replied, “and so I did.”

In John 16:33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

This next sentence is difficult to write and perhaps more difficult to read.

God is not as concerned about our health and well-being and general comfort in life as we are.  I’m not saying that He’s not concerned.  Its just that the things we value most are not as valuable to Him.  On the cross, Jesus could have died so that we would never experience illness or disease. He could have died so that we would never experience poverty or hunger.  He could have died so that we would never experience injustice or hate.

But he didn’t die for those things.

Jesus died so that we would never have to experience separation from God.

God is most concerned with our relationship to Him.  The only thing that ever threatened our relationship with God, and thus our eternity, is sin.  Through the cross, Jesus took care of that problem.  So we don’t have to worry about it anymore.  We’re cured… if we want to be.

The truth is that any anxiety I feel is evidence of being more concerned with this life than the life to come.

I may or may not be able to afford three college educations.  My children may or may not become drug addicts.  My son may or may not have a parasite that makes his stomach hurt.  God does not require us to have a college education in order to understand His love.  God does not require us to be clean and sober in order to receive His grace.  God does not require us to be healthy in order to live in His ways.  God does not value us based on our checking account, our car title, or the title on our office door.

In the end none of that really matters because none of these things determine my relationship with God.  None of these things determine my eternity.

I still worry, especially about my family.  I probably always will.  I don’t understand how to prevent anxiety anymore now than I did last week in the hospital.  But I take great comfort in the fact that my eternity has nothing to do with my abilities (or lack thereof) or my wealth (or lack thereof) or my success (or lack thereof) or my health (or lack thereof).

My eternity has everything to do with Jesus’ victory over sin in His death and resurrection.  I can be thankful for that.  No matter what happens (or doesn’t happen) today, my sins are forgiven and my eternity is secure in Jesus Christ.  Come illness, come trouble, come injustice, come hardship… nothing can take that away.

I can be thankful for that.

And that is one less thing to worry about.

Happy Easter.

 

 

 

 

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more than a fisherman

So I saw this picture yesterday…

Image

It is a group of protesters from Westboro Baptist Church protesting outside of a Lorde concert in Kansas City.  You can read the full story here or Google it to see more ridiculous protest signs.

What caught my eye were the WBC protest signs. “God hates lukewarm Christians.”  “God hates sluts.”  “God is your enemy.”  There were worse statements but I will not even give the courtesy of repeating them.  At first I was angry with the protesters because this is not exactly good PR for Christianity.  In the end, however, I found myself feeling sorry for them because this protest shows just how much they misunderstand Jesus.

God hates us?

God is our enemy?

Is that how God would describe himself?

Is that even a good evangelism tactic?

If God hates me for my sin, does he also hate you for your sin?

I find this rule often at work in the world.  What people say about God is really a reflection of what they believe about themselves.  For example, a man may say that God hates another person because he himself feels unloved, or worse…. unlovable.  This belief will ultimately take shape in the way he views and treats others.  Believing he is unloved leads to a life in which God’s love is neither received nor shared.

This man thinks he is just a fisherman.

I finally watched Captain Phillips last weekend (it was incredible).  At one point near the end of the movie Captain Rich Phillips has a conversation with Muse, the Somali pirate leader.  Throughout the movie Muse has struggled with inferiority and repeatedly made the statement that he is “just a fisherman.”  He was never surprised when his plans failed to work out.  He never really believed he could accomplish anything.  He believed he was just a fisherman – not a real pirate.  When Muse  finally realizes that his latest plan will also fail he puts a gun to Rich’s head, and the captain says, “You are more than just a fisherman!”

And Muse puts down the gun.  Its like that’s all he wanted to hear.  He just wanted someone to believe in him, and in some very strange way that is what Captain Phillips was communicating to him.  Despite all of his violence, hate, and anger Captain Phillips still saw potential in Muse.

“You are more than just a fisherman.”

It was as if for the first time in his life Muse realized he could be someone different, someone better.  There is still hope for Muse.

As a full-time minister I have all kinds of conversations with people.  People don’t think they can lead a small group because “I don’t read my bible enough.”  People think they can’t participate in a mission trip because “I’m not generous enough.”  People think struggles arise in their lives because “I’m not a godly person.”  My least favorite is when people say something like, “I’m not a good person like you, David.  You’re a professional Christian.  I’m just a (insert occupation).”  As if somehow your career determines your standing with God.  Trust me – “professional” Christians are just as sinful as anyone else.

People often (and unfairly) think poorly of themselves, and so they just assume that God feels the same way.  Somali pirate, Baptist protester, Pop-star, “professional” Christian – we all live life based on our beliefs about ourselves and about our God.  These beliefs will ultimately take shape in how we view and treat others.  If we believe we are unlovable, then we will live a life in which we neither receive nor share God’s love.

We’re missing out on something different, something better.

Let me be the first to say to you today, “You… are more than just a fisherman.”

There is still hope for the 17 year old pop-star and the WBC protester.  There is still hope for the Somali pirates.  There is still hope for the “professional” minister as well as for the accountants and lawyers.  There is still hope for you.   Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over you and takes delight in you.  Romans says that we are indeed sinners, but God dies for us so that we don’t have to stay that way.  Jesus personally says in John 15:9 that his love for us is the same as God’s love for him.  There are no conditional clauses attached to these statements.  These promises are not reserved for a select few.

God loves you.  He delights in you.  He pursues you.  He sacrifices for you.  He believes in you.

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Now remain in my love (John 15:9).”

Jesus deserves every drop of God’s love.  God sees perfection and hope in him.  There is no shame, no condemnation.  Only worthiness.  And Jesus says that his love for you is the same.  He believes you deserve every drop of His love, that you have perfection and hope in you.  He has no desire to condemn you.  He finds you worthy.

God calls us to believe we are loved because of the simple fact that we are.  He sacrificed for us.  He died for us.  Does that sound like hate to you?

Don’t assume God hates you.  Know that He loves you!

Most importantly, live your life out of that love.

 

 

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a life lived for others
September 28, 2011, 9:49 am
Filed under: God, leadership, life, marriage, parenting, people, relationships

Recently under the influence of one of my students, I’ve been hooked on an iPhone app called “Eden.”  Its basically a building-block game in which you can create your own world, from mountains to canyons to seas and even trampolines, water slides, and houses!  For the creative types like myself it can be  pretty exciting and highly addictive… especially in the beginning.  There is such a thrill in creating.  Or maybe the rush is in having full control of my own little world.

One day, I did not feel the thrill or the excitement.  That’s pretty normal when you play iPhone games.  The usual entertainment factor wears off after a few days.  Remember when everyone used to play Words with Friends?  This was different though.  There I was – creating, building, doing what ever I wanted to in my own little world – and a strange though popped into my head:

“I wish I could create people.  I wish I had someone to share this with.”

This world is so cool and fun, yet I have no one to share it with.  I had created a whole world that no one could really live in or enjoy or benefit from in anyway.  While it may seem a little ridiculous considering I’m talking about a video game, another thought popped into my head.  This one is much deeper and much more challenging:

“Life is not meant to be alone.”

I can’t help but think of Genesis 1 when I play this little game, and I think I am beginning to understand a little more of God’s logic in creation.  The existence of the world, in all of its wonder and intricacies, is more than enough to glorify God’s greatness.  Yet, He still chose to create human beings because life is not truly lived until it is lived in relationship with others.  God is not satisfied and He does not rest until He was someone to enjoy His creation, to benefit from His grace, and to share in His love.

We all spend a great deal of time in “our own little world.”  We may not be playing video games or organizing the cosmos, but we do create for ourselves – for our benefit, for our enjoyment, for our pleasure.  We look for how others can benefit us.  We look for how we can use circumstances to better our situation.  We look for how we can make more money, make more time, and get more things for ourselves.  Everything and everyone around us becomes nothing more than building blocks we use to construct what WE want out of life with no concern to others.  But there will always come a point when we discover we are so unsatisfied and so restless.  Could it be that we are living our lives the wrong way because we are living and striving and creating for no one but ourselves?

God is not satisfied and He does not rest until He has someone to enjoy His creation, to benefit from His grace, and to share in His love.  We are created in His image, so why should we expect our lives to be any different?

A life is not truly lived until it is lived for others.  The question for today is not “what do I need?”  The question is “what do they need?”  Be God’s provision for someone else today.  Create a world that benefits others!



anywhere but here

Over the summer I’ve had the opportunity to travel a good bit, which is always good fun.  One of the best parts of road trips, especially youth group road trips, is getting to meet new people.  One one trip I had the pleasure to meet Bobby and Chad, a couple of guys from Indiana.  They were curious about life on the Georgia coast and we talked about fishing and kayaking and beach-bumming and golf and the overall multitude of activities that come when someone asks, “So what is there to do down there?”  Of course, after I shared I returned the question: “So what is there to do in Indiana.”  They both quickly said, “You can go visit Chicago in Illinois or go to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio.”  How hilarious?  Their answer of what to do in Indiana is to LEAVE!

Its been a very enjoyable season for me the past year.  I feel like I’ve had way more highs than lows and a lot more wins than losses.  I feel blessed by what God is going in my life, in my family, and in my ministry.  Of course its not all roses.  There are moments when I think I’d rather be anywhere than where I am right now.  There are those times when things go wrong and people are disappointed and somehow I find myself in the crosshairs of it all.  There are those times when, despite my best effort, I receive criticism, constructive or just plain whiplash.  There are moments when I’m just worn out, weary, and dry.  The downside of having a good season is that it makes the less desirable moments a little harder to take.

Another new friend I met over the summer said this, “Any situation in which you are tempted to complain is a situation when God can use you the most.”  There is a whole lot of truth in that statement if you take the time to think about it.  When I’m at my lowest… When I try my best and things still don’t work out… When I flat out fail… When others let me down… When I have every right to be dissatisfied and to grumble and to be angry and to be bitter and to complain… Those are the moments when God can use me the most.  I can rise above the negative.  I can respond in a Christ-like way.  Even better – I can let Christ respond for me!  Life is not really made up from the moments, situations, or even the relationships we live through.  Life is made up from how we respond to the moments, situations, and relationship we live through.  When you find yourself in a situation and you think, “I’d rather be anywhere but here,” chances are God has you there for a reason!  Instead of complaining about it or trying to fix it or trying to escape it, maybe we should find out why we’re there and what God wants us to do.

Romans 8:28 tells us that “God works all things for the good of those who love Him.”  It doesn’t say that if we love God, everything will be perfect.  It doesn’t say that if we love God, then everything will be easy and enjoyable.  In fact it doesn’t say anything about the “things.”  But the bible is clear on the outcome of the things.  In the end, if we love God and if we trust Him and if we surrender to Him and follow Him in faith – the outcome is GOOD!  You might not be where you want to be right now, but if you hang in there and keep trusting God, you might just find yourself somewhere better than you could ever imagine.

So I’ve had a good season with some challenging moments.  At first glance I want to credit the “good” times as the blessing.  But if I’m totally honest as I look back, its not the “good” times that made it a blessing but rather the growth that came from persevering through the “challenging times.  God does work good in all things.

I wasn’t satisfied with the answers Bobby and Chad gave me, so I pressed them a little harder.  They started sharing some special moments they had experienced with family and friends.  Despite Indiana’s lack of natural entertainment and big cities, these guys had some strong families and strong friendships.  God has done some cool things in their lives and continues to work in their lives through those relationships.  Maybe Indiana isn’t so bad after all.

So where are you today?  What are you going through?  Are you thinking, “I’d rather be anywhere than here?”  That could be just the beginning of something really special.  Find out what it is!

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how god answers prayers

Its been a busy summer for me (i.e. I haven’t posted in a few months), but I’m thankful for the busy-ness and a little sad that things are about to slow down.  I’ve had the privilege to do a lot of really fun things with a lot of really fun people in the name of ministry.  Not a bad gig at all.

It hasn’t been all fun though.  The truth is, I have had to do a good bit of hard work.  Our youth group took on two fairly large mission projects this summer.  Right here at home we helped repaint two inner city churches.  We fought heat, humidity, wildfire smoke, and orange thieves the whole time.  Yes – one day someone on the street stole a bag of oranges right out of my hands.  His exact words were, “Gimme ‘dem oranges.”  I guess vitamin C is a hot commodity on the street.  Despite the citrus set back, we were able to do for these churches what they could not afford to do on their own financially or physically.

We also traveled to McDowell County, West Virginia.  McDowell, in the height of the coal mining boom, was the richest county in West Virginia.  Now it is one of the most impoverished in all of the United States.  We repaired a couple of homes, but the real work was hosting a Kids’ Club each day for local children.  Our skits were not the most entertaining, our songs were not the prettiest, and our crafts didn’t always look like they should have; but we loved on some kids who seldom feel, see, or hear love.

At the end of both projects I heard something amazing that has forever changed the way I view prayer and Christianity.  Pastor Newberry, whose church we repainted, said that he had been praying for 8 years that God would send someone to help him restore his building.  Being a Pastor is not his full time job. In fact, it doesn’t pay at all.  So repainting the building has never been an option for him.  So for almost a decade he has prayed everyday that God would send someone to help.  As he told our students, “I had no idea that God would send a bunch of teenagers to help me!”  We laughed at that remark and then he made a profound statement:

“Because of you, my faith is stronger.”

In West Virginia we were lead by Experience Mission and our Kids’ Club coordinator, Melisa.  Melisa shared that the previous weeks had been a little tough, that the groups didn’t seem to be focused on the kids and that the love just wasn’t there.  As a result they had more discipline problems, lack of interest, and lack of participation.  Before we arrived she asked her prayer team to pray for a team that would love the kids and be excited about ministry.  She shared all of this with our students (who did a very good job) at the end of the week, and let us know that we were the answer to her prayer.

“Because of you, my faith is stronger.”

I’m not sharing all of this to pat myself or my group on the back. In fact, when I hear these kind of statements I am extremely humbled.  I even want to run away from it.  Me?  An answer to prayer?  Impossible.  I didn’t really do anything. It wasn’t even that hard or that grandiose.  How could someone like me be an answer to prayer?

I am learning very quickly, however, that we have the power and ability everyday in every situation to increase or decrease the faith of others.  We have the ability to be an answer to prayer.  We may have to do things that are uncomfortable and put ourselves in situations that are less than desirable.  We may have to look downright foolish.  We will definitely have to put our own desires and needs aside and place others above ourselves.  But if we are willing to be used, we could be the answer to someone’s prayer.

I’m learning that prayer is answered, not necessarily in earth-shattering miracles or in divine displays of heavenly authority, but in community.  Pastor Newberry’s prayer for his building was answered.  Melisa’s prayer for a good team was answered.  The children of Gary, WV pray for love and they received it.  The real kicker is that I asked God to teach me about prayer this summer and He has flat out blown my mind on the subject.  It didn’t happen in any other way than by living in community, loving each other and serving each other.

“Because of you, my faith is stronger.”

So look around you.  Who are the people around you?  What is happening around you?  Where can you go into action answering prayers?

That simple conversation I shared with Pastor Newberry and the look of relief and joy on Melisa’s face will always be with me.  God used me to answer someone else’s prayer.  God could snap His fingers and take care of everything, but yet He chooses to use us to serve each other and love each other.  He uses us as miracles and answers in each others’ lives.  He uses us to increase one anothers’ faith!

The real joy is that once we realize this truth and live in it, our faith grows exponentially!  I hope that you will strive to be the answer to someone’s prayer today, that someone might even say, “Because of you, my faith is stronger.”

 



not forsaken

This post is longer than usual because I have a lot to say.  Please take the extra time to read it because it really is important, or just check out the short version.  Thank you!

I’ve been studying the Psalms intently for about a year now.  I’m constantly blown away by the beauty, the honesty, and the transcendence of the words.  When you read a Psalm, you can feel what the author is feeling – pain, joy, frustration, anger, hope.  The Psalms are raw and they are real.  Perhaps that is why I’m so drawn to them and they minister to me so much.

Its hard to pick a favorite, but Psalm 9 has been sticking with me over the past few weeks.  Listen to verse 9 & 10:

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, 
   a stronghold in times of trouble. 
Those who know your name trust in you, 
   for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

These are my favorite verses because they echo a proclamation that is heard throughout the book of Psalms: God’s gonna make this work – He always has and He always will.  Many of these Psalms, especially the Psalms of David, were written in times of struggle and darkness and despair and doubt and frustration.  David was promised a kingdom, yet he spent much of his life running and hiding like a criminal.  No wonder he struggled with doubt.  But he was never overcome with it.  David had seen God’s faithfulness before, and therefore he knew he would see it again.  Though his present situation may be more than undesirable, David knew that his present did not determine God’s future.  Maybe we should personalize that statement: Our present does not determine God’s future.  God can do all sorts of amazing things through difficulty and challenge… if we let Him.  As David says, God has never forsaken those who seek Him.

I love how David ends this Psalm, saying, “Arise, O Lord!”  Its like he’s saying, “Okay, God, I don’t really know what you’re up to right now in my life.  Honestly, its kind of difficult.  But I’ve faced difficulty before and You’ve always been faithful in trying times.  So, arise.  I dare you.  Show me what too-wonderful-for-me-to-comprehend kind of thing You’re going to do.”  For David, difficulty was an opportunity to see God move.  What a beautiful thing.

My sister-in-law is in the hospital right now trying not to have a baby.  Her husband is there with her, using a hospital recliner as his bedroom/dining room/office.   The hospital is over an hour away from their home,their jobs, their church, their friends, their family, and their 2 year old daughter.  She went into premature labor a few weeks ago (that’s right – she’s been in labor for almost 3 weeks!).  Now she is on permanent bed-rest, trying to keep that baby from being born as long as she can so that he can grow and develop as much as possible.  They’ve been living in that hospital for several weeks, and even after the baby is born they will most likely spend even longer there.

Its a difficult situation and of course its hard on them.  But you wouldn’t know it.  They keep smiling and laughing and facebooking and tweeting, shining the light of Christ into the lives of everyone who comes near.  They have named the baby (a boy named Breaker) and they continue to live life as normally as they can… getting ready for the next step in their future… preparing for this new life to join their family.  Their hope is as inspiring as it is infectious.

So lately, as I read Psalm 9 – this poem of unmerciful hope in the direst of situations, I cannot help but think of Courtney and Jarrett because they are embodying this message more than anyone I know.  They have not let their present determine God’s future.  Its merely a speed-bump… an opportunity to see God move.

From time to time, here and there, I’ve been known to write a song or two.  Throughout my study of the Psalms this year I’ve been trying to write and record songs based on the Psalms that particularly stir my soul.  I call the little side-project Telepsalm.  I never really intended on sharing these songs with anyone (and I still don’t), as its my own personal form of worship and devotion.  But I’ve been so inspired by Courtney and Jarrett that I would like to share my version of Psalm 9 with them and with you.

If you follow the link below you can listen to the song, and, hopefully, if it so inspires you, share it with someone else who needs to claim a little bit of hope in trying times.  But I’ll ask you to go one step further and purchase a download of this song.  100% of the proceeds will be donated to March of Dimes in honor of Courtney, Jarrett, and their children.  You can pay whatever amount you feel led to give.  Let’s give Courtney and Jarrett a little extra help, and lets help them spread their hope to others in similar situations.

Click HERE to listen/download “Not Forsaken” and to donate to March of Dimes.  To meet the Bridges and to send them some encouragement, click HERE.  To learn more about the March of Dimes, click HERE.  Thank you for your time and your support!

God is a refuge and a stronghold for those in trouble.  We can trust Him no matter what.  He has never forsaken those who seek Him.

Arise, O God!

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the business of impossible
May 10, 2011, 9:01 am
Filed under: God, life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was talking with a close friend the other day, who also works in the youth ministry profession.  We were coming up with ideas for how to get a buzz going about something that is important to us and to youth ministry.  For the most part my ideas were pretty basic and easy to do.  His were not.  His biggest idea was to stage one of those “hold hands across the state” things… you know the one – where you literally get people to line up across the state and hold hands.  I can’t fathom how this would work,and I said so.  He said we just needed people to “adopt” mile markers along the way.  But how many people would that be? Immediately my friend picked two cities, calculated the distance in miles between the two. estimated how many feet an average person can reach from hand to hand, and came up with a number of people per mile we would need.

It was not as many people as I thought.  All of a sudden the impossible looked possible.

My sister-in-law is in the hospital right now trying NOT to have a baby (she went into labor 12 weeks to soon).  The goal is to NOT have the baby for 6 more weeks.  That seems like a long time.  But that’s not how she’s looking at it.  She set a goal to get through 1 night without labor, which she did.  Now her goal is to make it 1 week.  Next will be 2 weeks.

All of a sudden the impossible seems possible.

This weekend we took a family trip to the beach.  As any healthy boys would do, my two spend most beach days digging a hole in the sand.  On this trip they found a neighboring family whose son had already started a pretty impressive cave in the sand.  When we were sufficiently baked and the baby was at the point when she’s either going to fall asleep peacefully or scream like banshee, I announced to my boys that it was time to go.  The 3 year old refused.  I said it again – time to go!  At this point I could not see him, and could faintly hear his voice coming from the depths of the hole: “We can’t leave yet!  We’re almost to China!”  Obviously, he was nowhere near China, but for him and his 3 year old mind, each scoop of sand he threw out was one more step towards his goal.

For him, the impossible seemed possible.

Life can be overwhelming.  The things we want and need can so often seem so unreachable and so impossible.  Sometimes life can be so burdensome that we feel like God doesn’t even want us to have anything good.   This is far from true.  In fact, God is in the business of making the impossible possible.  But that doesn’t come without some level of struggle and strain here and there.

The Israelites often became overwhelmed as we read through the Old Testament.  They kept repeating this cycle of inheriting all the good things God planned for them, then becoming over-confident in their own abilities, forgetting about God, and finally being overthrown by a pagan government/empire.  As I would probably be, once in captivity or exile or slavery or all of the above, the Israelites would very quickly see how good they had it and remember God.  Yet, He felt so far away.

Can you relate?  Have you ever looked at life and thought: “Wait!  This isn’t what I planned?  This wasn’t the goal?”  Or maybe you thought you would have reached that goal by now.  Or maybe you just feel like you CAN’T reach that goal.  That’s how the Israelites felt.  They felt like they had lost it all and it would be impossible to ever get it back.  How fortunate for the Israelites and for us that God is in the business of making the impossible possible.

Listen to the words of Isaiah:

“The LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!  People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  How gracious he will be when you cry for help!  As soon as he hears, he will answer you.  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

What a beautiful passage.  Our lives may consist of adversity and affliction, but there is a God who longs to be gracious to us.  He just waiting on us to ask for help.  And when we do ask for help, how will he send it?  Step by step – “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”  With God, the impossible is possible – whether you’re digging to China or trying NOT to have a baby or just trying to hold hands with a few thousand people – Follow God step by step and you’ll be there before you know it!




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