Really Relating

LIFE, LOVE, AND THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MAKE IT ALL MATTER

A Future and A Hope 01/29/2010

Filed under: Circumstances,Future,God,Hope,Pain,Plans,Promises from God — Vickey Banks @ 5:57 pm

“What if things don’t get better?”

That’s the question a hurting friend asked me last week. It was a valid question, considering her circumstances. In a desperate attempt to encourage her, loved ones keep telling my friend what loved ones often say when we’re hurting:

   “Things will get better.”
   
But…what if they don’t?
   
I understand her question; honestly, it’s one I’ve asked God before. Like my friend, I live with chronic physical pain. Every flipping day. And some days, well, if I’m honest (and I am), I’m just done. Finished. Worn slick from painting on a happy face, I can’t help but wonder if this is as good as it gets. My weary self wants to focus on all the things I can’t do because of wacked out discs and the potentially grim future ahead. 
Ahhh…but then I remember a precious promise from God, 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.
They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
– The Bible, Jeremiah 29:11
  
While that might not change my circumstances, it radically rearranges my reality. Because of Him,  
  
I have a future… I have a hope.
   
The God of the Bible doesn’t do random. He’s the same God who created the plants before He created the animals and people who would need the plants to survive. He’s a God of logic and order. Along with His profound purposefulness, He is loving and not mean-spirited. That means that as long as He leaves me here on planet Earth, He has good reason. He has plans with my name of them; Plans for my good. A future filled with hope.
  
You know what?
  
The same is true for you.

Really Relating
How does it make you feel to know that God has plans with your name on them?
 

What God (Sweetly) Shouts In Our Pain 01/26/2010

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Do you ever feel surrounded by hurting people?

Look around you now. They’re everywhere. From Haiti to your own home, people are hurting. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, people are flat worn out from dealing with pain.

  
Maybe it’s the person sitting in your chair.
  
During the darkest night of my soul, when I was sure that I could NOT handle one more miniscule drop of pain and thought I seriously just might lose my ever lovin’ mind, I did the only thing I knew to do: I ran to God. Kicking. Screaming. Crying uncontrollably. Arms flailing. Heart questioning. Desperate.
  
It was the smartest thing I ever did.
  
I opened up His Word, leaned in close, and listened with every fiber of my being. Here is what God (sweetly) shouted to me:
  
I Understand
   
As I looked closely at Jesus’ life, I drew huge comfort from the fact that He also was so deeply moved when a beloved friend died that He couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. He knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed with sorrow, to feel abandoned by His friends, and to be so undone by His circumstances that He begged God to change them. As I saw Him described as despised and forsaken, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, I knew that Jesus understood pain. God walked around this earth on human legs and felt the same kind of pain that you and I experience.
   
And. He. Cried.
   
I See and Hear YOUR Pain
 
God doesn’t just know pain, He knows our pain. Psalm 139 promises that He searches and knows us so intimately that He knows our very thoughts and what we’re going to say before we even say it. He cares deeply when our hearts are broken.  He begs us to pour out our hearts to Him, offering to be the refuge we need.
 
I Will Never Leave You
 
When His disciples where upset that He was leaving this earth, Jesus assured them that God would follow up by forevermore sending His believers the Holy Spirit to live inside them, ensuring He’d be with us forever. Throughout Scripture He lovingly assures us that He will never leave us to manage life on our own.
 
I Will Take Care of You
 
Among His many promises, this is perhaps the most comforting for me, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) No amount of pain is bigger than the God who holds onto us. That is comfort you can count on.
What has God (sweetly) shouted to you in your pain?