August 31, 2009

God's Love and Deliverance

Those that profess Christ are taught that God loves us and will never leave us nor forsake us, so when we find ourselves in the struggle of a lifetime we begin to wonder does God love us? Where is He? If He loves us so much, why am I suffering so? Why is He taking so long? I think these questions are normal if we don’t adequately define love or understand God’s timing. Is love something that makes us feel good and happy all the time? Is it something that gives us what we want, when we want it, and how we want it? I mean, if someone loves you, won’t they do everything they possibly can to make you happy? Well, I would have to say the answer to all of these questions is no. Love in action is, doing for another what is best for them. It is always loving, but it isn’t always easy or even pleasant. Someone who loves us doesn't always tell us what we want to hear, and they don’t always give us what we want, especially when it may be bad for us. We may think we are asking for a fish, but God knows it is a snake. God’s word in Hebrews 12:6 tells us,
“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.”
By this verse we see that some of the pain we experience is because of God’s discipline, but not all. Much of the suffering we endure is simply because we live in a fallen world that doesn't acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Some pain is brought on by us, some brought on by other people or by circumstances. Romans tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. We can praise God for the good in our lives and for the bad that He has or will turn to good on our behalf. As we endure hardship, one of the hardest things to do is wait on God. We wonder why, if He loves us, hasn't He answered us. Or, if He loves us why is He taking so long. God’s love and the timing in His deliverance should not be related one to the other, at least not in human terms. The very waiting He is asking us to do may be the greatest evidence of God’s love for us. I recently read in the book, “Get Out Of That Pit” by Beth Moore, a wonderful description of what it means to wait on God. She related this to Psalms 40:1-2 where David said,
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
These are Beth’s words, " . . . we may have to wait for deliverance while the vehicle of time jolts and lurches, but we never have to wait on God Himself. Never have to wait to enjoy His presence or be reassured of His love. If we’re willing to take God at His Word, we can have any one of those relational delights instantly. The only wait is on seeing His work manifest in the physical realm, seeing our petition come to fruition. Despite appearances, huge things happen as you wait upon the Lord to deliver you from the pit.” She goes on to say, “As you read the psalmist’s description of having waited patiently for the lord, don’t get the idea that he sat around in the mire, sinking deeper every minute, telling God to take all the time He needed. The phrase 'waited patiently' is translated qwh . . . Here, the Hebrew qwh is translated expect. . . The psalmist didn't sit in the pit and twiddle his muddy thumbs until God delivered him. He postured himself in absolute expectation.”--

I believe this is what trust looks like. When we can’t see what God is doing and we make up our minds that we believe Him regardless of what our circumstances look like or what the world tell us, standing only on His word, believing it to be true, this is trust. We aren't trusting that we’ll get exactly what we want when we want it, but we are trusting for Him to deliver His good to us in His timing because He loves us, and this means He has our best in mind all of the time. I've never know the nearness of God or what it truly means to trust Him more than when I am in pain and helpless to do anything about it. When we become powerless to do anything about our circumstances on our own, and we have nothing but God, it frees us to depend solely on Him and WOW! He does amazing things when we get out of the way.

What I have learned recently, and what I hope you will gain from this is that God’s love for you is immeasurable and unaffected by our circumstances. He can’t love us more or less. He loved us enough to send his only son to die a bloody death for us, and it is because of that blood that we have hope. Hope for today, but more importantly hope for the hereafter. As you face the pain and difficulty of the circumstances of your life, wait patiently on God, call on other Christians to stand with you, believe His word to be true, and know that you are not waiting on God's presence, you are standing in expectation of His deliverance. And remember sometimes He delivers us in our circumstances and not necessarily out of them. He has your best interest at heart and will bring good to you and turn the bad to good. Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.

By the way, the fact that David needed to be delivered out of the mire and muck of a slimy pit means that he was capable of falling into it or being thrown into it in the first place. Being God’s child doesn't mean we are always sure footed, but it does mean that God will make us so if we take His hand as He lifts us up out of the mud. We’ll find ourselves back on the rock, looking back from a distance, with a greater faith and a deeper knowledge of who He is and how He works in our lives.

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