Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you, nor forsake you.
Have you ever noticed how people compare winter with darkness or a cold eerie feeling? “Her heart was cold as winter settled in and there was no warmth, no light.” But isn’t it interesting what comes after a long winter? Spring. Spring brings new life, growth, sunshine, and warmer days. I feel like there are many people that winter has settled in on their hearts. They stay in, communicate little, and keep waiting, hoping for a brighter day. The grass has died. The garden is frozen over, as is the state of your heart. The numbness has settled in, and you’re not exactly sure how to move on.
I will say there has been a string of events that have shocked the nation and the rebuilding has only yet to begin. With Haiti’s devastation and then with Chili’s earthquake, I’m like, “Okay Lord, what’s happening?” And then there’s the things going on around me with people right here. Marriages that I thought were solid are ending in divorce, husbands (several) leading a double life. I have another friend who recently miscarried and my heart breaks for her. And I ask myself, why does life have to hurt so much? So many of these people are amazing people that serve the Lord with their lives and yet they are going through much pain and suffering. There are many moms out there who are dealing with their teenagers making unwise choices. Many walk around with a smile on their face but inside their stomach is in knots. The loss of a job has sent some spiraling into a depression.
I say to you today hold on, because there is hope. What would our lives be without hope? Where would we be today if we had not held on to our faith in Jesus Christ? A faith in Him that promises a better tomorrow, a faith in Him that promises we will get past this, and we will survive. And not just survive, but thrive. One of my favorite quotes from Barbra Johnson is, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not another train coming at you!” In John 16:33 (NIV) we read “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I wish it read, “in this world you might have trouble”, but Jesus says you WILL have trouble. But He also reassures us to take heart, because He has already overcome the world. He’s not just leaving us all alone and saying, “Good luck, hope it all works out for you down there!” God said in Hebrews 13:5b “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”.
This week, I was reminded of the Bible story about Moses. You can read the full story in Exodus 13:17-14:31. Moses was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. And the people saw and experienced Gods faithfulness daily. In Exodus 13:21-22 we read “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” As I thought about the Israelites, I imagined how they must have been feeling. They were tired and weary from their travels. Here they reach the Red Sea and in verse 14:7 we read that Pharaoh “took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.” Here’s all these moms carrying their babies and young children and Pharaoh’s army will be satisfied with nothing short of their death. I think frightened would be an understatement. These Israelites had made it so far, but had God brought them this far only for their lives to end in bloodshed? They remembered Gods promises. They knew He was a faithful God. I’m reminded of that Rich Mullins song, “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by. And He will never break His promise…” The people were scared and Moses said in Exodus 14:13-14, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
And the Lord told Moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites could go through the sea on dry ground. And the Red Sea parted with just enough time for the Israelites to safely cross, and once they got to the other side the Lord told Moses to stretch out his hand and the waves overtook the Egyptians and not one of them survived.
I’m not sure what you’re going through right now, but I know I was supposed to write this blog. I say to you today: these rivers, they will not overtake you and these waves, they will not crush you. Just like the Israelites desperately needed to be delivered, I say to you your deliverer is coming and He will never break His promise to you. The Lord will fight for you. Be still and know that He is God.
I wish I could tell you that you will never have to experience pain or grief, but that’s not going to happen. There will be a day, when we will no longer experience the pain of this world. I so look forward to this day as described in Revelation 21:4 (Amplified Bible), “God will wipe away every tear from our eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall their be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain anymore, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.”
Winter is coming to an end, and your spring is near. I pray for you new life, growth, sunshine, and warmer days.