Rough Seas

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

 

Have you ever watched a movie where there is a small boat on rough seas?

Have you ever felt the need to change their circumstances so that they will be ok?

Do you know what it is like to know someone was in danger and unable to do anything for them?

Have you ever told someone that “it will be ok” not wanting to sound trite, but knowing that you have

survived the same tragedy and come out better for it?

 

A while ago, a young woman came to my house and was pouring her heart out to me about a situation that she had no control over. She was shaken to the core.

What distressed me the most is that she had lost hope. Lost hope in herself and lost hope in God. As far as she was concerned – the situation she had in her life right now was never going to be resolved. She had stopped sleeping properly and seemed very down.

I had spoken to her about going to the doctors and looking after herself, as I was concerned for her…very much so. Finally, she uttered these words “It will never change, there is nothing that anyone can do”.  My heart sank.

The only words I could utter was “Even if we cannot see or do anything, have you considered that God is able to change the situation?”

She looked at me and shook her head to the negative. Yes, she has lost hope in even God. I prayed for her then and still do now.

Her heartache was clear in my mind yesterday when I was reading Psalm 46 (which I have added in full at the end of the blog). The words in this Psalm struck home in my heart. A faith that is unshaken in an awesome and powerful Creator who is still Almighty God despite the raging, shaking and roaring. The Psalmist is sure that we need to be still and fully understand that He is God. It seems that the psalmist is not only speaking to the elements and enemies, but to our trouble soul.

While pondering this Psalm I was reminded by a song that I hadn’t heard for years. It was a song sung by Steven Curtis Chapman

 

God is God

 

And the pain falls like a curtain on the things I once called certain

And I have to say the words I fear the most I just don’t know

And the questions without answers, come and paralyze the dancer

So I stand here on the stage afraid to move

Afraid to fall, oh, but fall I must on this truth that my life has been formed from the dust

 

God is God and I am not

I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting

God is God and I am man

So I’ll never understand it all

For only God is God

 

And the sky begins to thunder and I’m filled with awe and wonder

‘Til the only burning question that remains is who am I

Can I form a single mountain? Take the stars in hand and count them?

Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me

He is first and last before all that has been

Beyond all that will pass

 

Oh, how great are the riches of His wisdom and knowledge

How unsearchable for to Him and through Him and from Him are all things

So let us worship before the throne

Of the One who is worthy of worship alone

 

Steven Curtis Chapman

Songwriter: Steve Earle God Is God lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

For many people their faith has been shaken by lives in trouble, and the hopelessness that comes to them in these times of deep heartache and tragedy. They cannot hear the words of comfort that you speak, or the hope that you have to share. The situation that is upon them seems to be greater than God, bigger than the anything they have ever seen, and more daunting than any high mountain climb. Even though they are aware that others have gone before them and that there is no new pain that someone has not faced before, they question God and demand to know why this is happening to them. When He does not fix the issue, or save them from the situation, they become angry and turn away from God – the One who could help them through the pain.

In the past few months I have seen 6 women go through stuff that no one should have  to go through. I am watching as three of these women are at peace, are drawing closer to God and become stronger in their faith. These three ladies all have something in common. They know, love and trust their Heavenly Father – no matter what they go through. The peace that they have been given, radiates from them. Their testimony is powerful. Their relationship with God cemented in love from and for Him.

Their relationship with God was strong before the heartache and it stood the shaking and testing. In many ways the relationship that they have with God is not very unlike the relationship in a marriage. If it is strong, it will remain strong even in the tough times.

I encourage you to develop the type of relationship with God that survives when the world shakes around you? I encourage you to read His word and ask the question of yourself – Do I trust God when things are rough or am I just in the relationship for the smooth times? Am I prepared to go have God at the helm of your life no matter what it is like right now? Or have you thrown Him from the boat a while ago, happy to be the captain of your own ship?

Hand Him the captaincy of your life before you hit the rough seas. If He is not God of all, He is not God at all.

I can’t answer those questions for you. Only you will know. Start now, to hang on to the One who knows the future and can be with you through it all. Get to know the God you believe in. Soak in the Word of God. Have faith now, live for Him now.

God is trustworthy – I know this to be true. Find it out for yourself and know His peace.

 

Be blessed

 

Psalm 46 (NLT)

1 God is our refuge and strength,

always ready to help in times of trouble.

2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come

and the mountains crumble into the sea.

3 Let the oceans roar and foam.

Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude

4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,

the sacred home of the Most High.

5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.

From the very break of day, God will protect it.

6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble!

God’s voice thunders,and the earth melts!

7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;

the God of Israel[b] is our fortress. Interlude

8 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:

See how he brings destruction upon the world.

9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth.

He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;

he burns the shields with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

I will be honored by every nation.

I will be honored throughout the world.”

11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;

the God of Israel is our fortress.

Time Out.

 

 

 

This week for me so far has been about taking time out. Not because I want it, not because I asked for it- but because it was forced. Yes, I came to a complete and total stop and I couldn’t do anything about it. Time out to heal was necessary.

On Saturday, I was lifting a full basket of dirty clothes, when I twisted sideways to get through the door. My back cracked and I almost fell to the floor, as my legs gave away momentarily. I dropped the clothes and hung onto the wall as the world spun. After a few moments, I felt ok so re-lifted the basket and took it to the laundry room. Within 15 minutes I could not bend, sit, walk, stand or move without pain.

Saturdays are busy. I wash, clean, cook and run my children around as their social lives kick into full gear.  Not this day, by lunch time I was in so much pain that I kept needing to go and lay down. I tried painkillers, anti-inflammatories, heat packs, cold packs, stretching and finally bedrest.

I figured that if I pushed through I would be fine. To make a long story short, Monday morning I wanted to do one more thing before taking myself off to the doctors…. Yes… that is where I stayed until help came. I rang the health hotline and they called the ambulance. Monday night I spent in hospital… and I had to stop.

The feeling of vulnerability and helplessness was something that I neither like nor wanted. The mummy of the house could not do what she usually accomplishes. Instead of others relying on me, I was relying on others.

The lessons I learnt over a few days were memorable.

First lesson I learnt was that I have a wonderful group of friends.

What took my attention was that I have two friends a that are single mums. They were right there doing stuff for me and offering to do stuff for me constantly. They rang me, visited me, and were… well… very present.

To add to this further, I know I had people who would have been there at the drop of a hat if I had called – I know this from experiance. Then there was a wonderful lady who got my eldest to school. So many people that helped me out.

I found this very humbling. These women are not part of my church family, they are simply women (mostly Christian) who have become part of my life in this small town. To see their eagerness to help was very overwhelming.

My God is very present as well. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” I know my God is very present, this too is overwhelming.

The second thing I came to understand more was, that I have sons that are wonderful young men and I could rely on them when things were hard. I could spend a few pages bragging about their kindness, but I won’t. I need to tell you something I learnt.

I realised that there were things I needed to teach my children, that I had not taught them.

Why not? Because I had always done it for them.

Now, please understand me, my boys do a lot. They dust, clean, vacuum, sweep and do a great job. I have sons that have clean rooms… yep, you read correctly…. I have teenagers with clean rooms. I never need to mow the lawn anymore, because they do it. Their chore list is long enough, in their eyes, but that is not what I am talking about. There were things that I thought were just common sense, because I had been doing them for a long time.

For example, one night my eldest and I hung out the clothes. The next morning, I watched him walk out the door to the back yard, he muttered something as he walked out the door. Next minute he hauls in a basket of clothes and plonks them on the bed beside me. The conversation went like this –

Me:        What is that?

Him:      The clothes from last night.

Me:        Wow… Thank you… are they dry?

Him:       I don’t know. (and throws me a pair of shorts)

Me:        They aren’t dry.

Him:       Well, they will be fine, they will dry in a little while.

Me:        Um, no they won’t. Sorry, you need to go and hang these back up.

Him:      Oh my goodness me!! I have just taken them off!!!

My son had never seen me check to see if the clothes were dry. Because I have been doing the washing for 40 years, I suppose that I have bit of an understanding when things are dry. He didn’t know that. He had only seen me walk out and take clothes off the line.

It reminded me again that there is so much more I need to teach my boys, in so many ways. All day long I pondered this and the need to sometimes be willing to back away to allow them to be taught. More importantly for me, not to presume that they know.

I know that God often does this with me. He backs away so that I can be taught faith, compassion, patience and mercy…you know…that “stuff”. The “stuff” that we pray for and then don’t like when God answers.

Oh.. and then there is dealing with s..i..n… you know, the stuff we do that breaks our relationship with our God.

Have you ever thought of that?

We really would prefer if character building came in tablet form.  Sugar coated so we don’t get the horrible taste as we swallow life in its realist form. ‘Cause then this would happen…

(Drum roll) Ta da!!

A Super-Christian extraordinaire has arrived!! With bright leotards and a big red cross on our chest. Yeah… anyway… where was I?

We don’t change like that, and neither will my children. If I don’t back off, the boys will always think that they have nothing more to learn. They need to grow and change, so do I.

There is a scripture that everyone knows, but prefer if it doesn’t have to do with them..

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Rom 5:3-4

When we run into troubles and find ourselves in difficulties, then we are developing and growing. God would like us to grow, to become stronger in faith and character. It is really up to us.

I have been proud how my children have not once complained about the extra workload, and they have done it cheerfully and willingly. I wish that I could say the same when God gives me things to do.

Having time out is good, for everyone in my family. Tonight, I was able to cook tea and clean up afterwards with only a few little rest breaks. They were grateful for a cooked meal, and mum back at the table again. And me…I am glad that lessons have been learnt in our household.

Also, I am glad that God has used this time to remind me how much He loves me/us. If He didn’t love me/us, He would leave me and you to our own stubborn ways. My God parents well.

Be blessed.