“Come To God often just to sit in His presence and renew yourself. Nothing is as important as lowliness of heart and detachment from our own opinion and will.” Fenelon in 100 days in the secret place

i read this again today and it moved my heart again, afresh.

it moves me in the context of praying for a family whose husband and father were killed in a cycling accident on thursday night.  he leaves behind a wife and 3 children, age 7, 3 and 5 months.  they are a christian family.  the 7 year old was in my sons class last year and so we know them by sight and by casual chatting and conversation.  the last time i saw him was wednesday as i picked my son up from school, he was carrying his son on his shoulders, an involved loving vital father.  my heart breaks for this unexpected shocking death – it was surreal when caleb came home and told me what had happened.  and so i have spent the weekend, thinking about how change and loss can come in a blink, and i have when i have thought of it, prayed for his family left behind.

life is fragile.  unexpected things happen.  yet we can be assured that God knows the day of our birth, and the day of our death, and all in between and that he holds our life in his hands.  even in the unexpected.  even in the darkness.  even in the sorrow and the pain.

this is why it is important, necessary, vital that we know how to come to God.  that we know how to find him.  that we walk with him.  that we trust him.

Often when we are going through a hard time – the time of the unexpected and out of  control and darkness – sitting down to pray and read the bible and talk to God is soooo the last thing we want to do or do full stop.

We can get angry with God – when will this stop? Why wont you intervine? Pleeeese God come? You know… all of those things are valid and real.

David was a big stomp ya feet say how he really felt kind of guy. His psalms are filled with WOE IS ME and emotions that I read as angry and depressed (its all in the tone of voice…) but then he also gets it in perspective and remembers God and His ways and that gives him peace and strength to carry on.  He finds God.

Psalm 73:16-17 When I thought deeply in order to understand this, it was painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.

In this Psalm David is going through a really hard time on all fronts. His understanding came when he went and spent time with God. Likewise for us – we may look at our circumstances and go “da wah?” and throw our hands up in despair.

We need to remember to come and sit and pray and read the Bible. Sometimes just even putting on a good worship CD can bring us into the presence of God.

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah forever.

We may not get any answers from God.

We may come away from a prayer time with no firm understanding.

But we need to UNDERSTAND that God is God and God is good and loves us and is at work in our lives, to work ALL things for good for His glory and purposes. Your hard times may give you the experience that is able to help others.  Yes, even the most darkest unimaginable pain.

2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

The value of spending time with God is that we hear His voice, we can feel His presence –we can remind ourselves of WHO he is and draw closer, knowing that as we draw near to Him he draws near to us.

Even if God is silent the time is not a waste. It is relationship building. It can bring comfort when we drop the walls. It changes us whether we feel like it or not.

the challenge for us to to be still and know God, to be still from our own efforts and to recognize who God is – the one who loves us and cares for us and is at work and is also refining us.  to have lowliness of heart and detachment from our own opinion and will. to surrender and fix our eyes upon him and his greatness and his almightyness and his love…  to not look with our own one sided human fragile understanding.   its hard to do that in the darkest places of living.  when life doesn’t make sense its hard to be still and come and trust God.  but he is our strong tower, our refuge, our Father.   he cares for us so much.  he is with us.

when we stop and take time to pray and read the Word we are fixing our eyes upon him, not upon the cirucmstances of our life and not upon the hard times.  we fix our eyes on the rock that is greater than us, greater than all things.  we build our faith.

there is one key aspect of prayer that we sometimes forget, esp if we are going through the flood and fire.  that is to listen.  to listen to what God is saying IN that time.  God is with us, he promises to walk with us in the flame and flood and though we feel scorched and drowned  we are not.  we need to be encouraged by God.  just a glimpse of him makes it all worth it.  makes life do-able.  just a glimpse of him gives us hope.

keep coming and pressing in untill you get that glimpse and that hope.  dont give up.  dont stop for a minute and then give up because “God didnt come right then.”  sometimes part of the challenge of a hard time is that we need to persist and press in and seek God and not give up.  the Word of God is truth and right.  we need to trust it and live by it and have faith in it.

we need to be like the woman who had the issue of blood who did not give up on her miracle because of the circumstances.   did you know that because of Levitical Law that she was unclean and had to live in isolation and that everyone she touched was also made unclean.  she was not allowed to be near people let alone in a crowd!  but she had heard about Jesus and his power and said to herself, encouraging herself, building faith in herself, if only i touch his cloak i will be healed.  she went into the crowd.  and she touched Jesus.  she graspedthe edge of his cloadk and was healed by the power of God.  She did not allow her circumstances to limit her.  she pressed through.

in our own lives we face obstacles and hard times.  have faith that God can use them to shape your character and conform you into the image of Jesus.

know also that he loves you and that as you draw near to him he DOES draw near to you.

be encouraged that he is with you as he promises in isaiah 43:1-2

have faith in God.

dont give up.

find him today.