I have spent the majority of my life in central Indiana. I am a graduate of North centeral High School. I love to travel to visit family, especially my four nieces and nephews who live in Southeast Asia. I am the youngest of three. My oldest sister has Down Syndrome. After graduating from College, I began working at a church and for over 17 years served as a youth pastor and a caring ministries pastor. Currently, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist continuing in ministry through a different context.
I don’t know about you, but who I follow depends on how I feel. This can be a dangerous reality because there are so many things that can influence how I feel. Having something that anchors my actions helps to make sure that I’m continuing in the direction that is led by God.
In our 2 Kings passage today, we see how King Jehu followed the direction of the prophet as laid out by God. He stayed the course. I have to confess that I don’t understand a lot of the direction that God gave to kill and destroy. I recognize that it is the consequence of sin. I understand the theology and struggle with the physical expression of that theology.
“13This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 14 They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd.”
The importance of being anchored in God is expressed in our Psalm passage. As much as I want to trust myself, I also need to have an unshakable trust in and guidance from God who is outside my emotions and thoughts and yet present in the midst of them. Even in my lack of understanding of the Old Testament theology, I have learned to trust the wisdom and compassion of my God.
“28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
My God speaks with an authority that others do not have. His words are good. His love is pure. He is trustworthy. That is why I anchor my life in Him. I follow Him because of Who He is…not because of His specific teachings or how I feel. I am not perfect in my trust. My God is perfect and I am seeking to trust Him more.
Dear God, Thank you for being trustworthy, compassionate and present. Thank you for being the strong and constant anchor for my soul. May I continue to rely on you and follow you.
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.”
Psalms 47:1-2 NIV
What makes you shout for joy?
There are many things that make me shout for joy. When my sports team wins. When I achieved something I have been working towards. When someone I love achieves something they have been working hard on.
So much of the time, we shout for joy when something goes our way. What happens when it doesn’t? What happens when God doesn’t provide? When God doesn’t deliver? We see again and again in scripture of those suffering for a greater cause…a greater purpose…and with joy.
They shout for joy because they remember. They remember how God has sustained them and provided for them. What can you remember today about how God has provided for you?
Dear Lord, thank you for your provision. In the midst of heartache, thank you for your presence and the gift of your mercy and grace. May we always remember. May those memories provide joy. Amen.
How does the God who is worthy of Bronze sculptures and Gold Furnishings allow the sons of Korah to question His intentions so blatantly?
“Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”
Psalms 44:23-24 NIV
The boldness of the sons of Korah in Psalm 44 is amazing to me. Have you ever been as honest with God as the sons of Korah? There was one time in particular where I strongly questioned God and His intentions in my life. My heart was broken, I was confused and felt extremely alone. I thought I had heard Him so clearly telling me to continue walking in a specific direction. My hurt and pain led to me being honest with God with language that I don’t normally use with those in my life.
How could I have so misheard Gods voice? Did I mishear or did God intentionally lead me into heartache?
I know I can be honest with God, however, He is still God. The creator of the universe. The one worthy of gold altars and bronze pillars. He is capable of destroying with just a thought. He is also My God that I love and serve and believe loves me in return. So how honest can I be?
I hear a sarcasm in the words of Psalm 44. They knew God wasn’t asleep but in their despair and hurt they were communicating to God what His silence felt like. In the end they called on that love to hear them and rescue them.
“Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.”
Psalms 44:26 NIV
Honesty with God has more to do with our heart and our need to be heard than it does with God. He knows. He already knows what we need. Vulnerably sharing with God what’s going on in our hearts invites a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. The amazing thing about our God is that He hears through the sarcasm and the harsh words. He sees the heart and His desire is to meet you and comfort you and provide for you.
Dear God, in my imperfect words of honest hurt and pain may I sense your nearness. Forgive my tone and words and hear my heart. Hear the hearts of my friends today. May they find the hope and peace in the midst of pain that you provide. Amen.
“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. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”
Psalms 40:1-3 NIV
Do you ever wonder how you would grieve?
I do all the time. I have had the honor of walking with people as they have faced their own mortality and death and I’ve walked with families as they have faced the death of a loved one. Every single person has faced that time differently.
The words from Psalm 40 above were written by King David. He knew grief!! He knew the grief of death, of injustice, of sin, and of unmet desires and dreams. He intimately knew grief AND he penned the words of so many Psalms. He continued to rejoice in the midst of grief.
This is where my questioning comes in. Will I be able to worship and trust my God in the face of grief? Will I be able to see God and His character and trust Him? Will I allow Him to comfort me in my grief? Will I blame Him? Will I be faithful?
In all my questions…what I see is a desire for an intimate connection with God. King David had that kind of relationship with God. He was bold in telling God what he felt and believed no matter how heavy and full of doubts. David asked God A LOT of questions. The questions themselves are not wrong. The actions taken coming out of the questions can be helpful or hurtful.
David made both helpful and hurtful decisions. Let’s learn from David on how to hold space for both the grief and joy; sorrow and contentment; confusion and hope. Ultimately, it is our God that empowers us and moves in us to turn sorrow into rejoicing. I do not have the will power to do that on my own. I can, however, walk boldly knowing that God will give me what I need, when I need it to continue growing into the woman He created me to be.
Dear God, may we rest in the knowledge that it is You and Your work in us that allows us to live in the dual space of Grief and Joy. There is no perfect way to grieve. What you ask is for is us to come to you and receive comfort and peace and joy. Help us, God, to trust that you will do your work. Prepare my heat, lord. Amen
“David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”
1 Chronicles 28:20 NIV
Do the work.
What work? How? What is my work to do and what is not my work to do?
Has there ever been something you have been passionate about and really wanted to do, and weren’t able to do it? I always wanted to be a worship leader. When I worked on staff at a church, I would dream about the day the worship Pastor would call me and tell me that he couldn’t make it to church and he needed me to step in and lead worship. It never happened. For good reason…I do not have the voice to lead others in worship. Trust me. I always wanted singing to be a talent of mine, but it is not. I love to worship. I love blaring my music as I’m driving and singing. I will not be leading worship, however.
King David had a strong desire and passion to build a temple for his God. He heard from God the very difficult message that God did not want him to. We all have unmet desires. We all have disappointments. We all have things that we have longed for that we will never experience, see or have. What do we do? David shared his passion with his son and told him to do the work. David did his work and encouraged and supported Solomon to do his work.
I have never been blessed with Children. I have wanted children, but I have never married and had the opportunity to have children. There have been seasons when it was hard and sad and painful. There have been seasons when I have celebrated the freedom and traveled and got lots of sleep. I also decided I was going to support my friends in the work they are doing by being an Auntie to their kids.
As we do our work…not another’s work…God has promised to be with us, support us, provide for us and never leave us. His presence doesn’t take away the hurt and pain of unmet desires. The presence of God is powerful and comforting and necessary for life and I am grateful He is that kind of God.
Dear God, Thank you for being the kind of God that is near. The kind of God that doesn’t grow weary of being present. Thank you for giving us a work to do. Meet us in our sadness and grief when the work we deeply desire is not ours to do. Help us find meaning and purpose in the work that is before us. Amen.
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