Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In trying times...

I want to thank many of you for emailing me last week and sharing your stories with me- many of you asking for prayer, insight or just taking me up on my offer to be your listening ear. I have read all your emails and am in the process of replying back to you. I have prayed for you personally and have asked God to give me some words of comfort, encouragement or just simply asked for a verse to pass along to you that might be one you can hold onto as you walk {or even stand- as some of you are doing} in the midst of one of life's storms. I am humbled that God can use connections- via blogs, emails and internet- to help each of us further our growth and trust in Him. I have been encouraged many times through the past few years of blogging to see just how God brings about words and people that I need to hear at just the right time. He IS faithful and today I want to share some truths with those of you who need some assurance that God is here- with you- in the very place where you are. Whether you are joyous or hurting or overwhelmed or needing direction or even wondering if He is real- let the following passages assure you of His presence, of His care for your hurt, of His unconditional love for you.
I was given a book of short devotionals/stories from my sister soon after our incident in '01. It has 6 different authors and Scripture verses and poems/lyrics throughout the pages. The one I share with you today is written by Sheila Walsh and it's titled: Jesus is Here. May it bless you or encourage you as it has me.
"Jesus is Here"
It is hard to rest in God when life keeps us scrambling from one demand or crisis to the next. Yet those are the very times when we are most in need of depending utterly on Him.
One of the passages that has helped me most in the last year is when the resurrected Christ appears to his disciples while they are hiding in fear of the Jews. He greets them with, "peace be still!" Their fear is replaced by joy. Nothing outside those four walls had changed. There was still an angry crowd in the streets. They were still living in a terrible time. But because Christ was there, everything had changed.
Here is a truth that will sustain me no matter what life brings: Christ is still here. When He walks in, it doesn't mean everything outside is okay. It means I'm inside, and I'm okay because He is here with me.
Jesus frees us from the enemies [the devil and the powers of sin and evil] who attack us from the outside. But He also frees us from the enemies who attack us from within. I have found John 8:32 to be a very liberating Scripture: "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free". I understand this passage differently than I used to. Now I think it means bringing thw whole truth about me, the good with the bad, before Christ. If I am angry or fearful or in despair, I can bring it safely to the Lord. I can accept the truth about myself [or my circumstances] because I have been forgiven and set free.
When you stand up in front of 18,000 women, what you share has to be true whether you have just been diagnosed with breast cancer or your husband has left you or you didn't get to bring your baby home from the hospital. Sometimes we hear the message from well-meaning Christian brothers and sisters, "If you just have enough faith, everything will work out". This is not helpful. It places dependency on us. My motto is "Life is tough, but God is faithful".
When the disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee they cried out to Jesus in terror, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" Christ stood up and quieted the waves. Then He asked them, "Why are you so afraid?" Even though the circumstances are terrifying, Christ is never afraid. He is with us, and He has set us free.


the rye family said...

thanks jody!
my personal "crisis" is NOTHING like that of illness, death, loss of a child . . . but it is job uncertainty and i just finished a meeting with my boss and came home and checked your blog - thanks for the reminder! :) i KNOW that it is all in GOD's hands and that HE will see me through, and actually already knows the end result - if i just remain faithful, but "rest" is hard in uncertainty! :) thanks for sharing a bit of "peace" with me!
p.s. - i'm excited to be your first comment! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Jody. You are a blessing to me.


Sara said...

I so enjoy reading your blog. I just did a post today about acknowledging God in the every day things, no matter how much life is hurting... about stopping the search for Him and instead simply acknowledging His presence. It really does make a difference and makes it impossible to not know how real He is.

So I wanted to stop and acknowledge Him in you and how you help people. You certainly do make a difference.


Sue said...

Jody, What a blessing you are to me. I am thankful God has allowed and even turned my path to cross with yours by way of the internet. I love you and hold you and hours in my prayers. In His Amazing Love and Joy! Sue

Erin said...

I have only just discovered your blog and it ministered to me in an incredible way. Having been living through much trauma, many untimely deaths, and multiple crises with children(much of it fallout from the aforementioned trauma and deaths), it is always encouraging to read about other people's journeys through pain and loss. Thank you for sharing your life so openly and lovingly.

Antoinette said...

I'm late to this post, but grateful for your words nonetheless. Thank you.