An ever present help in time of need

beach, wave and footsteps at sunset time

So many of our friends are going through difficult times of medical issues, death of loved ones, or personal failure that I struggled to see how God is good all the time.  Then, I was reminded of the famous poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” and the part that says, “when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

What I have heard from those suffering difficulty is that they see and feel God walking with them through these times.  His peace fills their heavy hearts and they are able to make it through.  What is comforting is that these people who are in the midst of trial and tribulation do not paint a false picture of “complete faith bringing about complete hope.”  Instead, they share their sorrow, their difficulty in having complete faith and hope.  They are real about their struggle.  Ultimately, though, they stay faithful and steadfast in hope. They often say, “I don’t know how we made it through, but God was with us and carried us.”

This is what encourages me to continue to follow God, even in the midst of trial and tribulation.  HE is the one that will carry me.  HE is the one that will help me make it through.  HE is the one to go to.

Praying that you will go to Him in your time of need and feel the ever present arms of God carrying you through!

 

 

Advertisements

Rocky Paths of Life

Rocky Paths of Life

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Ps 119:105

We often view life as a path, and if we have a relationship with God, He will direct us along that path. We view the path of life with God as a smooth, walking path through beautiful evergreens, and sweet smelling flowers. When life becomes rocky, difficult and even unmanageable, we think we’ve gone astray from the smooth walking path.  In reality, we have not gone astray.  It is on that rocky, thorn-covered path that we feel the Lord walking with us.  He has allowed that part of the path to be filled with huge rocks which are difficult to pass through, but He is there in front of us still guiding us along. I picture Him with arm stretched backwards to grab hold of my hand and guide or pull me along.  And often, I pull my hand away and say, “I can do it.” Then, I reach a precipice or an unstable part of the path and finally look up.  There is His hand outstretched waiting for me.

One of the best ways to see His hand waiting for you is to be in His Word.  His Word will guide you through the rocky times of life to give you hope and direction. The more you are in His Word, the more you will see Him guiding and helping you. Hold on to the Hand that guides you.  He is always there waiting, with arm outstretched, and He will never let you fall.

God Bless America

God Bless America

“Mom! Mom!  Come here and see the pictures Uncle Eric sent me!” my son said as he dragged me into his room.  There on the wall, hung every which way, were the pictures that his “uncle” had sent him.  They were of the helicopters he flew, the places he had been, and planes he had flown.  Besides serving our country faithfully, our friend, Eric, had instilled in my son a love of patriotism, country, and service.  To this day, my children call him “Uncle Eric,” and that’s who he will always be to them.  They worried when he was sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and were relieved when they heard he was home. He will always be a hero to them, and we dedicate this devotional to the service of all the men and women who are fighting for our country today.

We don’t know what it’s like to live day-to-day with bombs exploding in our neighborhoods.  We don’t have friends and family who died because they rode the bus to work this morning and it exploded when it went into the city.  We don’t have to live in fear of repercussion because we believe in Jesus Christ and not the state mandated religion.  On this day where we celebrate our freedom to speak freely, worship freely, and live in peace in a democratic country. Make sure you take time to thank God for our freedom, and our military men and women for their sacrifice.

God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops!

Simplified

Simplified

Matthew 6:31, 32b

“Take no thought for your life saying, ‘what shall we eat, what shall we drink, or what will we wear for clothing?’ For your heavenly Father knows you have need of all these things.”

“We have arranged for you to stay in a fully furnished apartment until we can get you back in your house.” These words were a comfort to me as we drove our kids to the place where we would stay the next few months. We had just left our burned out house, where white squares in black soot now marked the spot where pictures once hung on the walls.  Our “fully furnished” house was nothing but a water-logged, soot-filled, broken-apart house. It was a strange feeling to own nothing but the clothes on your back.

I was relieved to have dishes, towels, and blankets at the apartment, but they weren’t mine. The ones I had were given to me as wedding presents, holiday gifts or bought at the store because I loved them.  Mine had memories attached, and they were gone.  Whenever I picked up the quilt in the family room and folded it up, it was special because my great grandmother made it for me. The machine-sewed “quilt” on the living room couch now, had no meaning to it.  Never before had furniture, blankets or dishes retained such meaning and at the same time mattered so little.  On the one hand, I did not want to lose the representation of the person or memory attached to that object, but on the other hand, I still had my husband and children; and that mattered more.  Ironically, it was a strange paradox. I didn’t care that I was sitting on an apartment couch that wasn’t mine, because snuggling in with me on that couch were my children, happy to feel secure with their parents.

We didn’t replace everything in the house because we realized we didn’t need it.  The idea of “simplifying” became real that summer as God provided for us those items we needed.  We simplified and it was very freeing.  And even though the previous objects of my house, so full of meaning, were gone, the memories attached to them lasted. Simplicity and happy memories: that was all we had, and that was all we needed.

God Listens

Image

God Listens

Jeremiah 33:3a – “Call unto me and and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things…”

After having brain tumor surgery, I was in the ICU at the hospital for weeks.  There, I had a nurse named Liz. Her family was originally from the Bahamas, so she had the remnants of an islander accent. I was never as happy as when I heard that accent on the other side of the curtain.  She was the best nurse I’ve ever had! And it wasn’t because she was the sweetest, kindest nurse I have had.  In fact, she was mostly matter of fact, firm, and business-like.  But….She listened.  She didn’t ignore me when I rocked back and forth in my hospital bed because the pain in my head was overwhelming.  She matter-of-factly told me that I needed to calm down and stop crying because it would only make my head hurt worse.  But… she got me the pain medication that I needed.  She had to tell me the hard things and show me the not so pleasant things.  But….She listened.  She answered my questions, even though they were most likely quite obvious to her.  She didn’t get annoyed when I asked her the same questions for the fifteenth time.

Liz is a good reminder to me of how God listens to us.  When we pray for something for the fifteenth time, when we cry out to him because the pain of our heart seems too overwhelming, when we just need someone to hear us, He is there.  He answers us with what He knows is best for us, which may not be what we requested.  But His love for us gives what we need, and comforts our hearts through difficult times.  God gives us the encouragement we need in Jeremiah 33:3 when He says, “Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things….”  God listens to us, answers us, and gives us what we need.  Take comfort in knowing that God listens.

Dwelling in Peace

Dwelling in Peace

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…. and be thankful.  Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Colossians 3:15 & 16

 The dove is the universal sign for peace. I often wonder why it is always seen as flying away.  Does the dove carry the worry, anxiety, anger, frustration and fear away from people? Or does it just represent a calming effect as we see its beauty in flight? Peace is a common theme in our world and many people seem to be searching for it. Peace from war, peace from anger, peace in the hectic pace of life we live. Yet, God gives us the perfect way to experience peace in our lives. It is by letting the Word of God dwell in our hearts, which brings a thankful heart, which brings us peace.

How do we let the Word of Christ dwell in our hearts? By reading and interacting with it. Are we spending time with God by reading his letter to us? It is here that we find truth which gets rid of all doubt and fear and brings peace to our hearts.  It amazing how much dwelling on truth, instead of lies and fallacies, helps us be at peace!  Also, these concepts are intertwined with each other. You really can’t have one without the other. If the Word is dwelling and permeating our hearts and minds, we are thankful and then the peace of Christ can rule in our lives. From salvation to everyday living, it takes the Word to change our lives from sin, chaos, anger, and frustration to peace, thankfulness, love, and grace.

In this season of thanksgiving, may we find ways to be interacting with the Word of God, letting it permeate our hearts and minds, creating a heart of thankfulness and a spirit of peace.

Catch the Wave

Catch the Wave

“He has done great things for us, which make us glad.”Psalm 126:3

The waves were huge, leftover from hurricane that came through a few days ago. The huge waves were the best ones to surf!  Waves after a storm are fantastic compared to everyday, normal waves. We often look at our life as a dreaded wave towering over us.  Instead, we should be waiting for it, surfboard in hand, eager to ride the wave through life’s journey.

When we are looking at the difficulties of life, we lose sight of the goodness of God.  All we can see are the problems.  We must try to look beyond the problems, to God, who is in control of every situation in life, and has proven Himself to be faithful in past situations.

As we deal with the issues of life, we need to begin to look for the ways God is good to us.  As we are in the midst of busy, hectic times, we need to actively remember the ways God has been good to us.  I Chronicles 16:12 says, “Remember His marvelous works that He has done….”  What better way to take our eyes off the difficulties of life and focus them on the faithfulness of God. We also need to pass on to others the faithfulness that God showed us.  Psalm 126:3 is a praise to God for bringing the nation of Israel out of captivity.  It is called a Psalm of Ascents because as they are ascending the mountain to the temple, they are singing this song for the entire world to hear.

Ride the wave of your journey through life, recounting the goodness of God and your focus will change from fear of the issues on the journey, to faith in the goodness of God to care for those issues.

A View from Heaven’s Perspective

A View from Heaven’s Perspective

Heard this song today and was encouraged to see life through God’s perspective.  If you are struggling today, know that He is there for you, and rest in the comfort of His arms. Blessings as you listen!

Frayed Edges

The LORD will accomplish that which concerns you.
Psalm 138:8a

Like the frayed edges of a flower after a storm, I stood helplessly staring out the window.  Life was uncertain, confusing and empty. Where was God in all of this?  What was his plan? How could He make sense of this?

We all have experienced these feelings at some point in our life, and we have experienced it for different reasons.  We  want to know – what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen!  I would love to say  that if you just have enough faith, or if you just walk closely with God, or if you just pray hard enough …. You will know.  The truth is that sometimes, God is just silent – silent in how He’s answers us, but not silent in how He comforts us.  As we wait, He has given us “great and precious promises” to cling to. The question becomes whether or not we are clinging to them.

As the rain storm stops, the frayed edges of the flower are left with many droplets of water to nourish and feed the flower. The droplets of truth and comfort from God’s Word are the truths we need to cling to in order to nourish  our weary souls.  God is still there, working in your life; although, He may not have answered yet.  Go and find the comfort in His Word that He has for you today!

Guest Contributor Cindy Rooy

THE PHONE CALL EVERY PARENT DREADS

By Cindy Rooy

The telephone rang. “Is this Cindy Rooy?”

“Yes.”

“Cindy, do you have a daughter named Julie?”

“Yaesss…”

“My name is Laura and I’m a nurse at ORMC hospital. We have your daughter Julie here with us.”

“What happened?” I asked, wondering what sport injury she had now.

“She’s been in a car accident.”

“Is she ok?”

“No, I’m afraid not. You need to make arrangements to come to the hospital, Cindy.”

“How bad is it?” No answer. “What happened to Julie?”

“Cindy, I’m going to have the doctor talk to you now.” A physician told me that my daughter had massive internal injuries including a lacerated kidney, a collapsed lung, and a severely damaged liver. She arrived by helicopter, had already received six units of blood, and is on a respirator.

Stunned, I heard myself ask, “Is she going to live?”

He hesitated before replying, “We don’t know the answer to that.”

Panic stricken, I called my husband and a few relatives. I tried to pray but couldn’t focus long enough to find the words. Instead, I frantically requested prayers from my church and Facebook friends.

While preparing for the unexpected trip, questions for God kept surfacing. “Are You going to let her die? What is Your plan for Julie? Why would You take her life now?” Despite a racing heartbeat and a mind running wild, I wholeheartedly believed that God had control over my daughter’s body. But I feared the outcome because He already allowed the accident and injuries to happen. I painfully wondered what life would be like without my daughter.

Several hours later in Florida, my husband and I found our child in the trauma ICU, hooked up to many monitors and machines, and alive. We were updated on the extensiveness of her injuries and how precarious her condition was. Already numb, I had difficulty absorbing all the information. The situation felt surreal.

Why does God allow His children to suffer? The Lord teaches us about Himself during our tough times. He is attentive to our cries and becomes our Comforter, Healer, and overall Provider. He uses adversity to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him. We are comforted when we remember that this life is temporary, but our next one is eternal, joyous, and without tears. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Corinthians 2:9). We persevere through our difficult times by looking for God’s involvement and trusting Him.

As details surrounding the accident were revealed, God’s activity became apparent. Two ICU nurses immediately appeared at Julie’s side after she landed on the pavement. The police report, damage to the scooter and helmet, and Julie’s injuries don’t mesh. Her blood pressure bottomed out but she didn’t die.

God’s mercy was noticeable, even through certain hospital staff and classmates. His help was observed in various ways. A room was available to rent at the hospitality house one block away. Spiritual encouragement and loving support were given by our church family and friends, and over 650 miles away, we were visited by both. And I was made aware of the many prayers being said for Julie when I still couldn’t pray. Gifted with an unclaimed, fitting cell phone charger from the hospital’s security lockup when I forgot mine, getting coffee by mistake on Julie’s breakfast tray when I craved it, and witnessing answered prayers for specific needs in her recovery were obvious provisions in this ordeal. Furthermore, Julie missed three weeks of lectures, labs, and assignments, took her exams without being able to catch up or study for them, and still passed her classes. She also received needed help in moving to another apartment, and her job remained secure. The Lord’s power was seen in her body and her mind, and He provided for her new needs and mine.

Julie’s recovery has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. While her condition improved amid complications and unbearable pain, she now has physical restrictions and financial problems to overcome. Yet, I firmly believe that God can turn this disaster into something good. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20). The Lord has plans for every person (Jeremiah 29:11); perhaps my daughter’s life may become a bright testimony to others of God’s grace, healing power, and provision.

©Cindy Rooy 2010 

Cindy Rooy is the author of a six-week Bible study, Trusting God Through Trouble & Tears, and a contributing author in several devotional books. She is also a columnist for three newspapers and an inspirational speaker. For more information about her book and ministry, visit Cindy’s website at www.cindyrooy.com.

« Older entries