Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's a Promise

by Joni Eareckson Tada

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

Warren Wiersbe once said, "Nothing is harder to heal than a broken heart shattered by experiences that seem so meaningless.  But God's people don't live on explanations; God's people live on His promises."

A grocery list of biblical reasons explaining the whys and wherefores behind suffering doesn't always help when you're hurting.  

What does help are the promises of God.  

Even though God's promises are usually devoid of standard explanations and don't always detail the blueprint behind His plan, they do point to the loving character of our good and kind Lord.

Take Isaiah 46:4.  Even for someone bent over with old age and arthritis, God's explanation is simple and powerful, "I am He, I am He who will sustain you."  

God wants us to understand that He alone is the source of help and hope.  God owes us no explanations.  He did enough explaining on the cross to show that His love is sufficient to meet every need.

Look again at our verse for the day.  In one short sentence, God promises that He will rescue, carry, and sustain you.  How?  At least six times, God uses the personal pronoun to point to Himself.  

His promises are signed, sealed, and delivered on the basis of who He is.  

And He is faithful.  

He is loving.  

He rescues you and carries you.  It's a promise.

Lord, I don't survive because You roll out in front of me the blueprint behind my painful experiences.  I don't live on reasons why.  I live on Your promises.  Draw me to them today and help me to lean on Your loving faithfulness.  This will be enough.


Joni and Friends
Diamonds in the Dust, Januaury 28



Anonymous said...

Trying to figure out the "why's" can leave us utterly exhausted. It is an exercise in futility. Honestly sometimes - dare I say most of the time - there is no answer, other than it's a fallen world, and it's full of sin-cursed troubles, and it's full of sinners.

The only promise that a believer can truly cling to is that ultimately there will be no more tears. But not in this age.

For now, tears. We likely will never know why. And there often is little to no comfort. Even from God's family, who often don't even notice the hurting, or worse, they spiritualize your trial into something that they pray will "teach" you. As if you need to learn something, and the only way, they believe, is through you being crushed half to death by whatever has befallen you. Or even worse yet, they think the pain/trial your are in is because of your own personal sin. Ah, those "Job's Friends", or should I call them Fiends, can be worse than enemies.

I'm also so tired of the super spiritual believers who claim they can handle it all "because they have Jesus" and claim they don't need human care.

If in this life, you can find a precious Christian friend who has true compassion and love, you have found a rare gem indeed. I am weak, and frankly sometimes need an actual shoulder to cry on.

But what do those super spiritual ones know of that?

Our troubles do not mean Christ isn't there, but I don't have any answer as to why we often suffer so much here, and seemingly alone.


The Piper's Wife said...

Oh, my ~ Carolyn, I certainly agree with you.

It is completely exhausting, and it is an exercise in futility trying to figure it all out. Those perpetrators, evil ones, or may we just call them the sinners (Christian in name or not) who have perniciously wronged us, seemingly "get away with it all" while some of the Christian world with all their reasonings look on.

We, the injure, "lie near the road wounded, bleeding, thirsty" with only finger pointing, worthless advice, and rarely compassion.

Blessed are those who have the LORD! For even when we are alone in a sea of Christians, we are really never alone because our great God is upholding us! What sweet mercies He showers on us among the callous throngs! Even though we are so wounded and beat down, we can get up and 'do next things' because of His strength, mercies, and compassions!

The agonies are always there. The tears come and go. We choose to rejoice in the joy of the LORD amid the agonies for we desire to glorify His name! It seems only those who also have struggled in the darkness of pain understand that it is the LORD God Almighty's joy and strength in which we live. This is why we can smile, reach out to others, and do next things.

And yes, what a precious thing it is to have compassions showered on you from the few gifts of friends who choose to come alongside us! They are treasures of His mercies.

I have been contemplating grief and grieving lately. Our world wants us to move on, get over it, forget about your pain, "find another hobby" (I am not kidding, I was told this by a callous "christian" woman as she justified her sinful behavior against me). Anyway...thinking about writing a piece on it.

* Again, thank you for your insight.

Anonymous said...

Wow, "find another hobby"? That's a new (rude) one.

The rest of what you said, I agree.

You should write a piece on grieving. The Lord says blessed are those who mourn, and frankly I do not see this as meaning only over our own sin, but also over sin in general. Just a simple word search for "grief", "grieving" or "sorrow" in Scripture yields many results, and a lot of verses that one could reflect on and discuss.

Christians - though marked by joy - should not be giddy and care free. This world is a brutal and wicked place, and daily we watch wrong after wrong. If it does not pierce our hearts and souls, then what? Our Father God and Savior is the Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Nowhere in Scripture does it say the Lord Jesus Christ was a happy-go-lucky buddy. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death with us. It's hard work to keep walking in the valley. He does not shy from laboring with us in our pain.

Would that more Christians learn to, you know, bear one another's burdens, weep with those who weep, etc...


The Piper's Wife said...

Again, Carolyn, so well said, thank you. Praising the LORD with you for how He has showered His mercies on you through your agonies, as you surely know His loving hand. We are truly blessed by Him!

Praises to Him for not shying away from laboring with us! What a great and precious Savior we have!