Sometimes I read the headlines and am tempted to despair. Sometimes I’m tempted to feel guilty for my own problems when I see those suffering from darkness all over the world, feeling real terrors of their own.
Then again, I know Jesus cares for all—for all the masses and for just one. He suffered and died for all. And He would do it all again—for just one.
So today, coming into Memorial Day weekend, I pray thanks for the force of Light in the world who fights against evil. The force of God Almighty is on the move. He will shine His glory into every dark, broken corner of this world.
Our God is not a God of despair. Our God is a God of GLORY and salvation from all evil and its effects.
Yes, the world looks bleak if we are absorbed in media headlines.
Yes, real people are suffering unimaginable abuses from horrifying human beings.
Yes, we might FEEL helpless.
But STOP right there!
We who are in Christ—we who have the spirit of the Living God in our hearts and minds and bodies and souls—we are NEVER, EVER helpless or hopeless! We have access to the throne room of Almighty God through Jesus. And we can call on Him in our most desperate hours.
GOD SEES US! GOD HEARS US! GOD IS DELIVERING US FROM EVIL!
Never, ever let appearances deceive or tempt to despair!
Wail and moan and be real about the pain, yes.
Wail prayers! Moan prayers!
Pour out every piece of your heart and pound the gates of heaven on behalf of the suffering, even if the suffering one is YOU!
This Memorial Day, I am remembering all who are suffering from the evil of every terrorist on this planet. Every terrorist who offends the Father of humanity by wagging an negative tongue against another or by wielding a rifle or sword.
Evil is evil. Broken is broken. God hates it all and does not look away in despair. God is acutely aware of all—of every secret thought—of every single act. He will right all wrongs.
But we cry, “WHEN?!”
Patience. Pray for patience.
Faith. Pray for faith.
Courage. Pray for courage.
God is on the move. He will wipe every tear from every eye. The suffering every soul feels here on earth will be as nothing compared to the delight we will feel when we see Him face-to-face.
No prayer is too small. No person is less than another. Not in God’s eyes.
So when I’m praying for the women ISIS is raping and the daughters being taken for slaves of horror and the Christians savagely murdered, I’m also praying for those I know close to home . . .
The little six-year-old boy in town just diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He may live. He may die. Only God knows. God is providing.
The teenage girl raped at a party. She was drunk. Did she deserve to be violated? God is providing.
The friend who has worked beyond belief for her severely disabled daughter with 25 disabilities—for 18 years—who just discovered her funding is being cut and she’s caught in red tape. God is providing.
The friend who is weary from working long hours trying to shine the light of Jesus into dark homes of drug abuse and dysfunction, trying to help the young be safe. God is providing.
The friends whose 19 year-old son rolled his pick-up and broke his body, totaling the truck. He slipped off a roof last fall and broke his body then too. God is providing.
And then there’s me.
Little old me.
Do I dare knock on God’s door with so much suffering all around?
Oh yes, I knock on God’s door! And I knock and knock and knock, pleading my needs AND my wants.
And know what?
Almighty, loving God supplies EVERY need, always.
Yet, God does not always supply every WANT.
I want my three children with a multitude of invisible disabilities to be healed THIS side of heaven. I want it so badly that I pray daily. Doesn’t look like God’s going to give me this. At least, not yet. The kids get older and their problems grow bigger and we parents have less ability to help young adults who won’t accept help. So we watch. And we pray. And we do what we can. God is our guard.
I remember what God did for our daughter. Our beautiful, tiny daughter—all 5 feet and 100 pounds of our 23 year-old daughter who wears size 00 pants.
I’m remembering all the people who prayed last year, this month—the warriors who pounded heaven’s gates when we were losing our minds around here.
I’m remembering the day I drove her to our house from work and she grabbed the wheel of the car, causing it to veer. I screamed. She laughed. She was out of her mind. Manic. Psychotic. First time.
She thought she was a Russian tennis star, pregnant with a singer’s baby. On the side of the road, I screamed at her to stay on her side of the car while my shaking hands pressed 911 on my cell. The sheriff met us in our driveway—two officers. She laughed hysterically, wild-eyed. We drove her to the ER where she spent the night as we sobbed and shook and wondered what the hell was happening to our once orphaned child with so many other challenges that alcohol created before she was even born.
Next day, they locked her away in that psych ward. For 12 whole days. And she screamed terror at me when I turned to leave the second day, “MOM! Don’t LEAVE me here! PLEEEAAASSEE!” And I covered my sobbing mouth and could not look back as I left our child in the arms of security guards.
And her brothers who came to visit later, they left the room sobbing, collapsed on the floor of the hall, having seen their sister—their friend in that Russian orphanage—their partner in survival. They bawled fear and sad from seeing her standing on that chair, out-of-her-mind.
So I sat with them, trying to console them and reassure them, all the while wondering where I would muster the strength to keep going when I, too, was falling apart.
With Jesus, when you come to the end, new beginnings happen.
Maybe they’re not what we hoped. Maybe they’re not what we like.
But maybe, just maybe, they’re for the best, our best. Because maybe, just maybe, we don’t know all. Maybe, just maybe, something better than we could ever imagine can come out of pain.
Yes. This I know.
Because I know the God who sees, who cares, who provides.
And I have seen Him in my worst—at my worst.
He may not deliver us from our problems. But He always delivers us straight to His heart where even our worst fears are quelled and our deepest sorrows are soothed.
God provided for our daughter and our family beyond our hopes, beyond our expectations. I expected certain people to care with a card and maybe a hospital visit. They didn’t.
But many I didn’t expect to care drove many miles, sent cards, made meals, took care of kids, grocery shopped, ran errands, called and texted and emailed frequently, walked with me onto a locked psych ward with lots of scary-looking people to visit our sick and scared daughter—to play UNO with the woman-child who couldn’t understand what was happening to her—to let me cry—to let my husband cry and our boys cry—to pray with us and for us.
Sometimes, it’s those you least expect to love you who love you like the Good Samaritan.
You see, our God sees. Our God cares. Our God provides. Don’t presume to know HOW He will deliver. Just know He WILL deliver. And when God delivers His care packages, they are FULL of good that satisfies completely—if we will let go of our expectation that God provide OUR WAY.
Closed fists cannot receive.
Palms raised in prayer are open to abundant blessings.
Those expectations of God, of others? We let them go.
And we pray blessing and not curse on ALL God’s created because we ALL need God’s blessing. We leave ALL in the able hands of God and pray His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. For His is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory—forever and ever . . .
See this woman-child? We are celebrating her, this Memorial Day weekend. But more than our daughter, we are celebrating her Creator, the God who raised her from the pit of bipolar illness. We are celebrating our great God who sees, who provides, who loves us wildly and gives us true life—a better life—even in the midst of on-going broken—because He loves beyond our wildest expectations.
I believe. Because I have seen.
And I give thanks.
Forever and ever, I will remember . . .
And give Him thanks.
He has the whole world in His hands.
He sets a table of riches before us all.