SITE NOTICE | MORE..Self-Storage Special Offer. We've worked out a trade arrangement with self-storage chains with multiple locations in the Southeast USA that brings to our SA broadcasters and listeners a SPECIAL OFFER. .. click for more info!
In light of our current series of messages and especially the way Jesus reminds us of the intimate knowledge that God has of us, I've been thinking about how do we handle it when we do not "feel" the nearness of the Lord.
We saw a glimpse of the vastness of God's knowledge, "He calls the starts by name...," when we saw the picture of deep/dark space...the picture that took 11 days of focus to pull the light into view. Remember...10,000 galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars. And those galaxies are so far away, we can't even see them, unless we focus our best telescope upon the darkness for 11 days! What was the number of estimated stars, 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000...10 sextillion? [I’m not sure I got the number of zeroes quite right…but it’s close]
But that isn't what Jesus talked about when He wanted to remind the Scribes and Pharisees, along with the crowds of people and His own disciples, about the knowledge of God concerning us.
Jesus talked about the intimate knowledge. Nothing happens to even a sparrow without God's complete knowledge. We can't even lose a hair from our head without God being aware of it!
We see promise after promise in the Bible about the nearness of God to His people. Remember the oft-repeated encouraging words to Joshua? "Be strong and courageous....Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1) "Wherever you go."
Remember Matthew 28? "[as you are going and making disciples], I am with you always, even to the end of the age." "Even to the end of the age."
And remember Jesus' prayer for His disciples, and for all those who would believe because of the disciple's testimony? "...I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:26) "I in them."
Remember His prayer on our behalf that the Father would "sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth." "[The Father's] Word is truth."
The Father cannot lie. He doesn't change like the shadows that move according to the rotation of the earth and the position of the sun. He is not fickle or vain. He does not say, "well _____________ hasn't said anything to me yet today so I think I'm going to avoid them for awhile."
Do you remember how dry Elijah felt after the confirmation of the Lord's presence and power at Mt Carmel? (1 Kings 18 & 19) After, the drought of the fear of the Lord in the land, and God's judgment by a physical drought, and the hatred of Ahab and Jezebel toward the prophets of God, and the challenge to choose which God would be followed, and the overwhelming victory of God over Baal, and the lifting of the drought of rain, and then running for his life for three days...into the wilderness...
Elijah apparently was overtaken by weariness (the fatigue that follows an adrenaline dump), and despair (the fatigue that follows a spiritual high...or low), and depression (the overwhelming loss of the motivation to continue), He cried out to God, begging that God would put an end to his ministry by bringing his life to an end. (1 Kings 16:29-19:4) God gave him rest and food to strengthen him for the next forty days.
Then, God showed Elijah that His presence is not measured by huge and violent signs and wonders, but by a gentle presence...a presence that could be easily missed, but is no-less present if not noticed. (19:5-14) Then God gave Elijah another assignment...another job to do...another ministry to fulfill...another call to continue trusting the Lord and following His commands.
In Elijah's case, the Lord laid out the next phase of Elijah's mission. In many cases (maybe in most cases), he doesn't communicate this as clearly for us. And yet, I believe the story of Elijah has an encouraging message for us. Wherever you go, even to the end of the age...I am in you"
So, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." (Galatians 6:9)
And, "Why do you say...and assert...'my way is hidden from the Lord and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God'? Do you not know? have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, the will run and not get tired, the will walk and not become weary/faint." (Isaiah 40:27-31)
Our Great Father in heaven, I pray for each of these whom you have loved and continue to love; that they might continue in Your love. Please sustain their faith in You; even when they cannot feel and have not sense of Your presence. Help them to not grow weary in their obedience, but if they do grow weary, help them not to lose heart. Lift them up so that in the moment when intense trials arise, they may sore over and through them as if on eagles' wings. When they must move quickly in their obedience, help them to be able to run with great endurance and without losing strength. When things return to normal and they must just keep walking in their faith, and walking, and walking, and walking...sustain them. Do not let them faint in weariness.
I ask this in the name of our Wonderful Advocate, the One who intercedes for us in Your presence...the One who knows our frame because He took our likeness upon Himself and learned of our weaknesses. I ask this in Jesus' precious name. Amen!