“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
–Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)
Since 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, you might be wondering what this next year holds. Maybe you have suffered as a direct result of Covid, or indirectly. Maybe you have lost a job. But have you ever thought that God wants to walk through the hard times with you?
“That’s a nice thought,” you might sneer bitterly, “but where was God in all of this? Wasn’t He big enough to stop it?”
First, let me answer your second question, as this question is foundational. While I empathize with your pain, the Bible makes it clear that God is almighty. Therefore, He is big enough to prevent our suffering. But He was also loving enough to let humankind go when they walked away from His embrace. Scripture also teaches that this loving God, who never wanted mankind to know pain and hardship in the first place, put him in the perfect environment to shield him from it.
You might want to picture it like this. Say a young adult leaves home and gets mixed up with the wrong crowd. He has been given every advantage, and raised to know right from wrong.
Now let’s take it a step further, and say that he adopts a wild lifestyle. So when the parents get a call that their son is in jail, is it all their fault? Not at all, because they have always been there for him, and they would have dropped everything and helped him out if he had called out to them.
It is the same way with God. Most of us go through trouble and hardship on our own, but we don’t have to. Jesus told us that His rest and peace are always available, even in the most difficult of situations. But because we don’t call on Him, our circumstances often grow worse, and we experience anything but God’s peace. Satan loves to misuse our circumstances and lie to us about God not being there for us, or not being loving.
“But I have tried to call out to God,” you may say, “and all I get is silence.”
Yes, I understand. I know that can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean that God isn’t there. Many times, we don’t hear from God because we don’t listen for His voice. If you remember, one of the most common sayings of Jesus was, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Of course God isn’t going to send you a text message, and He probably won’t speak to you in some kind of sensational way. Most of the time He speaks in a still, small voice, so we need to tune everything else out in order to hear Him.
It’s kind of like trying to listen to the radio, if you are only halfway tuned to the station. The announcer’s voice is garbled, and it isn’t clear until you get the dial situated just right.
Secondly, God speaks to us through His Word. Therefore, anything that is not in agreement with what He has said in the scriptures is not of God.
Some people open up the Bible at random, supposing that God will speak to them, but God doesn’t work in that way. Instead, He wants a deep and abiding fellowship with you, which will prove to be a compass when you’re going through life’s storms.
Whatever 2021 may bring, then, God wants all of us to walk closer to Him. If you know Him, He wants to remind you that this isn’t your real home. It’s only a temporary layover. Commit your life to Him in a new way, as He longs to empower you with His strength.
If you don’t know Him, open your heart today, and come to a God who loves you. He longs to prepare you to face whatever comes around the corner, as He knows the end from the beginning.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.