I can not hide from You: God doesn’t forsake us.

 

Going through difficult life circumstances, the death of my Mom in my case, produces a lot of theological fruit.  Well, I should say it can.  I’d like to sit here and say that after my Mom left us, I praised the Lord and it was strawberries and puppy dog kisses.  But it wasn’t.  It took me a while to wade through some anger with God.  I’m still processing, but I’ve also accepted that He’s still God, and once I am perfectly holy and have my own universe I can make the rules.  Till then, I need to just submit.  And try to understand.

On the Cross, Jesus fought a similar battle. At least that’s what my entitled self says.  “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? In that moment, Jesus hung, in great pain, confusion, and despair.  Yet still, He knew something about God when He was on the Cross that made Him trust the Father.  And perhaps that is the question we should ask Jesus when we are faced with trials in life. “What is it that you know about God the Father that made You trust Him on that day, in that moment?”

Traditionally Psalm 139 is associated with birth and pregnancy.  But, what if there’s more? Consider verse 7-8: “Where can I go? Where can I flee? In the heights and depths, You are there!”

Oft times in our pain, the enemy sneaks in suggestions.  You are alone.  No one else feels like this.  Or even worse…Yes, there is a God, but He’s for everyone else: it works for them, but not for you. They can experience God fully, but you, only marginally. You missed Him. You were the accident in the Kingdom.

And if we aren’t super careful these words can take root. So in our pain, the enemy slips an offense in.  We chew on it, let it grow…and graduate that offense from offense, to stronghold when we say in our heart, I know what God says, but I say THIS.  And suddenly, we have done it.  We have partnered with the enemy in moving ourselves away from God.  Sure, we might cry out as the Son did, My God my God, why have You forsaken me? But, that is a spiritual passing of the buck.  And, it’s all lies.

If we take a deep breath, and root ourselves BEFORE calamity strikes, we can avoid a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering.  Starting with a fact that we overlook: We are far above the angels in the heavenly kingdom.  Yes, the glory of God rests upon angels.  They shine with His delight. They are spiritual beings, with all of God’s glory poured onto them.  But that same glory that they are bathed in, from the outside? It rests within us.  And this is as the Son desired it would be.  As the psalmist explains in the early verses of 139, God knows everything about us: and He’s still completely in love with us, and desires full relationship, full custody of our heart, mind, body and soul.  Where can I go? Where can I flee? The answer is nowhere. And while I reject predestination, if we really unpack the psalm, if He truly knows when we sit and stand, He knew our thoughts…before…as well.  From afar, He discerns. At my lowest, when I screamed out profanities in frustration, anger, tiredness, and hunger…Before I was, God knew.  and I’m not special.  I’m a fallen man, with a past but praise God…a future as well.  A destiny. A call.  and that is not ministry, but it is to love God.

At some point we ask ourselves the question, where on Earth is God in my pain? Why am I forgotten? Why am I reading about someone getting healed, when my loved one was ignored? Why did you forsake me, Dad? But that same question we should pray to Jesus, what did you know about Your Father that made You trust Him on the Cross is relevant for us today: Because if God can use the tragedy of crushing His own Son on the Cross to reconcile the entire world…the separation tween He and his Son to make a path of salvation for all of us, should we choose to follow it….and if we know that Jesus was perfect, holy, and blameless, can’t we find God in our own circumstances of pain?

When we get our head around this idea, that God is with us.  For us.  And not going away, we can grab a great understanding.  Verse 18 seals the deal: I awake, and I am still with You. Which produces the question, if you love me and I can not flee, than what about when I did? Or what about that time I blamed You? Or questioned your sovereignty?

So, I sit today, 5 weeks out from her death, and I begin the process of reflecting on my writings.  Something I wrote before the Lord shown a light upon Psalm 139 was this:

“I’m hurt. I miss her. Sad. Pain. Disbelief. I don’t want to be around people, but I don’t want to be alone. I feel distant from God. I need Jesus, desperately. I need to be able to see Jesus in this, desperately.”

And, contrary to what modern society might believe, prayers aren’t always answered instantly.  An answer delayed is not a prayer denied.  It just means that God let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  I’m still hurting.  I’m still fragile.  Everything is still pretty raw.  But, I can begin to see God in my circumstance. The way the last day played out, the last week…the way God tied up loose ends, while not on my timing…or desire, for sure….but, there is a beautiful realm to it.  I’m not quite ready to move on with my life.  I still think it all sucks.  But, I also know the psalmist wasn’t wrong.  That God will love me through this, and in spite of my entitled self centered ways.  My hope and prayer is that those around me have enough mercy and grace to let me feel my way through this difficult time.  And it is difficult, not because of pain or loss, but because of that feeling of loss and confusion.  For someone who is used to having all the answers and self-guiding, I find myself flying blind and out of control.  And I’m learning that the more I lean on God in my days of confusion, the more OK it is.

In closing, I’m reminded of Cory Asbury’s song, Reckless Love.

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me
And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

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