About a week ago, I was incredibly discouraged. I'd had it with my circumstances that were just beyond overwhelming. I felt I was in way over my head for too long and that God had turned his back on me. In my desperation, I poured out these feelings to God with explicit honesty, holding nothing back. I typed God a letter. I (politely) demanded a response to my feelings-- some sign he cared about my pain. It was not conditional-- I wasn't going to stop following him if he remained silent. I know by now that God is not manipulated or controlled into giving signs and answers. But I was so desperate to hear his still, small voice. I think he knew my heart was sincere.
In his mercy, God responded. It wasn't with a bolt of lightning or an appearance at my bedside, or even with a change in my circumstances. But it was love, and it was full of life, and so I know that God heard and God answered. It's funny, all the subtle ways in which God works when we are hurting. He doesn't always take away the pain, but somehow, someway, he still sustains us and refreshes us when we are the most thirsty, the most despairing of life. In the same way that he fed Elijah who was running, running, running in despair and fear, God fed me. He reached out to me through people, through his Word, and through hearing Truth preached. He placed in my heart a renewed sureness that he loves me, that I am not forgotten.
I posted this picture because it's another way God showed me his love. After my missive to the Almighty, I was browsing Facebook and came across an album of photos from Yosemite belonging to a friend of a friend. The picture I posted here (with permission) blew me away-- not only by its sheer beauty, but by how I felt awed by God's "hugeness" when I looked at it.
It's easy to forget sometimes that God is SO incredibly big and powerful and that this whole complex and majestic earth was all lovingly and carefully made by him out of nothing. When Job cried out and demanded an answer from God about unjust pain, the Lord spoke about the unsearchable wonders of creation. The main message: Our God is in control. He controls the length, intensity, and reasons for our suffering, just as he controls the weather, the tides, and the stars. It is not within our ability to understand what God has done, or why we are where we are. But we can be sure that evil is also completely subject to God's great power. And when we belong to Christ, we are headed for triumphant victory as we wait patiently on him.
Whether I physically make it to my earthly Yosemite and stand under those falls triumphant, or whether relief and triumph will only come to me in heaven, I see this picture as my future. I'm headed toward the God who made the mountains and the waters.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.