Are You There God?
There are certain things you are not supposed to say as a Christian. It is not written down in a rule book, but it is implied much like many cultural rules we encounter. In my being I know that God is with me. There have been too many experiences in my life, good and bad, that have proven this to me. When we go through the valleys of our life those questions and statements often arise. Those things good Christians should not be saying or asking. Of course, maybe we should stop thinking in terms of good and bad Christians. We are Christians and we each experience our own trials.
“I Am With You Always”
Even as the question forms in my brain “Are you there God”, the scripture from Matthew 28:20 rings in my mind. “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” The next part of my conversation with God tends to sound like a bratty teenager talking back to a parent. “With me always? Where? Show me this always.” Then there is silence. As the moments pass I recall the poem “Footprints” and remember the line, “it was then that I carried you.”
The gravity of Matthew 28:20 and the truth echoed in this lovely poem overwhelm me with emotion. Yes. I am in a valley. I have far more questions than answers these days. I feel completely out of control, powerless. I battle with a heaviness I have not known in a very long time. This struggle is evident in my physical body – I am tired, my throat hurts and my body aches. My soul yearns for light. God is carrying me through a dark, treacherous valley….we ain’t strolling on a pretty beach. Despite everything weighing me down…I do have hope.
As a writer, I feel like I have a connection with King David. When you read the Psalms that he wrote, some of them start dark, almost whiny in some cases. Then the tone shifts, it’s like his whining, complaining and questioning open him to the realization of all God really is to him. So much in my little part of the world seems and feels bleak. My heart is broken over the decisions of some of my children. There are moments when worry holds me captive until I finally stop to pray in my despair. I have been doing a lot of “walking through the valley of the shadow of death”.
Speaking of Psalm 23, therein lies my hope.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
This is the New Living Translation of Psalm 23. I like the fact it states I have all that I need. I am not at the point for the excess blessings with God. There are some areas I need to listen more, obey better. I need to pray more fervently. I need to worry about nothing and pray about everything. I have all that I need. I have family that loves me, food in my belly, a roof over my head. My needs are met. God will protect my children. He will heal my broken heart. We will raise the money we need for Cambodia.
Whatever The Valley
Whatever valley you are traveling through, God is a whispered prayer away. Your valley may be your health, finances, or you may be battling on multiple fronts just like me. Find a scripture that speaks to you and hold on to it. Right now for me, it is Matthew 28:20 – the promise that God is with me. When the questions and doubts come, remember your scripture and listen for God’s answer. For me it is often a scripture, song or quote that comes to mind that speaks to my issue. I have not been privileged to audibly hear the voice of God – but that still small voice is there, when I finally shut up and listen for it.