Some journeys are longer than others, and the struggles along their paths can sap our energy and our strength. And the hardest part of being drained is when we sense that we are being drained spiritually. It is here that we find we begin to lose joy and hope and we begin to question what really matters. It is here that we start to climb into a hole. The other day we focused on Elijah and his journey into that hole, when after a great victory he felt the most alone and abandoned.
As I thought about this and as I have been thinking about the journey Robin and I have been on for the past couple of years, my mind was drawn back to another issue and that was the issue of a message. Is there something that God has been impressing on my heart about Himself that gives me the courage to continue forward and about which I am to boldly speak? Robin and I talked about this today at lunch as I read to her a quote from a message by Dr. Charles Stanley given earlier this year. And as I returned back to my place of study and sat back down to my keyboard I was impressed with a particular thread which has flowed through mine and Robin’s lives together and is even at the heart of our life verse—trust in the Lord with all your heart!
It doesn’t matter what happens, how tired, how excited, how huge something might seem, or how confusing things might become; in every single aspect of my life I am to trust God with my entire heart, my entire being.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NASB95)
The message of Proverbs 3:5 is for me to trust in the Lord with all of my heart. But who is the Lord? Why is He trustworthy? Ah, this is where the entire body of Scripture paints an incredible picture of our Lord God. In the Old Testament there are but a few words translated “lord.” One of them is used exclusively in reference to our Lord God and that one is the Hebrew word “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” There is no mistaking when this word is used who the passage is referring to. Yahweh (YHWH) is the intensely personal name of God translated as “Lord” in the Hebrew tradition of substituting Lord in lieu of speaking His name, and thus it is always capitalized. This is also reflected in another Hebrew word used less commonly to speak of God which is the actual word “lord” in emphatic form (Adonai) used again in lieu of saying His personal name and also is always capitalized. This is in contrast to the common word for “lord” (adon) which also is used in Scripture. “Yahweh” and “Adonai” are used over 7,000 in the Old Testament along with the exclusive New Testament use of the Greek word “kurios” also translated “Lord,” and from every single one of them we can learn something about our God. This is just looking at what we see translated as the word “Lord,” and it does not even touch on the other names of “God” used in Scripture which are also rich in descriptive meaning.
A friend of mine (Judy Squier) just published her second book, “Living in the Names of God” which is a wonderfully personal book about her own growing in understanding of and trust in our intensely personal God. Joni Eareckson Tada wrote in the preface to Judy’s book,
“I first met Judy back in the 1980s when I spoke at her church in the Bay Area… Her winsome smile bolstered my spirits, especially when I noticed that she was walking on prosthetic legs. I want to know this woman! I remember thinking. And through the years, through the many times we connected at Joni and Friends Family Retreats and other events, I have been blessed by her hopeful outlook and great sense of humor. Where does she get that winning attitude? Simply from knowing God. So it’s no surprise that Judy Squier would write about the glorious name of God in this unique and personal book. … Judy Squier has certainly needed that strength through the years. Walking through life with no legs? That’s quite a feat! But her disability has never given her an excuse to sin or slander the name of God through bitter disappointment. Rather than stain God’s good reputation, Judy has used her disability as a springboard into a deeper and sweeter union with Jesus Christ. And it has been through abiding in Jesus and His Word that my friend has become intimately acquainted with His name.” (Judy’s book was self-published and you can find out more at www.judysquier.com, but I did see it on Amazon even for Kindle.)
I had said that my message would be to trust in the Lord, and as I have grown to know more and more about from His Word and observing His goodness and faithfulness this message becomes increasingly more important to me and for me to share. Now as Paul asked the Ephesians to pray on his behalf that he might have the words and the boldness, I pray that as we all grow in our knowledge of Him that we would be similarly outspoken.
Our God is the Creator, Life-Giver, and Sustainer of all things. He loves us and has given of Himself to restore us to a relationship with Himself. He cares about our every thought and step and He has even intended a plan for them which He will equip us to accomplish. Everything that comes along the way in the process is a part of what He is using to accomplish His perfect will. So, even when things don’t make sense to us, we are to trust in Him as the One who does understand and who will bring it to pass. No matter what comes our way, rather than using “but, God” along with a whiny excuse, let us face each trial in full confidence knowing that with God all things are possible.
“And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Matthew 19:26, NASB95)
Solomon goes on to add in Proverbs 3, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7–8, NASB95)
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us.” (Psalm 118:26–27a, ESV)
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/9)
You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent. Though you have faltered at times, you have not let go of My hand. I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me. There is one thing, however, that displeases Me: your tendency to complain. You may talk to Me as much as you like about the difficulty of the path we are following. I understand better than anyone else the stresses and strains that have afflicted you. You can ventilate safely to Me, because talking with Me tempers your thoughts and helps you see things from My perspective.
Complaining to others is another matter altogether. It opens the door to deadly sins such as self-pity and rage. Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart.
“For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” (Jeremiah 31:25, NASB95)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:14–15, NASB95)