by J Perey
“For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” Romans 1:20 (NKJV)
“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” Isaiah 64:4 (NKJV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
Not long ago I was in a very lonely place of discouragement. It’s easy to find yourself in just such a spot when you find yourself in your 60’s and unexpectedly no longer employed by the company you successfully worked at for almost 20 years. One afternoon weeks after the layoff in an effort to find some relief from the downheartedness I was feeling I reached out to some people I hoped might provide me with some encouragement. I thought that perhaps “this time” when I reached out to them it would not be like all of the other times I’d made myself vulnerable to them. Those times always seemed to result in me finding myself saddled with the additional weight of their judgmental and discouraging attitude. Sadly, and predictably, this attempt at finding relief and freedom from my heaviness was no different than all the other times and resulted in my feeling even more captive and oppressed than before the conversation began. “What was I thinking? What in the world made me think that this time it would be different than all the previous other times?” I said to myself as I blindly stared at the floor in front of me as soon as the conversation ended. Yet, sadly, I must admit I do. I went to bed feeling even more beat up than I had before the phone call. So, as I lay there enveloped in the arms of the dark’s stillness and silence I turned to the One who is always there, the One who has never failed me, the One who truly understands and loves me. As I lay there in bed with a downcast heart that night I asked the Lord for His encouragement before finally falling asleep.
Isn’t it funny how sometimes the Lord moves excruciatingly slow from our perspective, but then there are other times He moves with such quickness and in such a way that your jaw spontaneously drops wide open all the while leaving you speechless? I can’t help but laugh at how wonderfully ironic it is that He would playfully use something we all consider so slow moving to answer the nighttime cries of His child’s wounded heart so quickly. Friends, let me pause here for just a moment before continuing on with this story, and encourage you to truly embrace and rejoice in our Lord’s creative genius that knows no equal who also just happens to possess an equally arresting and absolutely delightful sense of humor with an uncanny sense of comedic timing that translates into an unmatched manner of teaching girded by the tender and gentle rock of His love. He is the multi-faceted teacher’s teacher and so much more…He is our Father! The very next morning I was invited into His classroom, no, His living room, to receive just such a immensely kind, generous, personal gift that completely lifted the fog of discouragement that had surrounded me. He spoke life into me.
The “backstory” leading up to this particular moment of enlightenment is like so many of these in my life. I’d been drawn for some time to the mole burrows that were being added to my yard on an almost daily basis. Fascinated by the ever expanding and unpredictable rows of bumps, and zany zigs and zags I tried for several weeks to take a meaningful or interesting picture of them, but could never come up with a photo of any sort of substance thanks to the sheer randomness of the burrowing. I tried all the various ways of taking a photo from different angles with no success at all. Click…delete. Click…delete. Click delete. Yet, still I was drawn to the mole’s handiwork and would always do a visual survey of his nighttime activity the next morning. This unrewarding photographic pursuit continued all the way up to the night marking the height, or perhaps better yet expressed as depth, of my discouragement topped off by that painful sharp knife of a phone call. And yes, by this time it’s obvious I had coincidentally pretty much given up any hope of my making anything photographically worthwhile happening. That pursuit was pretty much shaping up to be a dead end to my way of thinking. But then…the sun rose again the very next morning just like it’s supposed to and as I opened up the blinds on the back door just like I always do I was greeted by an amazing sight that needed no special perspective to see or understand or feel. The personal hopelessness I was experiencing personified by the mole’s random burrowing that had perplexed, confounded, and held me captive for weeks was now instantly gone replaced by a glorious message of renewed hope as I stood there speechless gazing at the rugged shape of what was obviously a cross to me.
Moles work tirelessly overnight doing exactly what God has called and created them to do. Evidence of their work done while we sleep only becomes visible at daybreak. Let’s face it, moles are painfully slow going about their seemingly random business from our perspective. After all, moles work in the dark and are well known for having incredibly poor eyesight. Consider for a moment, though, our perspective of God’s presence in our own lives through this same lens. Do we not often perceive God’s active involvement in our lives in similar largely blind, impatient fashion? How easily we can become discouraged thinking He has left us to fend for ourselves because we can’t see His hand moving on our behalf at any given moment. But then “suddenly” God moves, and what was once seen as random unrelated events in our lives, exemplified by the mole’s seemingly aimless tunneling that typically wanders about without an obvious purpose, takes on a whole new meaning once illuminated by His light of day. At that moment we are graciously granted an eternal perspective, His perspective. Consider that our Heavenly Father is always engaged in our lives regardless as to whether we can see or understand it or not at any particular point in time. Just because we don’t or can’t “see” evidence of Him working on our behalf at that exact moment doesn’t mean He’s not there for us. So many times it is not until His handiwork is illuminated the “next day” that we are finally able to see that, yes, He has been striving on our behalf “underground” behind the scenes. Ah yes, then comes the wonderful morning light of our understanding that boldly proclaims and reveals to us that, indeed, He has most assuredly been beside us all along and that we have never been alone. As His children we must rest and trust that He is constantly working in our lives behind what is readily seen with the cross of His Son, our precious Savior, in mind whether we realize it or not at the time. Believe and trust Him to act on your behalf for your good even if you feel abandoned and alone and can’t “see” Him at work. By faith have you thanked and praised Him for always being there for you regardless of your circumstances at the moment? Ask Him to open your eyes, mind, and heart to His active presence in your life, and thank Him for all the many, creative and loving ways He communicates to you of His presence that sweetly whispers, “Yes, I Am is right here with you, my precious little child! I Am is trustworthy! Do not be afraid. You have not been forgotten for you are greatly loved such that with an everlasting love and an unfailing kindness have I drawn you to Me!”
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)
“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to his power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)