Saturday, September 29, 2012

Even When My World Changes, God Remains the Same

“I the Lord do no change”
(Malachi 3:6).

I know many changes are good and keep life from becoming monotonous, but I usually don’t handle them too well. 

One of my favorite department stores has been completely remodeled, moving different sections around and displaying an ultramodern look.  It may be more up-to-date, but I don’t like it – at least not yet!  My nearest grocery store no longer carries many food items that I buy, which means more trips to other stores.  Fall is here and that’s a mixed change for me as well.  The weather and colors are lovely but I can become down about the upcoming bleakness and coldness of winter.

Of course these changes don’t compare to the physical ones experienced through ongoing pain and illness.  Chronic health problems require major life changes and are difficult to face.  Even though I have lived with my problems long enough to have adapted, I still have moments each season when I struggle with changes.  Many of them revolve around physical activities but some are also based on my environment and relationships.

The one constant in my life that is always positive and never monotonous is God.  His character is eternally consistent and amazing.  Although He experiences emotions, He is not controlled by them.  He is the One I can always run to when sorrow or emptiness overtake me.  And just as He is faithful in being there to love and listen, He is also there to lift me up and help me become more flexible and positive about new situations.

There are some things about my pain that will always be difficult for me on earth.  Yet God’s unchanging compassion, grace, strength, mercy, love, and forgiveness will always be there to carry me through.  And I have the hope and certainty of knowing that whatever changes I experience throughout eternity will be good ones, praise God!

Prayer:  Dear Lord, what a comfort it is to know that no matter how unstable my life or this world becomes, You remain unchanging.  As I learn to adapt to difficult changes help me see the positive aspects of them, knowing that all change is under Your constant, divine control. Amen.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Are the Apple of God's Eye

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8).
I love apples – the taste, smell, and feel of them.  Although I eat them year round, I especially connect them with late summer and early fall because of various apple-related events here in Virginia.

What does it mean to be the apple of God’s eye?  A few possible meanings are to be cherished above all others, to be very dear to someone, or to be the focus of someone (since the pupil is the center of the eye and focuses on objects).  It means we are very special and precious to God.

Many times I feel that to be true, but other times my pain and trials cause me to doubt. It is interesting to note the contexts in which God says we are the apple of His eye.  In Zechariah 2:8,  Israel had been plundered by enemies because of their faithlessness, yet God said He would be merciful to them and rebuild them (Zechariah 1:17).  They were “His most precious possession” (New Living Translation).

In Deuteronomy 32:10, Moses was recounting Israel’s wilderness wanderings because of their faithlessness, yet God found them in their barren and howling waste and cared for them.  In Psalm 17:8, David believed He was the apple of God’s eye despite his life-threatening experiences not only with pagans but Israelites as well (King Saul).

Being precious and greatly loved by God may not keep us from unpleasant, difficult, or even dangerous circumstances.  But regardless of how our lives and struggles appear to us, we must keep believing in faith that God’s loving and watchful focus is always on us, working out His perfect plan for us.

The next time I bite into an apple, not only can I thank God that I am the apple of His eye, but also pray that I will maintain faith in Him and His commands as the apple of my eye (Proverbs 7:2).  Then I will enjoy physical fruit as well as spiritual fruit!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, how comforting it is to know that I am so precious to You.  May my earthly sufferings not cause me to doubt this wonderful truth.  Amen.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Even through Pain and Suffering, God’s Eyes Are Always on Us and His Strength Is Always with Us

"The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (II Chronicles 16:9).

Modern technology is quite amazing.  Have you ever used a search engine on the computer that can find any location on the planet and show you pictures of that location?  You can begin by viewing the entire earth and continually zoom in until you reach your desired destination. 

Satellites may be able to see many things, but they can never compare to the eyes of God.  In Scripture passages such as Ezekiel 1, visions of God’s glory include many eyes, symbolic of His omnipresence and omniscience.  Our human minds cannot comprehend the ability to see everything and everyone at all times, but our great God does just that.

God is always completely aware of our every move.  Not only does He see us but He also knows what we are feeling and experiencing.  He knows the times when we need His strength simply to lie in bed, enduring physical pain.  He knows when we need His strength to accomplish things we must do as a part of our earthly lives.  He knows when we need strength to keep going even when oppression and depression weigh us down.  He knows when we need His strength to serve others, even when it seems physically impossible.

The Revised Standard Version of this verse says that God’s eyes run throughout the whole earth to show His might on our behalf when our hearts are perfect toward Him.  In our own strength we can do nothing, especially when we live with consistent health problems.  Yet if we fully commit our days to Him, trusting and believing that His all-seeing eyes are continually on us and His all-sufficient strength is continually working within us, we truly can do all things.  Great is the Lord; His greatness no one can fathom! (Psalm 145:3).

Prayer:  O Lord, how we thank you that we have the assurance of knowing that Your eyes are always on us – protecting us, loving us, and sustaining us with Your strength.  Let that assurance bring us comfort and victory as we go through each day.  Amen.