Serendipity! I think that is the word that I am thinking of: a blessed and unexpected moment that God gave me this morning. As I was leaving the house, I was adjusting my Bluetooth headset around my neck and “accidentally” hit the button that started the music on my iPhone. What a thrill touched my heart as I heard the voice of Wes Hampton along with the rest of the Gaither Vocal Band singing “I’ll Pray for You” (https://youtu.be/UhrxwsA9gQM). If you have never heard that song, you need to find it immediately and listen. Better yet, find the lyrics, too, and read them as you listen. Immediately following this song came Laura Story’s “Blessings” ( https://youtu.be/XQan9L3yXjc). You need to listen to this one as well.
These are two powerful songs about the power of God’s presence through the trials of this life. Just to whet your appetite, Wes Hampton sings, “… heart so broken, God is so far… sleep won’t come, tears won’t quit… can you remember, I won’t forget… when you can’t think, you can’t even pray….” Have you ever been there? I have. I am. We are. Then all of a sudden, Wes sings, “…please hold on to one thing that’s true, all this time He’s holding you.” And I can tell you from one fellow pilgrim to another in this life’s spiritual journey, he is exactly right. During these last 7 months, on more occasions than I can count, I have heard God’s voice and felt His tender embrace. During this very difficult time, I have been asked over and over how I have been able to keep going. This is why. God’s presence was more than adequate to carry me through the most difficult of the days.
Then as I listened to Laura Story, God spoke to my heart. “What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near? And what if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?” Wow! As I looked back over these last 7 months, I realized that there had been many sleepless nights and unending tears as I cried out to God. In that moment, God showed me that He has been using these trials to strengthen and heal me. I have learned lessons about myself that I had refused to hear. I have seen changes in the way I think about things. And He has shown me what true forgiveness is all about as He has forgiven me for my sin and as He has empowered me to forgive those who I felt had wronged me. Pay attention to what I am about to say: nothing is more freeing – nothing is more healing – than to forgive and release those people who have hurt you without the expectation of an apology or a confession. Truly, the trials of this life have been His mercies in disguise.
So, my friends, as you read this, if you are going through the fires of this life or the flood of problems seems like it is about to overwhelm you, remember the words of Isaiah 43: 1-3.
1 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
And think about this: as a child of God, He didn’t give Egypt, Ethiopia or Seba as your ransom. He gave His only begotten Son. That should be enough to get you through the darkest valleys of this life. I know it has been for me.