I have experienced instances of what I have come to call "God moments." I have these moments, when it's as if all of my senses are heightened-and I can see/hear/feel/sense God in that moment. Sometimes, it's a moment of clarity that hits like a bolt of lightning. Sometimes it's a gentle reminder of something I need to hear. Often, it happens in times of pain-grief or sadness over some situation or relationship or loss. Often, it is right smack in the middle of a seemingly normal moment in a busy day. This post is about the first kind. Part two is about the second kind.
Some of the most recent God moments were during a dark time in my life. I have identified 3 seasons in my life that are what you could call "dark nights of the soul". Painful, excruciating seasons that when they were happening, I wasn't sure I would survive. Tough times, but tougher than most. Times when I thought the pain would surely kill me. The first two dark times, I did not turn to God. I tried to do things my way. To deal with the pain and the problems in my own way, on my own timing. What a joke! All I did was succeed in making things worse. Hurt myself and other people along the way.
By the time the 3rd dark season came along, my relationship with God had really started to blossom and grow. I found a Bible teaching church that was about Relationship, not religion. I had some honest to goodness, sincere, growing Christian friends. People who understood a lot more about God's real character than I ever learned in my "religion". And this season was the darkest of my life so far. The hardest thing I've had to live through so far. And I could see it coming. My mom had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was dying.
On some level I had gained enough understanding to know that my ways were not working and that I was not going to be able to get through this season on my own. So I made a choice. I remember it clearly-I said to God, "okay, I'm going to do it Your way. Instead of trying to avoid the pain and run away, I'm going face it. But You will have to get me through it, because I can NOT do this. I believe You when You say that You will be with me, and I believe that Your ways are better than mine."
And that has made all the difference.
- I turned TO God instead of myself/my own ideas/ways for coping (ie avoiding).
- I turned to a select few trusted friends.
- I turned to prayer, my own (when I could) and asked others to pray for me when I could not.
- I turned to the pain, instead of trying to pretend "I'm okay."
The day of my mother's funeral has been the hardest day of my life, so far. I got through it by the grace of God, helped by the prayers of many Christ following friends. I literally experienced it like this story out of the book of Exodus (17:12-13):
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
I felt people holding me up in prayer. As if good friends were hugging me, supporting me and helping me walk through that day. Holding my arms and my head up, because I could not do it myself. People were there, with me-what a gift that is. People who couldn't be there, physically, were there in spirit-in prayer. And I felt it. I felt people holding my hands up because I couldn't do it.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR PRAYERS.
And you know what I am learning on this journey we call following Christ?
God is good.
How kind the LORD is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!
God is kind.
Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? Romans 2:4
God is loving.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
God is close to the broken-hearted.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
God is faithful and can be trusted.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Chronicles 1:9
These are not just words on a page. They are God's Word. They are love letters from God to me. And to you. I have not just read these words, I have experienced them. I have lived them.
God's ways are better than mine.
God loves and accepts me, even when I screw up. The same is true for you. Honestly, it is true for you too.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have questions about it? A strong reaction one way or the other? Click "additional thoughts" Let's talk about it.
Click here to read God Moments part two (what I originally sat down to tell you about)