By Ed Major
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”
Maybe some of you are tired of sermons or devotionals encouraging us to trust the Lord during the difficulties of 2020-21. You say, “Can we just move on already?” To be honest, I resisted writing on this topic thinking there must be something else I could encourage people with. But the Lord has been nudging me for weeks to write it. And, we are all aware, 2021 isn’t letting us “move on” quite yet. There is still more that God wants to do through the pandemic.
Honestly, 2020 was probably the hardest year of my life and it just wasn’t about lock downs and pandemics, but personal failure and lost relationships. But as 2020 came to an end, I had mixed feelings about the year. Part of me wanted to move on from restrictions and get back to normal life, but another part of me looked back at 2020 with fondness because of the God induced halt on busyness where, for the first time in my life, I was more of a Mary than a Martha (Luke 10:38-42) learning to rest and trust in Him while sitting at His feet. In 2020, I learned more about the necessity to let Jesus “give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) and that He really will show up and comfort at the perfect time when we cry out to Him. I learned that periods of less activity are a gift from God, not something to feel guilty about, but an opportunity to do “what is better” and be with Him. And I saw the goodness and love of God in His discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11). Have you noticed that the Lord has this brilliant way of disciplining His children so that they, soon after, turn around and praise Him for it? If only I could be that good at disciplining my children . . . that is, if they actually needed to be disciplined, of course.
At a really difficult point last Summer when Kate and I were feeling lost and confused and were crying out for a word from the Lord, He put it on the heart of a friend to send a devotional to Kate and I that really encouraged us and gave us some perspective. It was in the context of God’s all-knowing goodness and how we can be confident during difficult times that He has our best in mind. Here is a portion of the message:
“A wise pastor was asked by a troubled parishioner, ‘Pastor, does the world look like a wreck to you too? He replied, ‘Yes, like the wreck of a bursting seed!’ Without undergoing the ‘wreck’ stage, during which its world literally falls apart, the acorn could never give life to an oak tree. So embrace God’s will in this trial because it’s ‘good, acceptable and perfect’, regardless of how it feels to you right now (Romans 12:2).”
Nothing can separate us from God’s love! I have been reading through the Psalms lately and have been surprised by how many times the writers complain to God that He seems absent. It seems it’s not uncommon for God to “hide” at times as His goal for us is maturity and a deeper desire for Him. At the time when it hurts the most, when we feel lost and confused and even may feel abandoned by God (let’s not forget that even Jesus, Himself, felt abandoned by God on the cross), God is doing a little “wrecking” in our lives because it’s one way He can bring us new life.