“Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.”
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
It happened more than 40 years ago. I was at university, sitting on a bench on campus talking to God. I wanted more, wanted to understand God’s love. I prayed, “Lord, let me see people the way you do.” In a moment a friend, Evelyn, walked by. We didn’t exchange a word, but my heart began to break as I saw how much God loved her. I began to weep with the weight of God’s love for her. It was more than I could bear, more than I could imagine. It was too much and I prayed, “Lord, stop, I can’t take any more.”
I think of that moment often. It was a life changing moment for me to see others the way God sees them. His love for us is more than we can understand, more than we can bear, it’s wonderfully overwhelming. I could only see a small glimpse into his love and it broke me, it changed me. I think of that park bench and Evelyn often and remember the sense of God’s love for her and for others as they walked by.
But only recently did I get the full meaning of that moment more than 40 years ago (yes, I’m slow). During this time of sabbatical it suddenly struck me that God loves me the same way he loves Evelyn! I don’t know why I never put those pieces together, but I didn’t. I suddenly realized a message meant for me more than 40 years ago finally got through- God loves me!
Yes, yes…I know all about that from the bible. I know God loves me, but to really know it, to really understand how he feels about me, the emotion of it…even if it’s just a glimpse….has changed my walk with him. It’s a shame that it took 40 years for me to “get it”.
There’s no way to describe the depth of this love of the Father, this overwhelming love he has for us. There’s no words for it other than what we can see in the cross. The cross tells us all we can bear about the love of God. God loves us so much that he gave the eternal son to redeem us, to make us his children. This love isn’t just actions, but it’s rich with emotions. It’s a love with a depth we could never fully understand. It’s a love that is overwhelmingly wonderful.
God loves you, he loves me, he loves Evelyn more than you could possibly imagine. It’s this love that has made it possible for us to be his children. A love wonderfully beyond words. A love so grand that the cross is only a glimpse of how glorious it is. A love that would overwhelm you…..a love for you that is more than you could bear or even imagine.
God loves you.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
So often we get caught up in the day-to-day processes of life that we can lose hope and feel like things will never change. Sometimes we hear of famous people who seem to be an overnight sensation and wonder “why did it come so easily for them”? However, you discover from the story of their life that they had been diligently working away for years in small ventures, gaining experience and perfecting their skills, just waiting to land the right opportunity.
Looking through the Bible there are some wonderful examples of those who experience their sudden moment. Shepherds tending their flocks, a group of people united in faith and purpose, prisoners praying and singing, and a misguided man on a journey of cruel intention – all of them experienced their appointed moment of “suddenly”. Listed below are their stories.
Luke 2:13 – And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God…
God shows up to announce a fulfillment of His promise and purpose. These were ordinary shepherds doing ordinary work. They weren’t too busy or distracted to hear and respond to the spectacular announcement made by the angels. Sometimes the promise has been a long time coming, but as we remain available to respond God will make sure we don’t miss its sudden arrival.
Matthew 17: 5 – While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
Don’t be surprised when God suddenly decides to publicly praise, reward or honor you as a result of your faithfulness. When your praise is God ordained, you don’t have to be fearful of pride gaining a foothold. He knows just the right way to bless and acknowledge you in such a way that you won’t become prideful. You can rejoice in knowing that your Heavenly Father is pleased with you.
Acts 2:2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
As we wait patiently and faithfully continue doing what we know we’re supposed to do, God will show up in a big way to reveal something more of His purpose for us. Something new and unexpected is suddenly made available to us by His gracious provision. The key is to be patient and faithful right where you are at now.
Acts 9:3 – As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
Then there are those times when God encounters people when they aren’t even looking for Him. Perhaps you have been interceding on behalf of someone else for a long time, but don’t be surprised when they share with you about their sudden and unexpected, God-orchestrated encounter. He knows exactly how, when and where to meet people in their journey of life.
Acts 16:26 – Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
Sometimes we feel resistance that is the same as heavy chains upon us. But there are no chains so great that God cannot loose us from them as we keep our focus on Him. The resistance you feel can be used as a point of growth and strengthening, but it is not meant to endure forever. When the time is right you will be enabled to freely move on to the next thing appointed for you and ultimately celebrate success.
Sometimes what feels like a sudden change is something that has been gradually building and it just feels sudden because it has been a long time coming. Some sudden moments have been built by the bridge of faithfulness and endurance, other times those moments have been built through life experience and preparation, and others are simply God’s grace and purpose extended to us. Be encouraged and remember that God has not forgotten you and He knows the perfect timing for your moment of “suddenly”.
I have personally experienced an entire season of sudden moments where multiple things seemed to converge like change and crisis, leaving me both confused and in awe. It could have been entirely overwhelming at the time, but looking back I see where God’s hand guided me and the wisdom of His timing makes so much sense in hindsight.
Have you ever experience a moment of suddenly with God? Are you anticipating God to move suddenly in your life this year? What can you do to be prepared for you suddenly moment? Your comments are always welcome and are a wonderful source of encouragement for others.
Lightning photo by Larry Johnson
May I take the Thanksgiving theme a little further? One day is simply not enough for me to say thanks for God’s love, goodness and faithfulness to us. I can’t help myself, but must talk about it a little more. Will you indulge me for a moment longer?
I’m thankful to God for who he is, who he shows himself to be- good, loving and faithful. Those attributes show up in our world in three ways, 1. what he has done, 2. what he’s doing now, and 3. what he will do in the future. All three declare to a watching world that God is good, loving and faithful to his creation. Here are a few of the things I have noted in these thoughts. There are many more, but this will be enough for this post. Continue reading Thankful a little longer