Saturday, August 13, 2022

See What God Can Do!

 


Photo by Marwan Mohamad 2016

With so many friends undergoing extraordinary trials, I thought it would be fitting to repost this, which I wrote during a trial that changed our lives yet strengthened our faith and reassured us of God's faithfulness. May it be a blessing and encouragement to those who read it. Our trial is not over, but we are constantly reminded that Christ will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and that He is working all things together for our good and His ultimate glory (Romans 8:28).
 
Recently my husband and I had some unsettling news that struck us like a bolt of lightning and has been hanging over us like a heavy cloud ever since.

No one knows what tomorrow may bring, and we are not even promised tomorrow (James 4:14). But as born-again Christians (John 3:3-8) who have trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven, we do know that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), and without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

It is tempting to try to take control, using our flesh to bring about a solution, rather than yielding to God’s perfect will, love, knowledge and power (Isaiah 26:4). Yet His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We must leave our burdens at the foot of His cross, for those who wait on the Lord, and His perfect timing and resolution, will have renewed strength and rise up with wings as of eagles (Isaiah 40:31).

Looking back on trials we have gone through before, it is reassuring to see how God always is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13), always protects and provides for us (Matthew 6:25-34), and always gives us what we need, even if it is not always what we think we want (Matthew 6:8). Not only in our own lives, but in those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in countless Bible examples, we can see His hand at work (Isaiah 41:10).

Sometimes all we need to have the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is a little reminder, like a love note or unexpected blessing as a token of our Bridegroom’s constant, unfailing love (Jeremiah 33:11). So when we first learned of this trial, part of my silent prayer to our Father was that He would show me a rainbow as a symbol of His protection and provision (Genesis 9:13-16).

We live in Florida, and it is summer, when showers often pierce sunny skies, so this is not an unreasonable request. It is hardly of the order of magnitude of Gideon asking for his fleece to be bone dry in the midst of soggy ground (Judges 6:36-39), or of Elijah pouring buckets of rain on the altar and asking God to ignite it with fire from Heaven (1 Kings 18). And I know that I can be sure of God’s love without needing a sign (Matthew 16:4), for we already know of the life-changing sign of the empty tomb!

Still, I longed for this reassurance. A full month went by, with no rainbow, even though we had been outside often as we had started a daily brisk walking program. Finally, last week while walking the beach at sunset as storm clouds were brewing overhead, I happened to look up. There was the smallest, barest sliver of rainbow light peeking through the dark cloud cover!

I showed it to my husband and shared with him that I had prayed for this sign of God’s promises, and we thanked God together for showing it to us. But God always answers prayer exceeding abundantly (Ephesians 3:20) beyond what we could ever think or imagine!

The next morning, we both awoke an hour before we had planned to get out of bed. So we stumbled downstairs to get dressed for our daily brisk walk before it rained or got too hot. I was in the next room when I heard my husband yelling my name to come right away, followed by the blaring of the house alarm! In his excitement to open the sliding doors facing the beach, he had forgotten to shut it off!

So I ran out, still grumpy from restless sleep and lack of coffee, about to chide him for his carelessness, when I saw firsthand what had caused all the fuss – the most spectacular, stunning, amazing rainbow we had ever seen! (I am not one to string superlatives together, but this sight truly defied description!)
 
It was a perfect half circle, parallel to the horizon, and our porch was centered right in the middle of it! It was as if God said, “Have a seat, kids, and enjoy the show, because I’ve given you the best seat in the house!”

The arch of the rainbow was thick and unbroken by clouds, even though a few fleecy clouds dotted the gray-blue sky. A silvery rain sparkled in the sky to the left of our unit, but oddly there was no rain in front of us to blur the perfect view. The colors were vibrant jewel tones of ruby, sapphire, emerald and topaz, reflecting into the robin’s egg blue waves as the ends of the rainbow reflected on and disappeared into the water. The perfect arch was exactly centered on the horizon and extended over two thirds of its length. It was as if the gateway to Heaven had opened before us!

As we sat there agape, we thought about taking a picture, but we realized that even a wide-angle lens would be far too narrow to encompass the glorious sight visible only to our eyes. Instead we were content just to bask in God’s glory (Deuteronomy 5:24), the beauty of the Master Designer’s creation (Genesis 1-2), and His faithfulness to bless us! It was time just to be still, and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

As we sat in silent worship, praise and thanksgiving, a man came out onto the beach, and almost instantaneously the brilliant rainbow began to fade, disappearing completely in just a few seconds. It was as if God orchestrated this magnificent display of His greatness solely for our benefit.

If God takes the time and care to answer the small requests of His children in such a lavish way, would He not be even more faithful to provide for our greatest needs? We still have no resolution of our trial, and no knowledge of what tomorrow may bring. Yet we know that no harm can touch us that He does not allow to accomplish His perfect plan for our life (Job 1:9-10), and we trust Him to work all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).    

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.


© 2019 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Are You In the Flow? Triplets of Love, Light, and Living Water

 


Photo byUoaei1

Are you “in the flow?” When athletes, artists, or speakers experience a peak performance, they often refer to that as being “in the flow.” All of us have enjoyed those rare days when everything seems to flow smoothly, from not hitting any traffic lights, to finding the perfect parking space, to accomplishing our daily goals effortlessly, joyfully, and without obstacles.

In the Bible, the word “flow” describes an ongoing supply of blessings. The Promised Land flows with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8,17; 13:5; 33:3, etc.), and spices flow from His garden of delights (Song of Solomon 4:16). Waters flow at God’s command (Psalm 147:18) to refresh His people (Jeremiah 18:14), and God’s wisdom is like a flowing brook (Proverbs 18:4

When God redeems His people, they will flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil (Jeremiah 31:12), All nations will flow into God’s house in the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1).

Like all blessings, being in the Divine flow is a gift from God. It results from handing over our cares and burdens to Him (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Peter 5:7); yielding to His Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19), and trusting Him to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Experiencing the Divine flow is possible only for those who are born again (John 3:3-8) by placing our faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

God’s Triune nature is reflected in so many aspects of His character, attributes, and creation, as we have discussed before. The Divine flow is also expressed in triplets of love, light, and living water streaming abundantly from His radiant Being. These surround us in a nurturing, illuminating, outpouring fountain of Himself.

When I think of how God reveals Himself through His creation, through His relationship to us, and through the lives of His fully yielded children, a unifying theme is His freely flowing energy that guides us, saves us, and cleanses us. His self-sacrificing love (John 3:16) gives us eternal, abundant life (John 10:10); His Word is the light that shows us the way (Psalm 119:105); and He is the fountain of Living Water Who has forever cleansed us from our sins (Jeremiah 17:13).

Because God is love (1 John 4:8), light (1 John 1:5), and Spirit (John 4:24), we are commanded to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2), to walk in the light (1 John 1:7; Ephesians 5:8), and to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25). The Holy Spirit in Scripture is often symbolized by water, as in the rivers of living water that flow from anyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (John 7:38).

John the Baptist noted the transition that would occur from his baptizing believers with water to Jesus Christ baptizing with the Holy Spirit. In the baptism of Jesus, He arises from the water as the Spirit descends on Him, the light of Heaven shines upon Him, and the Father announces His love for His Son (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:8-11; Luke 3:21-22).

Before God even spoke His first recorded command, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3), the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). God described the light and all the rest of His creation as “good,” reflecting His loving nature in designing His creation to be solely good and not evil.

God hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding (Jeremiah 51:15-16). Although Satan is now the prince of the power of the air Ephesians 2:2), God retains His control over all His creation, including the rain, lightning, and wind (Jeremiah 10:12-13). We have all experienced His infinite power in torrents of rain flowing from Heaven, lightning bolts transforming electrical energy to light, heat and sound, and wind, which, like the Spirit, is invisible but known by its effects (John 3:8).

We appreciate being “in the flow” as we praise God for His power and His wisdom, but especially for His love. We know God only because His love flows from us to one another (1 John 4:7-21), and the world knows we are Christians only when our love flows to them. God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5), and Jesus said we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Loving God means to fear Him, to walk in all his ways, and to serve Him with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 10:12). Our faith in Christ leads us to love Him, which leads God the Father to love us as His children (John 16:27).

We cannot imagine the depths of God’s love and the rewards He has planned for us, for they cannot compare with anything we have seen, heard, or longed for in our hearts (1 Corinthians 2:9). When we love God, Who first loved us and saved us, we can experience His love pouring over us like the flowing melody of joyful music. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing!

Praise God that His love flows from all three Persons of the Trinity: the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 13:14). Praise God that His perfect love flowing through us washes us from fear (1 John 4:18), bathing us instead in power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). May we delight in the flow of His love, light, and living water!


© 2014 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives