Tag Archive | eternity

where were the angels?

Many of us believe in angels.

More commonly, angels intervening in a situation and saving someone from danger or death.

Car accidents, a house fire, or a bullet that just missed the heart, to name a few.

In the recent church shooting which murdered 27 people on a Sunday morning, at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, the question may arise, where were the angels?

The truth is, angels are not always protecting or saving people from death, are they? Which in turn, we equate God is not always protecting or saving people from death.

Otherwise, everyone, certainly the devoted Christian, would be protected.

At least that’s how our mind might work.

I have always felt badly for those left behind after a tragedy because the consensus of angels getting the credit for a miracle (sent by God, of course). It could make those who lost their loved one think they weren’t good enough, they didn’t pray enough, they didn’t have enough faith, or that God does not care about them or love them.

Those can be very painful thoughts. Thoughts that some carry throughout their lifetime.

Thoughts that are not true.

When I lost my oldest son at 24 years old, I wondered, where were the angels? 

Even though there will always be a part of my heart that feels like it is not beating, I had to come to terms with my faith or I would have wanted to die, too. A mother wants to know her kids are safe and where they are. When your child dies, no matter how old he or she is, you cannot fix it.  I was suspended in a place unknown and unfamiliar.

I had to figure some things out. If I had stayed focused with the lack of angelic protection for my son, I would have been miserable all these years. Faith is believing what you cannot tangibly see and I had to either believe God’s promises were true or not in order to go on.

Today more than ever, people “believe God” for healing and miracles. Sermons are preached of doing greater works than Jesus and  faith that moves mountains. People even pray for God to dispatch angels.

How did suffering people throughout the centuries view this message? What did they do when this was not so prevalent as it is today? People who did not have all the bells and whistles, entitlements, access to one-click purchases, retirement funds, and more?

I think they embraced what the bible says, they “longed for a better place, that is, a heavenly one”.

On a good day, do we long for that better place?

How about on a bad day?

I believe in prayer. I think we should pray for healing and miracles and everything else that is good. I don’t believe we should sit back and settle.

If we have attributed angelic intervention to our circumstances (ultimately God’s intervention), we have to remember others do not have this same experience.

What they do have is something else I believe is valid and important to understand. It is rarely not shared with the testimonies of answered prayer, especially those with the acknowledgment of angelic activity. I mean, who wants to say what is not so wonderful to hear? Give me the answered prayer. The miracle.

The angels.

Early on after Christopher’s death, I felt God in a way I had never felt before. Yes, I did stop eating on purpose. Yes, I did end up having anxiety attacks and needed medication.

But, God was showing me so much that brought comfort in a way that I think only those who have experienced immense suffering and grief understand.

Angels don’t just rescue us from physical danger.

They are sent by God as ministering spirits, just as God sent one to strengthen Jesus as he was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion.

Had I not walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I would not have known what it was like to not fear. I would not have experienced the comfort of God’s rod and staff. I would not have gotten stronger without God leading me to green pastures and still waters and eventually, seeing my soul restored.

People who have been to this valley have seen God in a way others have not. In the bible, Job suffered unimaginably in this valley, and at the end he said, I’ve heard of You [God] but now my eyes have seen you. 

It is true, today, even the most devoted Christian can be caught up with here and now. God made us to live with eternity always within our view. When we don’t, we are missing something vital to the Christian life. Something that keeps us steady, anchored, and accepting of things gone wrong.

Living with an eternal view keeps things in perspective.

And perspective is exactly what we need when we ask, where were the angels?

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perspective.

 

Today, while peeling an orange, I thought about people who lived centuries ago, who never tasted an orange.

Or a banana.

Or ice cream.

Those who struggled to breathe on their death beds without the remedy of penicillin.

Those who went to war without a cell phone to call home.

Those who died in childbirth and premature babies who did not live without access to what we have today.

And more.

This doesn’t make the pain better. But it does give perspective.

God spoke about an eternal perspective and living daily with a view of eternity in sight.

That’s because God knows we need to look ahead in order to survive the pain.

Way ahead of here and now.

Without pausing to reflect about people who lived without the small and big things available to us, we get self absorbed for too long.

It’s up to us to reflect and remember so we don’t become consumed with hopelessness.

There is a last chapter and it’s not written yet.

Meanwhile, God comforts us until that day in eternity.

 
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wait for the Lord.

I personally have found it challenging to wait on the Lord because of the fast paced world we live in today.

Nevertheless, the Bible says:

Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.

I have navigated through life always embracing the scripture, no matter how I felt, no matter what things looked like.

That’s not to say I haven’t run the gamut of emotions when faced with frustration, disappointment, and tragedy.

But at the end of the day, we put our trust in something.

Putting your trust in God and what he says makes us wait. Waiting is difficult for most of us.

Waiting for what?

Waiting for God to lead us in a way we weren’t anticipating.

Some people say , “God opens doors”. We might not like that because WE want to be the one to open (or close) doors.

That’s not to say we can’t because God does give us that ability to do so.

It’s just that many times we find ourselves stuck in a place and not moving. We don’t like that. If we don’t trust God and wait (only because he tells us to), we will either forge ahead or go backwards. Either way, we can make it worse.

And it’s amazing to me how he is always with us even when we take matters into our own hands. He places sure footing before our steps, even when we’re going in the wrong direction.

Make yourself wait.

When you least expect it, a door will open and bring you into a new place. This has happened to me and it really is wonderful because you know God did it.

But there is another waiting.

Waiting for eternity.

Because we’re all going to die someday. No matter what your religion, you can’t dispute that fact.

I know God promise eternal life with him when we believe. Not the kind of click your heels 3x fairy tale stuff believing.

This kind:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

And this:

Yet to all who did receive him[Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – 1 John 3:23

If you are hurting right now, God promises this:

He [God]will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

You don’t understand now.

But someday you will.

For now, wait for the Lord.

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how?

I’ve said it before.

I don’t know how people face difficult times without faith in God.

You have to have something that you know is going to change your situation, even if it’s only at the very end of your existence.

With God, you know what the end of the story is. Eternity. Reunion. Restoration.

That feels like a long time off, doesn’t it?

It is. But it’s coming.

It doesn’t take the hurt away but it fills us with hope, believing God will do what he promises us.

Without this assurance, how do people live?

How do they process the sorrows of life?

To believe when life ends it’s over doesn’t line up with how we think now. We were made to hope in the smallest of things.

Shouldn’t we naturally hope in the biggest thing?

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waiting patiently.

It’s normal for us to ask where God is when we are grieving.

We question if he even exists.

We question all the things we’re told: how much he loves us, how he is with us, how he cares.

It doesn’t feel like it, does it?

It isn’t easy to not have all the answers. Especially if you live in a wealthy, productive, and successful part of the world.

We are conditioned for impatience.

Death is one thing we cannot control. We have to accept it. But we are wired to have hope and faith – to believe beyond death.

The Bible says this: He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Thing is, it’s normal to close off that part of our heart when we come face to face with tragedy. It’s because we are protecting ourselves.

In time, we will open up, little by little, as God whispers truths of comfort into our broken hearts.

In other words, there is no quick fix. It takes time. God is there, helping us through the time it takes.

Throughout the Bible, God tells us we need patience.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

There is nothing to do but believe.

There is nothing to do but wait.

If we keep wrestling, we’ll become exhausted.

Body, soul, and spirit exhausted.

God will help you be patient.

wait

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waiting.

Waiting is one of the most difficult things to do in this fast-paced world we live in.

So much is accessible.

And quickly.

God, however, is not in a hurry. In fact, the Bible says much about waiting.

Every Christian’s hope is living with the expectation of God fulfilling his promises to us and making everything right.

But that takes waiting.

Waiting to be reunited with your loved one.

The days go by slowly, don’t they? But our lives are very short in comparison to eternity.

We can spend them being frustrated most days or we can decide there is nothing to do but wait.

Before you resolve to wait, you have to trust what God tells us.

Do you?

Will you?

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look forward.

We look forward to lots of things.

To the weekend, dinner at our favorite restaurant, family visiting, a good football game …

We were made to look forward to things. Life would be pretty miserable without it.

How about eternity? Do you look forward to eternity?

Since it is pleasant to look forward here, God also wants us to look forward to life there.

If you don’t believe in God, if you don’t believe in Heaven …

If you believe it all ends here …

Why?

The expectation we have here points to God who put this hope in our hearts in the first place. The beauty and wonder we live with here only confirms this truth for all eternity.

 

 

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