Tag Archive | Psalm 23

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?

Church Shooting Texas

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answers.

When we’re suffering, we look for answers.

Sometimes, they have been there all along.

The Bible says: Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

That means God knew some of us would be neglected or disowned by our fathers and/or mothers.

The Bible says: Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.

That means God knew we would be afraid.

The Bible says: Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

That means God knew we would worry.

The Bible says: You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

That means God knew we would cry.

These may not seem like answers but they are. They do not answer why God does not stop bad things from happening. That is the answer we all really want.

We aren’t going to get that anwer now. To keep asking will only discourage and frustrate us. We will be miserable and bitter.

But to know God wants to comfort, strengthen, and help us when everything is wrong, tells us the kind of God he is. He is not distanced or angry.

Job, was a man who knew physical, mental, and emotional suffering. He was a blameless man of complete integrity. Yet, “Job never saw why he suffered, but he saw God, and that was enough.” (Timothy Keller)

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. –Job 42:5

What is your situation?

Are you willing for Him to be your answer?

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Mara ~earth light~ via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

valley.

I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. I was sucked into it. It was the most darkest place I’ve ever walked.

vHad I not walked through, I would not have known God was with me. I would not have known the comfort of his rod and staff. I would not have known he leads me besides still waters. I would not have known there is no evil to fear.

I would not have really known what God is like at all.

We don’t like pain. We avoid it at all costs – denial, anger, bitterness, self-pity ….

You cannot prevent your birth and you cannot prevent your death. You cannot prevent facing the valley of the shadow of death. You will stand at its entrance.

Walk through it. You may be surprised what you find there.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23

scripture friday.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

-Psalm 23:4

dark valley

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Photo credit: The Rusty Projector / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

a positive message.

Don’t let the positive messengers out there fool you.

You can’t make yourself feel better by simply telling yourself this is “your best life now”, and all that goes with that message. It may suffice for some people whose challenges are minimal. It can give you a temporary high. It can even lie to you by making you think that your positive outlook, your performance, caused the positive outcome.

But for the grandfather who is doubled over with pain from stomach cancer or the young mother who is now paralyzed with a stroke, the positive message is a mockery to human angst.

I understand the importance of choosing to be optimistic. And yes, we can and should talk ourselves into at least considering there is another side to whatever we’re facing. But so often, the positive message comes from people who had a positive outcome to what they prayed or believed for.

Where does that leave people who didn’t get a positive outcome?

If you look closely, those hurting people have a positive message, too. It was despite their outcome that they found the true positive message. They had to dig deep to find it. Deeper than any popular book, teaching, or sermon. Deeper than anything the human spirit or intellect can contrive.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

isolation

Your positive message will be that you’ve seen the light of God’s face in the darkness. And don’t be surprised if people don’t listen. Because humans have always been good at finding another way.

God may not change your situation. But He will wipe away your tears.

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Photo credit: atzu / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

scripture friday.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

Psalm 23:4

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Photo Credit: Waiting For The Word / Foter.com / CC BY