God Knows Best: Even if It Doesn’t Seem So
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
My life has been an uproar lately. I have not been able to write, nor have I been able to think clearly. The time is fast approaching marking “one year” since my Mother had her stroke. Soon after, will be one year since I was forced to put her into a nursing home. Not long after will be … one year since she breathed her last on this planet.
When one person leaves such a huge void in my life, I am at a loss as to what to do about it. My life was not my own for so many years while I cared for the needs of my Mother. My dreams lay at the door, waiting for the moment when I could pick them up again. I do not regret one moment of the time spent with her. She needed me, and I needed to be needed!
God knew what my needs were before the words were even a breath. As I begged God to show me what to do to help my Mom, it became very clear that it wasn’t about what I wanted. I simply wanted my Mom back. I wanted her to get up off of that bed and tell me to quit being so bossy, just one more time! It wasn’t meant to be. It was her time and I needed to let her go peacefully. As much as I didn’t want to!
In those moments in time when I don’t have a clue what to do next, God does! When my head is hanging and my heart is broken, God knows what the next step is. God knows how much I hurt. He also knows that His plan is so much better. My Mom used to say, “If I could just get some rest I would feel better.” Well, Mom finally got the rest she has been wanting for such a long time.
As I stand here looking at my own dreams, I find it hard to pick them up. Somewhere in my sadness, I must remind myself that it is ok to be sad, but I must also move on. My inability to write has been because of the loss of my Mom. Her words ring in my ears, “Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do what you have to do!” I have allowed myself to get bogged down in depression long enough. She lived a good life, and now so must I.
While I still feel like Job a bit, I am becoming more and more excited about the life that is before me. The door is opening and I must walk through it. My Mom would want me to. She was the one that read every Devotion I ever wrote. She was the one that always said, “Go for it!”
“I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:14
While taking care of my Mom was not exactly “exile”, as I enjoyed my time with her, it was still somewhat of a deviation from what I had planned. It is a road I will never be sorry for taking.
You never know what the plans are that God has for you. You cannot know the road He will take you on. I learned many things about myself while taking care of my Mother – lessons that God felt I needed to learn. I am more patient now. I am somehow quieter as well. I am more reflective than I was before. My Mother and I spent the last eight months of her life studying the Bible. God knew all of this. He knew that I needed her just as much or more than she needed me! My life has been enriched because of the time spent with her. I am thankful for that time. My writing is much better now than it was before, and somehow God knew that too.
In Case You Were Wondering — God Knows
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” Psalm 34:15 (NIV)
So each time I spoke to God, I made sure He hadn’t forgotten by reminding Him constantly of my needs and desires. I felt He had a right to know I was still anxiously waiting for Him to act and that honestly, I was getting a little annoyed at His seeming lack of swift action and attention.
As I laid my head to rest one night after yet another exhausting, discouraging day, I finally asked the questions we all may be secretly tempted to ask when our circumstances don’t improve and our problems keep piling up: “Do You see me, Lord? Do You even hear what I’m saying? Do You know what’s happening?” Then moments later, I drifted off to sleep.
A few hours into the quiet darkness of the night, I abruptly awoke. There were no loud creepy sounds coming from another room and no startling thunder or lightning outside that would have interrupted my sleep. Total silence — except for a persistent musical rhythm dancing through my mind.
I recognized the tune but hadn’t heard it in quite some time, so it took my sleepy mind a couple minutes to figure it out. When the lyrics of the song finally came flowing into my mind, tears filled my eyes. The song title? “He knows,” by Jeremy Camp.
“He knows, every hurt and every sting; He has walked the suffering. Let your burdens come undone. Lift your eyes up to the One who knows. He knows.”
God had gently pulled me out of a deep sleep because He had something simple, yet so important, to tell me: He does see me … hear my prayers … and care. And above all, He knows.
My heart quickened at the thought of hearing from my heavenly Father in such a sweet and gentle way. In the midst of running the universe, God saw fit to remind me that just because I didn’t yet know how He was at work in my situations, didn’t mean He didn’t know exactly what was happening.
As the sun began to rise, I reached for my Bible and looked for verses about God’s attentiveness to our lives. I came across today’s key verse that reminds us: Even when we think God isn’t watching, He sees us. When we think He isn’t listening, He hears our prayers.
Scripture tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight” (Hebrews 4:13, NIV). There isn’t a day or a tear that God doesn’t know about. He sees whatever we’re going though … and He knows.
God’s Word also reassures us the Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help (Psalm 34:17). God knows every prayer spoken, and He hears the cries of our hearts.
The struggle to believe God sees us often signifies a problem within our hearts, not His heart for us. And yet, doubts don’t make us broken believers, just broken people living in a world where things break our hearts — and God’s.
But there’s no greater joy than seeing throughout Scripture that the Creator of the universe deeply cares about what we’re going through. Hope and peace can be ours when we believe that in God’s timing and in His ways, He will answer.
This late-night encounter with God helped me refocus on my faith and remember although He may not have answered my prayers, I can trust He knows.
If you’ve ever wondered if God cares about what you’re going through, take comfort today in letting yourself believe He does.
God Knows Our Way and His Plans Are Good – Crosswalk the Devotional – January 8
by Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes, we may not believe this is true. Troubles swirl around us, pressures feel too great, life seems hard. We might even feel like God has forgotten us and left us facing the struggles all alone.
Yet in the background of this great verse, we’re reminded that God spoke these words to His people, not when times were easy, but when times were very hard. They would endure 70 years of captivity, they would experience great suffering. And it’s right there, in the midst of all that, we can see the hope of God shine through.
He didn’t leave his people in the tough trials. He won’t leave us there either. He walks us through, reminding us that His plans are for good, for a future, for a hope. He is right with us, and breathes confidence and peace, that we will press through the struggle, and come out to the other side, stronger, faith-filled. He assures us that He will never waste the pain of what we experience in this life, but will bring greater good and blessing because of it.
If you find yourself facing hard times today, or maybe you’ve just walked through a difficult year, this verse is your reminder – there’s hope ahead. Be confident of this, God’s not finished yet. You’re still here, you’re gaining strength and perseverance through the trials. He has good in store, great purpose in all that we walk through, no matter how hard it may be.
He sees the big picture of our lives, and He’s aware of every little detail too. He knows what He’s doing, even when we can’t see it all yet. He often works behind the scenes that unfold our every day, in the places where we may not always understand His plans. Even through all our seasons of waiting.
So we can trust…that He has our best in mind. He’s got our back. He’s with us right now. And He’s secured our future too.
Resting in that truth today. There’s peace in knowing we don’t have to try hard to control it all. We can let go of the need to try to figure it all out, or the striving of trying to make things happen.
God knows, He understands, we’re never alone.
Keep pressing through.
He loves you.
He is with you.
Streams in the Desert – March 11
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them.—(Josh 1:1-2)
Sorrow came to you yesterday, and emptied your home. Your first impulse now is to give up, and sit down in despair amid the wrecks of your hopes. But you dare not do it. You are in the line of battle, and the crisis is at hand. To falter a moment would be to imperil some holy interest. Other lives would be harmed by your pausing, holy interests would suffer, should your hands be folded. You must not linger even to indulge your grief.
A distinguished general related this pathetic incident of his own experience in time of war. The general’s son was a lieutenant of battery. An assault was in progress. The father was leading his division in a charge; as he pressed on in the field, suddenly his eye was caught by the sight of a dead battery-officer lying just before him. One glance showed him it was his own son. His fatherly impulse was to stop beside the loved form and give vent to his grief, but the duty of the moment demanded that he should press on in the charge; so, quickly snatching one hot kiss from the dead lips, he hastened away, leading his command in the assault.
Weeping inconsolably beside a grave can never give back love’s banished treasure, nor can any blessing come out of such sadness. Sorrow makes deep scars; it writes its record ineffaceably on the heart which suffers. We really never get over our great griefs; we are never altogether the same after we have passed through them as we were before. Yet there is a humanizing and fertilizing influence in sorrow which has been rightly accepted and cheerfully borne. Indeed, they are poor who have never suffered, and have none of sorrow’s marks upon them. The joy set before us should shine upon our grief as the sun shines through the clouds, glorifying them. God has so ordered, that in pressing on in duty we shall find the truest, richest comfort for ourselves. Sitting down to brood over our sorrows, the darkness deepens about us and creeps into our heart, and our strength changes to weakness. But, if we turn away from the gloom, and take up the tasks and duties to which God calls us, the light will come again, and we shall grow stronger.
—J. R. Miller
Thou knowest that through our tears
Of hasty, selfish weeping
Comes surer sin, and for our petty fears
Of loss thou hast in keeping
A greater gain than all of which we dreamed;
Thou knowest that in grasping
The bright possessions which so precious seemed
We lose them; but if, clasping
Thy faithful hand, we tread with steadfast feet
The path of thy appointing,
There waits for us a treasury of sweet
Delight, royal anointing
With oil of gladness and of strength.
—Helen Hunt Jackson