By Sandy Jones
The Israelites were freed from slavery. They walked through the Red Sea; had manna fall from heaven; drank water from a rock. Just a few of the hands-on miracles they lived through, and they still lost their focus on God. Moses had to feel like he was herding cats, as easily as they got distracted.
When Abraham was told he’d be the father of nations, he was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65. They didn’t exactly walk the path of faith; Sarah ‘knew’ she was barren and sent Abraham to her servant, Hagar. That turned out well, didn’t it? After 25 years, Abraham had sons from both Hagar and Sarah; the repercussions are still playing out today.
God offered David’s son Solomon anything when he became king. He asked for, and was granted, wisdom. Despite having every advantage, he was led astray by his 700 wives and 300 concubines and chose to worship their gods. Solomon made a real mess of things when he too lost his focus on God.
As we walk through this unique and difficult time, I’ll admit that there have been times when I took my eyes off The Prize. Got mesmerized by the media, and how fast things changed. Got transfixed. Became numb. Couldn’t focus. And, yes, found there were days early on when I didn’t know what to pray — other than ‘protect us and please end this virus’ and had to simply ask God to listen to my heart.
Perhaps too honest? Perhaps disappointing to hear that from someone in ministry? I’m being authentic, because I do not believe I was the only one.
I’ve mentioned that as we send one edition to print I begin praying over this column, and what message would God use me to deliver next time. This issue is no different, but what was different this time was that God, through the Holy Spirit, spoke these three stories to me, almost immediately.
Often I’m praying fervently at the last minute, saying “God, I’m not hearing You” — basically, ‘here I am, send me,’ with no direction to go. I think He likes to remind me that it will always be in His perfect timing. I had these stories in February, but wasn’t sure why.
At first I thought I was to write about judging and being judged, accusing and being accused. You see, I’ve had some life lessons laying heavily on my heart.
Then this virus started to spread through our nation, and finally hit our beautiful Idaho. Whether we like it or not the mainstream media was as hypnotized by it as everyone else was. The speed at which the numbers climbed: tested, treated, hospitalized, and, yes, even the death toll. I think we were all transfixed.
It wasn’t until I sat down to actually write this and went over these Bible stories once again that it dawned on me — God was preparing me, reassuring me, that I’m normal. And I believe He wants you, our readers, to know you and your struggles with all of this are normal too.
Those who came before us, who walked with Him, some even led by His Flame, could get so caught up in their own moment that they lost focus. How can we expect ourselves to be any different? We need to be gentler with ourselves when we stumble. It’s important that we get back up, dust ourselves off, and come once again before The Throne. Confess our sins and shortcomings, and trust that God, Who sees and knows all, knew this was coming, and He will carry us through.
We recently celebrated Easter, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’d like to ask: Do you know Him personally? Do you know He died and rose again because He knows and loves YOU? He wants to have a relationship with you.
John 3:16-17 NIV assures us: 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
I love how Proverbs31.org shares this message:
“The Bible tells the story of God’s love for people. In the beginning, God created us to reflect His image and to have a relationship with Him (Genesis 1:27). We were created good, and then sin entered the world. We essentially chose to try life on our own without God, instead of living our lives for God as we were designed.
“God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins and bring us into a relationship with Him. Through Him, we can know the promise of eternal life and experience the joy of knowing God here on earth!
“If you would like to have a relationship with God, the Bible tells us that the first step is acknowledging that we have sinned and that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s love (Romans 3:23-26). Next, we believe and confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) and allow Him to guide our lives. Where we once wanted to control our own futures, we now invite Jesus into our hearts to be Lord over our lives.
“Knowing God’s peace, perspective, and purpose for your life begins with a personal relationship with Jesus.”
If you have questions about having a Savior that loves you unconditionally, please don’t hesitate to call me at 208-703-7860, or the Idaho Chaplain’s Association prayer line at 208-968-1991. We’re here for you.
Until next time….
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