For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
As I look back over this past year, I thank God for taking me through every bit of it. I was never alone. I think that is the key takeaway for me for this year - God was with me every step of the way.
I learned so many lessons along the way, but through it all one of the things that gave me strength especially in tough times was knowing that I was never alone in any of it. God was always right there with me - whether I could feel Him or not - guiding me, strengthening me, keeping me.
Last week, I briefly mentioned a song sung by Travis Greene and Steffany Gretzinger entitled: “Good and Loved.” That song had been playing in my mind for some days and I was reminded and encouraged by the fact that because God is good, I am loved. When you think about it, that is a source of comfort because it means that you and I don’t have to do anything to be loved by God. We don’t have to be good, we don’t have to have it all together. We can come to Him just as we are and He will love us no matter what.
I think of the birth and death of Jesus. God did not come in the form of flesh because we were good enough or worthy enough. In fact, the Bible says: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Jesus came in the form of flesh to die! He did not come to have a good time here on earth. He was born so that He could die in order to give us the gift of salvation! We celebrate Christmas, yet, the reality of what we celebrate is wrapped up in the fact that God sacrificed His best so that we could ultimately live! That’s how good God is. His goodness is all wrapped up in His love for us. I don’t think you can separate the two.
One of the verses of the song says:
There’ll be times when you’re up
And times when you’re down
I’m never too far
Just look around and you’ll find me
I’m by your side, arms open wide
I am good you are loved…
God’s constant presence is proof of His love for us. He is never far away. He’s always there just waiting and looking for an opportunity to come to our aid if we need it. We don’t even have to ask, God knows what we want and need before we ask for it.
I recall the story in the Bible of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). She had lost her husband and had now also lost her son, the one responsible for providing the support she so desperately needed. She never uttered a word of request to Jesus. In fact, He was the One who saw her pain and was filled with compassion for her. He made the choice to raise her son back to life. He made the choice to help her in her time of need! It was His goodness, His compassion, His love for us that moved Him to help someone who had not even asked for His help.
I believe God does the same for us everyday. Everyday He chooses to give us life whether we ask for it or not; He chooses to supply needs; He chooses to save, to deliver, to heal, to do more sometimes than what we ask for. He chooses to be God, He chooses to be good and to show love even though we don’t deserve it. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.
So, I invite you to look back over the past year and remember God’s goodness and love towards you even when you did not deserve it. Give Him thanks and show Him appreciation for all that He has done. He may not have given you everything you wanted or asked for, but He certainly gave you what you needed. He is still good and you are loved!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God loves you no matter what. His love is not dependent on you but on His choice to love you … just as you are.
In 2017, while preparing for an event at work, 23 year old Evan, a cross fit coach, felt sick and within seconds collapsed. His co-worker tried to perform CPR and his family were alerted. His family expected it to be a minor problem but when doctors examined him they found out that he had gone into sudden cardiac arrest. While trying to stabilise his heart, he coded three times. His heart was only functioning at ten percent. Doctors did not have the confidence that they could save his life.
The doctor encouraged the family to pray. They called as many people as they could and soon the waiting room was filled with people. Evan survived through the night but unfortunately his organs were shutting down. One of his sisters went to the bathroom and as she cried out to God she told Him that if He needed to take Evan, He was still good! The doctor decided that he should be transferred to another hospital to increase his chances of survival. Evan started showing signs of improvement. His organs started working again. The family sent out a report on Facebook about his progress and encouraged people to continue praying. By that night, his organs were better. He had gone from a zero percent chance of survival to organs that were functioning well. On top of that, his heart went from functioning at ten percent to thirty percent.
After three days Evan showed signs of brain activity and a few days later the doctor reported that his heart was almost completely back to normal as if nothing had happened. Doctors could not understand it. Two weeks later, Evan returned home, just in time for Christmas. That was the best Christmas they ever had.
Today Evan is working and in college and shows no sign of heart issues. His faith and confidence in God have increased. He is able to see that God indeed does miracles, that He has plan for his life and that He controls a lot more than Evan thinks He does.
I am always moved by these testimonies of healing and miracles. I love the reminder that prayer is indeed a powerful tool and that God does desire the best for us. But, what caught my attention among other things is what Evan’s sister told God - that if He needed to take Evan, He (God) was still good. I believe it is important to allow God to have His way in our lives. Yes, we want things, we want Him to answer many times in a particular way. Jesus too prayed that God would spare Him having to go the cross yet, He added, “Not My will but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Even Jesus had desires in His heart but allowed His Heavenly Father to have the final say. Jesus set the perfect example for us to follow!
That statement also tells us something important - no matter the final outcome, God is still good! He’s not only good when we get our way, He is still good when we don’t. The reality is we were created to serve God, not ourselves. That does not mean that we can’t or should not have our own desires but we should be willing to give up our desires, our will, in exchange for His perfect plan and will for our lives.
God. Is. Good! There is a song sung by Travis Greene and Steffany Gretzinger that says: “I am good, you are loved.” Simply put, because God is good, we are loved, we are secure, He has our backs. Our goodness can never carry us as far as His goodness carries us. God is good and He is still God all by Himself! So today, no matter what you are facing, no matter how trying, no matter how impossible it seems, remember: God. Is. Good!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God is good and because He is good, He loves us and has a perfect plan for our lives. He will never fail us and will always be there for us no matter what!
Early in December 2007, Roman received a phone call that his wife, Melissa, had been in a terrible car accident. The doctor had little hope that she would live. Melissa survived the first night but among other injuries she suffered severe trauma to her brain and so did not recognise anyone not even her husband. The brain surgeon did not offer him any hope explaining that he gave reality not hope.
After a couple of weeks, Roman visited the place where his wife’s car ran off the road. There, he found a card with Jeremiah 29:11 printed on it: “‘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.’” At that moment, God ministered to his heart that it was going to be okay. However, days passed and there was no sign of improvement.
On Christmas Eve, Roman was with his wife when he saw a testimony on television about a woman who had been in a car accident. There was little hope that she would survive if taken off the breathing machine, that she would ever be able to walk again, that she might make it. All of this was exactly what the brain surgeon and nurses had told him about his wife. When the woman was asked how she had the strength to make it through her ordeal, she responded that God had put a scripture on her heart. That scripture was Jeremiah 29:11, the same scripture Roman had seen on the card at the site of his wife’s accident! Roman knew at that moment that God was speaking to him and he prayed with the television host for his wife to be healed.
Later that evening, God gave them the best Christmas gift ever. Melissa awoke and was able to recognise everyone. She had returned to her normal, bright self. The weight and darkness that had hovered over Roman was completely gone! With the help of rehab, Melissa improved quickly and she is once again a wife, mother and professor. There is no sign of damage from the brain trauma.
I love the fact that after going through this ordeal, both Roman and Melissa agree that now God is more personal to them. He is not this distant God who is not concerned about them. He loves them and He genuinely cares. It’s the same for us. God is concerned about every area of our lives. Just because at times He may allow bad things to happen doesn’t mean that He is unconcerned. He is concerned and actually uses the negative things in our lives to bring about a greater good. As Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” As I love to say, nothing is wasted by God. He uses both the good and the bad things in our lives to work out His perfect plan and purpose for us. We may focus on and become discouraged by the negative, but God sees the good that He can and will bring out of it.
I also love the fact that God speaks to us in ways we would least expect. When Roman visited the accident site he didn’t expect that God would speak to him there, but He did through a random card left on the ground with a scripture verse on it. And then, if Roman’s faith was starting to waver, God allowed him to hear the testimony of a woman who had been in a car accident and who quoted the exact same scripture he had found. God knows what we need when we need it and I think He loves to speak to us in unexpected ways just so that we would know that it’s Him and that He is still in control no matter how bad things may seem.
I agree with Roman and Melissa that God is truly a personal God. He cares about each of us, about every single detail of our lives. He is desirous of a relationship with us and wants us to feel and experience His love in ways that are beyond our imagination.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God is truly a personal God and He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to take care of your every need. He does have a plan for you and it is one that will prosper you, not harm you, a plan that will give you hope and a future.
I recently listened to the testimony of Dr Ming Wang, a world-renowned laser eye surgeon. As a poor Chinese immigrant, he migrated to America where he studied at various schools. During his studies, he became a Christian. He later began the Wang Vision Institute and established a foundation to restore sight to orphans around the world.
During this time, he met Kajal, a little Indian girl, whose stepmother had poured acid into her eyes. He prayerfully performed the surgery to restore her sight but was sorely disappointed when the surgery failed. It shook his faith in God. He questioned why God would allow such a terrible thing to happen in the first place and even if He did, why would He not allow her to be healed. He battled with discouragement for months and did not feel able to continue helping orphan children. He felt God did not care to answer their prayer.
That year during his annual fundraising event, Kajal and her host families were special guests. He overheard an interesting comment made by one of the boys who had spent some time with Kajal during the course of that year. The boy turned to his father and told him that it was okay, he did not need an iPod anymore. At that point, Dr Wang realised the influence of Kajal on that boy’s life and on the life of the other American children around her. He realised that in spite of her suffering, Kajal had chosen to move on. She had chosen to still experience joy and happiness and to live her life as best she could in spite of what life had sent her way. He paralleled that to our relationship with God. The strength of our faith is not about immediately getting what we want when we ask God for something. Rather it’s about still having faith and confidence in God even when He doesn’t seem to give us what we ask for and about trusting that He will answer but in His time and in His way.
As much as I love sharing testimonies about God’s miraculous healing and deliverance, I love how real this one is. It reminds me of the reality that God will always give us what He knows is best for us. I am reminded of the stories of Jairus (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56) and Martha and Mary (John 11:1-16, 38-44). Both suffered the death of their loved one. Jesus chose not to heal either Jairus’s daughter or Lazarus, Martha and Mary’s brother, before they died. He could have but He did not. Instead, He got to them after their death and performed a greater miracle in their death than He could have done when they were alive and sick. God always has a bigger picture and plan! In both those cases, He still performed a miracle - He brought them back to life. It wasn’t what the families had asked for but He did answer their cry in His own way and in His own time.
But, what about those prayers that seem to go unanswered. We pray, we stand on God’s Word, we trust and yet nothing seems to be happening. What then? I believe God still answers. But I also believe He wants us to be able to determine which is more important to us - getting what we want or HIM? Sometimes, I think that what we want becomes so much more important to us than God Himself, that that thing becomes God to us.
Will you still trust God even when you don’t get what you want? Will you still serve Him even if things don’t work out the way you would like? One thing I do know is that God has a perfect and beautiful plan for each of us. When He tells us: “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), that means that He will always desire to give us far more than we could hope or ask for. But, we have to be willing to let go sometimes of our will and of our desire and trust that He has heard us, He is working on it and He will do what He knows is best. Can you trust Him enough to allow Him to give you His best for you?
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour I invite you to do so today. God will never give you less than His best for you. He will never ignore your cries or your requests but will always work out His good plan and purpose for you in His own way and in His own time. Just trust Him!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.