The author of this hymn didn’t write these beautiful lyrics amidst small, trivial trials. Horatio G. Spafford knew pain. He knew loss; BIG loss. Yet, he found the strength to pen this great hymn in the middle of despair. He left behind a legacy of inspirational faith. When he wrote this song, he had just suffered immense loss-not just one child, but ALL of his children; his son to Scarlett fever and then 2 years later all 4 of his daughters to a ship wreck. He lost everything……except faith and hope.Keep reading
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
This parable of the prodigal son is a beautiful picture of God’s forgiveness and compassion. When we finally come to the point of recognizing our sin and coming back to God, He doesn’t stand there and look the other way, pretending not to see us coming. That’s kind of what we do, isn’t it? We pretend to go about our business as if the offense doesn’t bother us and that we will be just fine if the person never apologizes and comes back to reconcile the relationship. We pretend to give up while quietly holding a grudge. Then when the person finally apologizes and tries to make things right, we usually have one of two reactions. Sometimes we tersely respond with something along the lines of “It’s ok” or “I forgive you” and leave it at that to avoid the awkwardness of the emotional healing or perhaps to simply let them know we are still displeased about whatever happened. Other times, we respond by laying into them with how bad the offense was and how it better never happen again.
God isn’t that way with us and I’m so glad! Not only does He let go of the offense, and He also doesn’t stand firmly in place and force us to come all the way to Him. He runs to us as soon as we humble ourselves and start to walk back! He makes it so incredibly easy to come back home and restore the relationship.
Now, God doesn’t do anything that needs forgiving, but stop and think about how often we run after Him the way He runs to us…
For many people in today’s America, our coming to God is usually defined by crawling back or reluctantly following. How often do we really run to Him other than when we have a problem for Him to fix? How often do we run to God with joy after recognizing His work in our life? How often do we run to God tell Him about our excitement or hopes and dreams? How often do we run to God because we just enjoy being in His presence?
Too often, we have such a one-sided relationship with God. Even if we take all of our needs to Him and lean on Him when times are hard, it stops there and we neglect sharing our joy with Him. Have you ever had a friend or family member that only talks to you when something goes wrong, but then when times are good you never hear from them? We do that to God without even thinking about it. However, the richness of walking closely with God is the joy that we are able to have by sharing the good times with Him. Jesus came to give us a life full of joy and abundance (John 10:10, 16:24).
We don’t like to be on the giving end of a one-sided relationship, and neither does He. I’m thankful that He is more patient and more forgiving that we are when it happens. I have written other posts that revolve around intentional living with our spouses and children, and truly we should be striving to live intentionally with God as well. The best and deepest parts of a relationship are when we actively take part in them. Passive loving is always one-sided and usually rooted in self-centeredness. Active and intentional loving brings the relationship into balance and enables both sides to find joy and fulfillment.
God doesn’t need us to find His fulfillment. He has that in Himself, but He still earnestly desires to have a deep relationship with each one of His children. As you go through life, I hope you’ll take time to live intentionally not just with your family and friends, but with God.
I did a guest post for a friends Facebook page today. Her page is full of really amazing and fairly short devotionals. It’s perfect for busy ladies of all walks of like-not just mommas or grandmas or single ladies or those suffering child loss or infertility–there is seriously something for everyone to benefit from. You can find her page here.
Anyway, here is my post from her page today. Just wanted to share. It touches on our loss but also where I’ve been able to find joy. If you’ve read anything here before, you will have heard part of this already, but that’s ok.
“Journey to Joy”
By Sara Marlar
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
I have had to cling tightly to the truth in this verse since September 2016. The pain I’m experiencing now can’t compare to the glory I will one day experience when I enter into eternity and come face to face with Jesus and with my two sweet babies waiting there for me.
On September 27, I went into preterm labor with our identical twin boys, Luke and Asher. At only 30 weeks and 6 days, we expected a long NICU stay for them, but what we did not expect was that only one of our babies would make it out of the OR alive. Our sweet Luke Oliver was unexpectedly stillborn due to complications we hadn’t known about; he was alive and well 20 minutes before delivery. The trauma from so suddenly losing our baby was beyond anything we’d been prepared for. The next several months that followed were filled with overwhelming darkness for me with just a tiny glimmer of light visible. I continually cried out to God to fix me and my hurt. I believed I was clinging to Him with all my might, but looking back on that time, I can see that I was actually pushing Him away. I’d stopped reading my Bible, stopped praying other than begging for Him to “fix it”, and I began just going through the motions of life simply to survive and to take care of Asher, our other 3 babies at home and my husband. I finally reached out in desperation and thankfully God put 2 amazing women in the path of my flailing arms that spoke love and life back into me. They encouraged me to pick my Bible back up and actually allow God to comfort me. And you know what, HE HAS! Do I still miss my baby? Every single day! But I KNOW that Luke is in heaven with Jesus and that he wouldn’t want to come live in this sin filled world now that he’s experienced that glory that Romans 8:18 speaks about.
Daily Tip: When you are feeling overwhelmed with the trials of life, get by yourself, get on your knees before The Lord and pray, and read your Bible. If you can’t get away by yourself, that’s ok! You can talk to Jesus right where are you now! Make it a priority in your life to meet with Jesus every. Single. Day. I can’t promise that you won’t walk through trials anymore, because the Bible tells us that we will. But I can promise that Jesus will help you get through them.
A friend of mine reached out to me sometime in the first weeks following Luke’s death and she shared that verse with me. (Hi Katie!!!) it spoke so deeply to both Matt & me that we actually had the reference put on Luke’s grave marker. I couldn’t even fully understand it at the time, but I knew it was a powerful verse.