Reflections and Comfort In the Midst of a Crisis and St. Patrick Quotes

We’re in the midst of a crisis in our nation and in the world that is causing devastating effects in so many areas of life and for so many people. All because of a virus that is causing sickness and death throughout the world and seems to be unstoppable.

It’s surely a wake-up call, isn’t it? Does God have the first place in our hearts? Do we trust Him as the King who has control, even when fear and troubles threaten to drown us?

Sometimes we may wonder why God doesn’t stop these things. Does God really care about us? Yes, He does! If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have created us or sacrificed His own life for us.

Following Jesus will never keep us from getting sick or dying. But He has promised He will be with us no matter what happens. And through trials, He teaches us to depend more on Him, lean into Him, and allow Him to be first in our hearts and lives.

As the coronavirus spreads quickly, may we not lose heart…

“I have told you all this
so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT

♥ ♥ ♥

Jesus replied,
“You do not realize now
what I am doing, but
later you will understand.”
John 13:7

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Parades and activities have been cancelled, but I don’t think St. Patrick would have minded. He didn’t strive for “man’s empty praise.” (Hymn – Be Thou My Vision) By God’s grace, His Treasure was in Christ Jesus, and his life pointed not to himself but to Christ and the hope and salvation we can find in Him.

St. Patrick Quotes

“I have a Creator who knew all things,
even before they were made –
even me, his poor little child.”
“I arise today through
God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me afar and anear,
alone or in a multitude.”
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”

Amretasgraphics – Homemade with Love and a Happy Heart

Be Thou My Vision
Irish Hymn Sung by 4Him

“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all”

God the Holy Spirit as Interpreter

dove

In the early 1980s, I taught 1st grade in a Dutch community in Canada. Because I didn’t know Dutch and the other first-grade teacher did, the principal purposely placed new immigrants in my class.

I vividly remember petite, blond-haired Janita who was shy and sensitive. I tried the best I could to make her feel loved and welcomed, but one day when I was telling the Bible story, she broke down and cried.  I knew she must feel alone and overwhelmed.  She longed to understand what I was saying, but how could I comfort her other than giving her a hug?

I asked my students if any of them could translate English into Dutch for her, and Jeffrey quickly volunteered.  I told him bit by bit what I wanted to tell Janita. I was deeply touched by how he also communicated my compassion.  Leaning over her as she sat at her desk, he rattled off in Dutch that it would be very hard to learn English, but we would help her all we can, and she soon would understand what we were saying.

I still see Janita wiping the tears from her cheeks with her hands as a smile of trust beamed at me.  By the end of the year, she blossomed not only as a speaker of English but as a sweet, bubbly child.

I will always carry a photo in my memory of Jeffrey and how he interpreted not only my words but also my feelings. My God-sent little interpreter.

It brings to mind another Interpreter. Our Holy Spirit God. One who understands us so deeply that He truly empathizes with all our feelings. He knows how stuck we get sometimes. When words can’t express our feelings. When we feel so alone. Does anyone understand? Does anyone know how this feels? Does anyone hear our sighs, groans, and cries?

Yes! God does! His Holy Spirit speaks for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. He interprets even the deepest feelings of our hearts to our Father God. With endless compassion, He pleads for us.

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.
  For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.
  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings
  that cannot be expressed in words.
  And the Father who knows all hearts
  knows what the Spirit is saying,
  for the Spirit pleads for us believers
  in harmony with God’s own will."
  Romans 8:26-27 NLT

God hears. He understands. He cares. Deeply with a bottomless, unfailing, and compassionate love.

The Holy Spirit dwells within us to interpret our needs to our Father, but He also translates God’s Word to our hearts. In a personal way that we can understand.

As the Holy Spirit does His work in our hearts, He opens the door of HOPE. And like Janita, we can wipe our tears away and look up to Him with a smile of peace and trust that He is with us no matter what, He will help us get through our troubles, and He will someday enlighten our understanding of what doesn’t make sense right now.

Jesus said:
"But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, 
Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby),
the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name
[in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf],
He will teach you all things. And He will
help you remember everything that I have told you.
Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.
[Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance
and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]
John 14:26-27 AMP 

doveandrainbow

A Child's Trust

“Spirit of the Living God”
by Meredith Andrews

Clinging to God’s Truth When We Don’t Understand

god-is-god

Panting for breath. Exhausted. In fear of his life. A man ran from his persecutors. They were gaining on him. He couldn’t run anymore and saw a cave. He ran into it and fell down, desperately pleading for God to help him.

The persecutors stopped at the cave opening and he held his breath. Then one said, “He can’t have gone in here. There’s a spider web over it yet.”

God directed a spider to quickly weave a web, and the man was safe.

I read this story many years ago, and it stuck with me. As I surfed the web for it, I found different versions of it. So whether it’s truth or legend, I don’t know.

What I do know is that with God anything is possible. He can protect us in whichever way He chooses. Even weak little creatures are in His hands. Even a spider web can become a wall of protection.

But what about the times when God doesn’t put up a wall to protect His beloved? Does that mean He doesn’t hear our desperate cries? Does that mean He doesn’t care about our plight?

These questions and others have haunted me at times. Why does God protect some from harm and not others? Why does He allow evil to hurt the weak? Abuse of power to hurt the vulnerable?

When I get myself into such a quandary of questions, I spin my wheels and go nowhere. I make myself dizzy as I go round and round analyzing situations this way and that way. Sometimes my wanting to know the why of everything that happens makes my head spin.

The only way I can calm down is to focus on God’s truth and His character of love and faithfulness.

Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to or the way we expect it to. Longings are unmet. Seeking God doesn’t always mean we “feel” His presence. Cries for relief or refuge sometimes seem to go unanswered.

Here are some of the truths that have given me hope, and I pray they will do the same for you:

God is God. We are not. We don’t need to make sense out of everything. Someday we will fully understand the bigger picture of all this.

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now
what I am doing, but someday you will.”
John 13:7 NLT

The events and circumstances that perplex us can lead us into a deeper faith in God. They help us to rely more heavily on God and His promises. They refine us to be more like Jesus.

“But He knows the way that I take
[and He pays attention to it].
When He has tried me, I will come forth
as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].
Job 23:10 AMP

Bad things happen when people who are given choices choose evil. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us or doesn’t care. No evil will separate us from His love.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory
is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing
can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed,
nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from
the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39

God has the power to protect us from evil, but sometimes He chooses to allow us to break, so we can be led deeper into the brokenness He suffered for us. The more we connect with His brokenness, the more He can use our brokenness to help others who are broken.

“As for you, you meant evil against me,
but God meant it for good,
to bring it about that many people
should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Genesis 50:20

No matter what happens, God’s plans and thoughts are for our good, not for evil. He gives us a future and a hope in Him.

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’
says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not
for disaster to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

 The sufferings we go through here are nothing compared to the glory hereafter.

“For I consider [from the standpoint of faith]
that the sufferings of the present life
are not worthy to be compared with the glory
that is about to be revealed to us and in us!”
Romans 8:18 AMP

God protected the man in the cave with a spider web. Nothing is impossible with God. But sometimes our cries for help aren’t always answered in the way we want them to.

Do you ever get yourself in a quandary of questions? Which truth here helps you calm down? What are some other truths about God, His love, and His faithful character that help you to trust Him?

A Child's Trust

“God Is God”
by Steven Curtis Chapman

“And the pain falls like a curtain
On the things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don’t know

And the questions without answers
Come and paralyze the dancer
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move…”

God-knows

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