The Wonder of God as Witness

Do you ever feel invisible, as though you or your efforts are unseen?
At the same time, do you ever feel relief that no one sees some of the things you think, watch, or do?

“I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 29.23b)

People we live with, work with, have fun with, share deep things with see us – in part. Some love, forgive, help, hold us accountable, pray. Others judge, criticize, are indifferent, talk. And the same can be true about us toward others – in part, we see.

God alone is the one who KNOWS. God alone is WITNESS. Nothing is unseen by God.  Nothing confounds Him. Nothing changes His Perfect Love for you and me.

He is witness to our hurts and offenses—and how we hurt and offend others. He is witness to our words toward and about others—and others’ words regarding us. He knows when we’re trying to follow His ways—and when we’re willfully choosing our own. He knows our hopes and disappointments, how hard some things are for us, and how we feel about our self. We cannot wear a mask with God. 

“I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 29.23b)

These words may comfort us or make us uncomfortable.
Embrace both and draw nearer to Him. Be awed and humbled, healed and changed.

God made us for relationship—with Him. Perfect Love shaped you and me. Think about that for a minute. . . Perfect Love held you and your days were written, “…plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29.11b) This has not changed—God continues to hold you; He isn’t rewriting or editing His plans for you or me. Our sovereign Father IS completing His work in and though us, all to His glory.

Dear God,
We are comforted by your deepest knowing and witness to our heart pain. And, we are humbled by all that you know and witness in our heart and life, yet your love never changes. Thank you for Jesus, your amazing grace, that we can know your love in both comfort and in correction. Help us remember that you are with us all through the day and night. Teach us to depend on you and trust you as you fulfill your plans in us. Amen.

The Power of Comfort

When someone we care about hurts or struggles, we want to be a source of comfort. We offer words, hugs, our presence. And we pray. Our thoughtful gestures matter and certainly impact, yet when we pray, we rehearse our trust that God is with this person. We express the depths of how we desire Him to help them, and as we do we believe that He can do far more than what we ask or imagine.

Dear God, I lift my friend/ my child/ my co-worker to you. Please comfort them. Cover and fill those places that only you can fully comfort. Amen.

God hears our simple words and sees the truest version of the yearning in our heart—our inmost thoughts that we have not yet whispered. He delights that we trust Him to provide perfect comfort. He comforts them—and He comforts our concerned heart.

So, what about when you are the one who aches?

Do you ever forget that you are a child, God’s beloved daughter, his little girl? Sometimes I live like I’ve forgotten. When hard stuff happens, I ask for God’s help to persevere or to be strong. It usually takes me a while to remember, I need the comfort of my Abba’s loving arms right now. I need to be still and be held.

“For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.” (Isaiah 51.3)

Fun, encouragement, rest, inspiration fill some of our days. Then another day, week, or season ushers in sadness, discouragement, exhaustion, overwhelm. Relationship tension or heartache, illness, financial crisis, work stress, and decision anxiety stir angst. Hard experiences can strip the part of us that was content.

God is with us—Immanuel. He is Comfort and covers our waste places and wilderness—those spaces of hurt, loss, confusion, and fear. Even though our hard circumstances may remain, God’s comfort soaks our soul that we may rest, secure and peaceful in Him.

“I, I am he who comforts you.”  (Isaiah 51.12a)

Thank you, O God, that you comfort us, even when we don’t ask. Help us come to you and learn to be still with you for soaking comfort. Thank you that though challenging times come, you will make our wilderness like Eden and our desert like the garden of the LORD. Amen.

Smile the Extra Mile

get-attachment-112.aspxThere it is. That smile of his. That smile of hers. The genuine one that says  Right now, I’m good.  We’re good.  My heart is full. Waving from the car, playing in the backyard, goofing off with friends, glancing up from a book or at the supper table. Receiving a smile from one of our kids rewards my soul. Why? Because they gave that moment to me. Fleeting in deed. Lasting in effect. DSC01785Our children need our smile even more.  Much, much more. A genuine smile communicates value. According to our relationship, the value only intensifies. Have you ever noticed how your smile thaws your child’s heart? They love you. They need you. Looking at our face, they search for message. In our home, this has been a humbling learning curve for me. Too often I’ve let the impact of circumstance dominate my disposition. Plenty of times the circumstance has nothing to do with the children. My expression gets stuck in a holding pattern, presenting the brunt of my struggle. DSC01775When we’re in a hard place, personally or with a child, a smile rides on the strength of our focus to God. It’s easy to smile when we’re happy. When good or encouraging things happen. The thing is…  hard things happen in the ordinary day – disappointment. disobedience. discouragement… Not necessarily big things. Lots of little things can produce the same impact. Drain. Weariness. DSC01926The strength and consistency of our smile depends on its source. Founded on good happenings, our smiles will be conditional.  Rooted in God’s love, our smiles are fueled by Him.

Go look in the mirror.  See what your child receives when you share your love in a smile.  The impact to our child is powerful.  The force behind it is God’s love to us and through us.
Not because the day was good or our child was good, but because God is good…  SMILE.
More. Much, much more.
“God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you…” 
(Numbers 6.24-25, The Message)