Thursday, October 16, 2008

God Is Love

"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' " - Matthew 19:26

There is a story of an older gentleman who spent a lot of time visiting very sick people in the hospital. As a gift, he would give each person a small, embroidered bookmark. On the back of each bookmark was a group of tangled threads with no apparent pattern. When he would visit with those who were sick, he would hand them the bookmark with the back facing up exposing the tangled mess of string. Then, he would look at those who were sick or hurt and say, "Look at the bookmark and tell me what it says."As they searched for meaning in the tangled threads, they would look back in confusion at the man and say, "I have no idea what it says. It doesn't seem to say anything. It’s just a tangled mess. I do no understand."With compassion in his voice he would say, "Now, turn it over and read the other side." As they would flip that bookmark over, they saw the words, "God is love." The older gentleman would then say, "Many times when we look at life and question our circumstance and what God is doing, we just see tangled threads with no rhyme or reason. But from God's perspective, He has a plan. He is love and His plan is certain inside our difficulty. He is dealing with us in love, and He knows what He is doing." Sometimes we focus too long on the wrong side of the bookmark.The next time you think it is all over for you, just remember how things turned out for Joseph when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Just remember how things turned out for Daniel as he was thrown into the lion’s den. No doubt things looked pretty dim for them. It probably seemed hopeless as well for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Can you imagine how grim things appeared for Peter when he was in prison? And things looked bleak for Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus died. For those standing at the foot of the cross, the world seemed to end as Jesus hung dying.

But God is sovereign, which means He is in control. He is always at work, even in the midst of trouble. He will not abandon you. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” David said in Psalm 37:25 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” I wonder if he was thinking about the time God was with him as he fought Goliath. Maybe he was recalling the times God protected him as he feared Saul was going to kill him. Maybe he remembered how God forgave him and still used him after his affair with Bathsheba. Whatever the case, David knew God was good and never left those who followed Him.You see, things can look bad at one moment, but then God will step in and turn events around. Then suddenly you'll look back and say, "Now I understand what God was doing." Maybe your situation seems tough hopeless. You may have been staring at the tangled mess you have been in for a long time. Maybe you have given up.

The Bible says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” I encourage you to call out to Him and allow His love to weave purpose and hope in your life. If all you can see is a tangled mess, turn your life over to Christ and see things from His perspective. He loves you.

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