trusting God

God of Wonder by Julie Delamarter

I’ve never looked forward to a broken heart. Have you? Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” If we saw our broken hearts, our trials, our tears as an opportunity for His nearness, would we view our trials differently? Would an opportunity to be near HIM in a different way change how we function in that trial?  I’d venture to say that when we witness the nearness of God when we are hurting, it changes everything.  

A Mother’s Heart 

It changes everything, especially as a mother. If you are a mother, chances are your heart has broken. It probably started the moment your son or daughter was born and you realized this “love” they talk about regarding a child is something that cannot be described; only experienced. I think from that moment on, our hearts break on different levels as we guide, direct, and ‘mother’ our kids through this life. The scraped knees morph into broken hearts over relationships, misunderstandings, not making a team, or even bigger losses. The tears over a ‘boo-boo’ somehow become harder to wipe away when it involves their hearts. As moms, we cry out to the Lord on behalf of our children.  Whether it be a friendship gone awry, issues with mental health, a diagnosis, a decision or string of decisions that you know is only leading down a dangerous path – The difficulty of toddlerhood somehow pales in comparison to the raising of future adults. 

In my 17 years of motherhood, I feel like I’ve had two choices: 

One – Believe that God is just a bystander in my life and the life of my kids and He steps in only when necessary.

Two – Believe that God is actively involved in every heartache, every loss, every surprising turn and He desires to be near in very tangible ways. 

I believe He desperately wants to give us ‘good gifts’ as we walk through this life as parents and as individuals. The pain that we experience as we watch our kids find their way is an invitation to see the tangible hand of God at every turn and be near Him. It only requires one thing: That we ask.  

“Ask? But I ask all the time,” you may be thinking. You pray, believe, and know that God is faithful. He is good like all the Bible stories say He is. In your own life, you know He is there, but out of fear of disappointment we may not ‘ask’ for specifics. I believe God does not want us passively waiting for Him to show up; He wants us LOOKING, asking, pleading.  We can ask boldly and wait in expectation for the God who wants desperately to give good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11). Especially, when our hearts are broken.  

A Beet Salad

I remember the moment. We had just received news of a life altering diagnosis for our oldest son. At the time, it completely derailed all his hopes and dreams and quite literally put him on the sideline for the foreseeable future. Because the diagnosis is genetic, it reframed our whole family. We felt like we were being suffocated.  All that we knew had just been taken in a moment. I remember hearing of God’s tangible goodness in people’s life when walking through trials, but had never experienced it myself. The kind of undeniable, “Wow” moments that could only be described by a good God who orchestrates every detail. When we say “He is good.” What is our proof? So I decided to ask. I decided to ask for a tangible ‘gift’ not knowing if it would be in the form of a miracle in his health situation, a person on the street, or a shadow on the sidewalk that communicated something specific to me. 

I had specifically asked the Lord to show up in our brokenness that day. I said, “Lord, I need a gift to know you are near.” My husband and I met at a local restaurant to decompress and process after the trauma of the few days before. Not a minute later, a server came by and said, “Here is a beet salad. It is extra. It is a GIFT. Would you like it?” I looked at my husband and said, “Did you hear her? She said it’s a gift.  It’s from the Lord!” I think the Lord’s sense of humor was coming through when he gave me the beet salad and the server said, “It is a gift.” I think He was saying, “You want a gift, I’m going to give it to you.” I like beet salads, sure, but as a gift from the Lord? One could say that would be questionable. It didn’t matter what anyone thought, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was meeting me in that moment in a big way. It was quite literally an opportunity to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)! We laughed at the way God showed up that day but that simple moment was a catalyst to viewing God’s faithfulness actively in our lives rather than passively. I now refer to all the ways God shows up for me as my “beet salads.” 

The Wonder and Awe of His Nearness

The next few months were filled with doctor visits, tests, hospitals and all the things you don’t want to be doing with your child. I filled a journal with the big and little ways God showed up for us during that time and as my eyes shifted to the beauty of my God who loves us, the trial was filtered through a new lens of awe and wonder of God in the midst of our broken hearts. Our son’s diagnosis was not the end of trial in our lives. We’ve had countless opportunities to trust Him to be near in the years that have followed. What is different is when the waves come, we ask and expect Him to calm the storm with his nearness.

 Author Priscilla Shirer once shared, “Those who don’t expect to see God, won’t.”  We have to change our vantage point to see God’s fingerprints on what we are walking through.  When we shift our focus from the pain to the God who wants to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), the trials we are walking through with our children or in our own lives become an opportunity to see God in exciting, awe-inspiring ways. Our trials become an opportunity to shout His glory from the rooftops because of how He has showed up. Job 5:9 tells us that God “performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Our trials become our worship because we serve a God who always comes through when we ask. It may not be how we expect. It might even be through a beet salad, but however He speaks to you, it will be with wonder. Being near to God in His wonder, might just make that broken heart a miracle over a burden.    

Scripture to Ponder

Psalm 34:3 – “Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together.” 

Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good.  How happy is the person who takes refuge in him.”  

Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.”  

Psalm 33:20-22 – “We wait for the Lord; he is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in him because we trust in his holy name.  May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you.”  

 

About the Author – Julie Delamarter grew up in Southern California, met her husband who is from Pendleton, Oregon in college, moved to the PNW, and never looked back! She has been married for almost 20 years and has three amazing kids. She is a behavior therapist for kids with autism by day and a carpool driver by night! Some of her favorite things include country music, lots of sun, food, friends, and adventure. Passionate about many things including youth, the special needs community, and mental health. God has shown Himself real to her and she prays He will use her however He sees fit! 

 

The Sovereignty of God: Deliverance in the Midst of Our Trials

Have you ever heard someone say “God is sovereign?” If you have heard it, have you stopped to truly think about what that means and allowed it to change your life? 
When we understand the sovereignty of God, we are able to fully rest in Him. But first I think we have to understand what the word “sovereign” truly means. Let’s study together today.

 

God’s Sovereignty in the Book of Daniel

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word sovereign as “a characteristic of a supreme ruler. Possessing supreme or ultimate power. Supreme authority.”  
The Lord has supreme power and authority. Nothing happens without His knowledge or control.  All things are either caused by Him or allowed by Him for His own purposes and through His perfect will and timing.  
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
The book of Daniel is a great place to begin studying and understanding the sovereignty of God. I’ve studied the whole book two different times and can honestly say I’ve seen and heard different things on each occasion. Both times allowed me to see God as completely sovereign, which helps me to rest in Him and His plan for my life. 
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.  And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.” Daniel 1:1-2
I have “God is Sovereign” written next to verse two in my Bible. When I began studying this book – looking at it verse by verse, I noticed something BIG in verse two. Do you see it? It doesn’t say God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to capture Jerusalem.  It doesn’t say God wasn’t there when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem. It says, “The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.” He GAVE them! God delivered His chosen people right into the hands of king Nebuchadnezzar.

 

What Does the Word Say?

When I study the Bible, I like to ask a few questions of the text and see how many answers I can find. The questions I ask are simple: Who? What? When? Where? Why? Let’s look at Daniel 1:1-2 in light of these questions, and see what answers we can find.
Who? God. What did He do?  He gave Jehoiakim King of Judah into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. Where? The kingdom and people of Judah into the hands of Babylon. Why? While we can’t find this in this particular scripture, we do have documentation of the prophets warning Israel that this would happen if they did not obey in 2 Chronicles 7:19. When? It doesn’t say it in these verses, but Biblical timelines tell us this happened in 605 BC.
The fact that God delivered Israel into the hands of their enemy may not make sense to you and me. But it doesn’t have to. Because our God is sovereign.  He’s going to do what He says He will do for His glory. These are His people. He loves them. He warned them and now He’s following through. Much like a parent who loves their child warns them to not do something that might cause harm, then follows through with the discipline.  
Daniel is a servant of God and yet he is still captured along with his people. While in captivity, we see him continue to stand firm in his convictions and love for the Lord. 
Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah.” Daniel 1:6
Here we find out there were three other men standing strong in captivity with Daniel. The commanders in Babylon changed their names to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.
As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Daniel 1:17
God gave them knowledge and wisdom. God loved these young men.  Could God have rescued them directly from King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians? Yes. I believe He could have. But He didn’t. Why? Because God is sovereign. His ways are not always our ways. He does not always rescue.  
God had a plan for Daniel’s life. It wasn’t an easy one. He had to leave his home and live as a captive in a foreign land. God’s plan doesn’t look like our plan, yet He is still sovereign today and working towards a predestined end and return of our Savior.

 

Trial By Fire

In the third chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar builds a statue of gold. If you read more of the scripture, you’ll see that the king is a really arrogant man.  He’s very full of himself and now he’s built this great idol in his own image. Naturally, he calls everyone to come for the dedication of this idol.  
And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:4-6
Let’s ask the WHAT question again as it refers to this scripture. What was required of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah? Whenever they heard the sound of the instruments they were to bow down and WHAT does it say?  Worship the golden image. And if they didn’t? Be thrown into the fire. 
Not only were these men of God taken into captivity by Babylon, but they were asked to defy their own beliefs and worship another god!
Well, these three men stood firm. They did not bow. And Nebuchadnezzar gives them a second chance. He says “I’ll blow the horns again and if you don’t bow, you’ll be thrown into the furnace,” then challenges them further by asking, “What god can deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’” Daniel 3:16-18
Our God is able and He will deliver us.  They fully believe God can and will deliver them from the fire.
Oh, how I love verse 18.  “But even if He does not” ……Oh friends.  This right here is the root of so much of our life.  What are you asking the Lord for right now? What trial do you see coming that you’re asking Him to deliver you from? What is it in your life that you fully believe the Lord is capable to remove from you? There are times that He does. But He is sovereign and does not see things the way we do.  And so sometimes we have to say “But even if He does not,” I will still stand firm. I will rest in His sovereignty. I will still be faithful.
Well, this angers Nebuchadnezzar and he demands the punishing fire be seven times hotter than normal – So hot that it kills the guards who even come close to it.  And what do verses 25 -26 tell us happened next?  
He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25-26
Only three men were thrown into the fire but they see four. Who was the fourth? It was the very God who delivered them through the fire! 
These next words are not my own but I want to quote Beth Moore and then I’ll explain.  She says, “The Lord can deliver us FROM the fire. He can deliver us THROUGH the fire. And He can deliver us BY the fire.”
The “fire” here is any trial you might be facing.  Have you had times in your life when you’re so worried and praying about something that you think is going to happen and then it doesn’t end up happening at all?  That is the Lord delivering you FROM the fire. You didn’t even have to experience that fiery trial.  
And sometimes we have to walk all the way THROUGH that fire or trial.  Sometimes it’s hard and messy and there are tears and heartache but the Lord is with us through the whole thing and He delivers us to the other side.
And sometimes He delivers us BY the fire straight into the arms of Jesus.  Sometimes He doesn’t save us here from that illness or tragedy and He takes us home, but we are still delivered from the fire.
How I pray each of us would be able to stand as strong in whatever trials or fires come our way. When we’re in the midst of them, can we cling to the Lord’s sovereignty and not our own plans?

 

Perseverance, Encouragement, Hope

As I wrap this up, I want to look at one more verse with you. In Romans 15:4, Paul tells us that  “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” I pray that when you study the life of Daniel, you will find hope in the Sovereignty of our Lord. 
I don’t know if the Lord is leading you into trials, delivering you right into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, or if He’s allowing things to happen. But what I do know is we can rest in His sovereignty. Rest in the fact that He has supreme authority. Like Daniel and his fellow captives, we can stand firm in our convictions. We know, ultimately, that He will rescue us safely to His kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

 

 

Lee Anne HeadshotAbout the Author: Lee Ann DeRoos is a simple girl who loves jeans, sweatshirts, decaf coffee and dark chocolate. She is a servant, learner, worshiper, gluten-free baker, hobby farmer, and Arise Ministries Collective Board Member.
Lee Ann is a wife, mom of two, and daughter of the King – Always striving to get out from under her bushel to let His light shine.

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