Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hugs and Special Blessings

(by: me)

I just love when God gives us those little hugs, those special blessings He knows we need. Like the parent who sees the struggle in their children to honor and obey, I feel God likewise notices the storms brewing in us and gives us the extra encouragement we must have to press on and battle doubt.

Today’s post by Jon Bloom entitled “I Will Never Believe” on the Desiring God blog was just such a hug for me. I do not know how many times I have heard that very statement, “I will never believe,” (or some form of that declaration) from some of my dear loved ones!!! The tally is numerous and the battle tumultuous.

Jon Bloom writes,
“Be patient and gracious with the skeptics in your life. We shouldn’t assume their outward confidence accurately reflects their inward condition. Keep praying for them and share what seems helpful. Keep confidently and humbly following Jesus. And trust his timing. He knows best how and when to reveal himself to them.”

This, though I have heard similar sentiments from others, was like a deep breath of fresh air. After long periods of what seems like not being able to even catch my breath, this crisp, clean air filling my lungs is a much welcomed change in pace and an unexpected blessing to my heart.

Bloom writes,
“Believing what we cannot see is hard. All of us are skeptics to some degree, and some more than others. But there is often more going on inside a skeptic than meets the eye. And Jesus knows how to reach them. That’s one reason I love Thomas’s story….”

Bloom goes on to discuss the turmoil in Thomas’ heart in the days following Jesus’ resurrection. He illustrates for us stating,
“Feeling angry [Thomas] blurted out with more conviction than he felt, 'Unless I see in [Jesus’] hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.'...

“The following eight days were long and lonely for Thomas. His friends were gracious. No one debated him. It was, in fact, their calm confidence in Jesus’ resurrection that aggravated Thomas’s growing conviction that he was wrong. Outside he tried to maintain a facade of resolute intellectual skepticism, but inside he was wrestling and melting and wanting more than anything to see Jesus too.

“And then it happened. Thomas was staring at the floor, pondering again the possibility that his unbelief had disqualified him. Had Jesus rejected him? If so, he knew he deserved it. Then someone gasped. He looked up and his heart leaped into his throat! Jesus was standing across the room looking back at him. “Peace be with you.”

“Thomas could hardly breathe. Jesus spoke to him, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’

“All objections and resistance in Thomas evaporated. And in tears of repentance, relief, and worship Thomas dropped on his knees before Jesus and exclaimed, 'My Lord and my God.'”

To see this carried out in the lives of my loved ones would bring tears of great joy to my eyes! Hearing them declare the name of our Lord and King after listening to them speak such hard hearted words of doubt, foolishness, and even sometimes hatred toward God and His precious Son would be more precious to me than words could ever describe.

Daily, I have to preach to myself mainly that of Psalm 46:10 which says, "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (ESV.) And that of Habakkuk 2:14 which states, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (ESV.)

Exodus 14:13: And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.

Isaiah 2:17: And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

Isaiah 33:10: "Now I will arise," says the LORD, "now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted.

I anxiously await this most holy of days and continue to pray for the salvation of those I love and strangers alike.

Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory!

Amen and Amen
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