I’ve been reading through the Book of Proverbs the last few months, and I always look forward to Chapter 8—which I got to read while on vacation. Each morning we went to the beach with our coffee, watched the sun come up, and enjoyed the peacefulness of the yet-to-be-filled shore.
I watched the waves roll in as I read about Wisdom.
Proverbs 8:22, 27-29 (NLT)
“The LORD formed me [wisdom] from the beginning,
before he created anything else …
I was there when he established the heavens,
when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
I was there when he set the clouds above,
when he established springs deep in the earth.
I was there when he set the limits of the seas,
so they would not spread beyond their boundaries.” [Emphasis added.]
I love it when God speaks to me through His Word for my specific life circumstances. It’s even more special when it “comes alive” like it did that morning. We set our chairs a short ways from the water. I watched the waves come only so far—knowing that He was in control of each one. Occasionally a wave would roll in close enough to wet my feet. It reminded me of something Kay Arthur says, “God doesn’t allow anything to touch me that isn’t filtered through His fingers of love.”
That sounds nice most of the time—and even “ok” when life is kind of crummy. I can accept some (what I consider) “light and momentary troubles.“ I certainly need my rough edges sanded off. There are other times when life is downright horrible, and sometimes I don’t do well at … all. In fact, and embarrassingly, my kids have seen me (more than once) stomp my feet in a fit of anger and sob uncontrollably over disappointment. It’s good for them to see the expression of emotion. This is life. “In this world we will have trouble.” But it’s more important for them to see me dealing with my emotions in the right way. Certainly acknowledging them and not “stuffing them.”
What is the right response? Psalms 42-43 gives us some help. In these two psalms, the psalmist goes through a cycle of crying out to the Lord, expressing his deep sorrow and frustration, and then reminding himself to (1) put his hope in God, and (2) praise Him. He does this three times. That alone encourages me. I don’t always learn life-lessons the first time around. Sometimes it takes me a while to come around to God’s way of thinking.
It is difficult when God allows trying circumstances to find their limit in the middle of my life and the lives of those I love. I am learning that He uses those difficult circumstances to accomplish His purposes. Often, I have no idea what those purposes are. But I do know this. God loves me. And absolutely nothing can separate me from Him or His love.
Romans 8:35-38 (NLT) “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … 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.”