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Divine Note #52 - Staying close to God during life's storms - Lamentations 3:17-30

Divine Note #52 – June 20, 2010

Lamentations 3:17-30 17 I cannot find peace or remember happiness.18 I tell myself, "I am finished! I can't count on the LORD to do anything for me." 19 Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. 20 That's all I ever think about, and I am depressed. 21Then I remember something that fills me with hope. 22 The LORD's kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. 23The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. 24 Deep in my heart I say, "The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!" 25 The LORD is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him. 26 It is good to wait patiently for the LORD to save us. 27 When we are young, it is good to struggle hard 28 and to sit silently alone, if this is what the LORD intends. 29 Being rubbed in the dirt can teach us a lesson; 30 we can also learn from insults and hard knocks.

There's nothing like reading Lamentations (The Book of Tears) when you want to know how God's people deal with deep sorrow. Many people I know are suffering. As I prayed for divine inspiration on what to write on the subject, God’s message to me was clear: Do not give up. One of the places where I see intense suffering is in the hospital where I conduct my ministry of prayer and listening. I’ve also been in prayer for the health of members of my family and close friends. A few months ago, I landed on the very hospital bed in the unit where I minister, and that rocked my world. The experience prompted me to think about how I respond in times of trouble.

When I get sick, I feel sorry for myself. During my hospital stay, I rang the bell at midnight, and a nurse who was aware that I minister on the unit responded. She listened to my complaints, then she told me something I will never forget: “Ms. Velasquez, you’re very close to God. Why don’t you pray and ask him to comfort you when the pain is more than you can bear?” I smiled sheepishly and thanked her. Her remark jolted my mind and I was reminded that I typically want to take control of my circumstances instead of giving it to God. I tell you this story because I started the journey with peace knowing that my health was in God’s hands. I knew that things would turn out well – and they did. But in my greatest moments of pain and fear, I stopped calling out for God when I should have asked him to join my journey. It’s interesting that once I calmed down and talked to God, I didn’t need pain medication.

If we ask God to journey with us during life’s hardest circumstances, we might not need the drugs, food or whatever self-medication (or addiction) we use to make it through the pain. I want to make it clear that I’m not discounting the fact that pain medication is needed for severe illness. Suffering happens but our life is shaped by how we decide to deal with it. I’m offering the lessons I’ve learned in my spiritual walk:
• Let God know how you feel: the anger, the anguish, the hurt, etc.
• Do not let God go – even for one moment

• Do not try to control your own circumstances (I fail)
• Allow your loved ones to feel your pain
• Don’t feel sorry for yourself
• Confess your issues to God, to those you confide in and ask for prayer
• Praise God during your greatest pain
• Read the Psalms for courage and comfort
• Do not get discouraged; do not give up

Perhaps the most important lesson that I learned is that my old nature kicks in and makes me want to control things without consulting God. Learn how you react, so that you will not give up and can stay in the will of God during your walk in the valley. Remember that he loves you and wants the best for you.
Big God Hugs,
Blanca






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Scriptures for life

Compiled December 2011
These are a few of my favorite Scriptures. I cannot live my life without God and his word. I keep a 3x5 wire bound note diary of verses that pop off the pages of my Bibles. This helps me in case I need to comfort someone with a specific verse. Start your own collection!


Comfort

Psalm 119:76 Comfort me with your love, as you promised me, your servant.
Job 4:4 Your words have comforted those who fell, and you have strengthened those who could not stand.
Strength

Psalm 18:1 I love you, LORD. You give me strength.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 118:14 The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me.
Isaiah 40:29 The LORD gives strength to those who are weary.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your shelter, and his everlasting arms support you.
1 Corinthians 15:58 … don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, all who wait with hope for the LORD, and let your heart be courag…

Sin on the journey

Before I know it, sin drips from my mouth and floods my mind. Oh the struggle.
Romans 7:22-23 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. 
My current struggle is in not easily recognizing the extent of my sinfulness. I can easily preach it, but continuous righteous living eludes me.
Ouch. It hurts. I reveal this because I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul, but the sinner in me wins. It's the same struggle the A…