Not everything in the garden is lovely. Well, certainly not in mine anyway my fingers have never been green (the photo is a stock one, not my back garden – honest)! But, this is a truth in life too. There are good times and there are hard times, a time and a season for every activity under heaven as the writer of Ecclesiastes says.
This was brought home to me very much yesterday. We had a wonderful service, celebrating our church anniversary. We had a fabulous fellowship lunch, shared with some really good friends. Our afternoon was to be spent in the company of some very dear people, and then…
As I came to reflect today on what had happened yesterday, I found myself thinking about the old proverb that says;
All sunshine and no rain makes a desert
The Bible is not silent about the hard times in life, just a quick glance through the book of Job confirms that. I want to assure you that , if you are in a difficult place right now, God is not punishing you or walking away from you or abandoned you. There is no easy “off the cuff” answer to hurt, pain or suffering.
So, where is God when we hurt? I have come to realize that God is right there in the midst of it with us. You see, God doesn’t isolate Himself from His creation but, in Jesus Christ, God comes to be with us as one of us, in the weakness and suffering of a Saviour who was born in a manger and hung on a cross. That is the God we know, and we know that God will be with us whatever happens to us, to rejoice with us, and weep with us, and walk with us every day of our lives up to the very last one and beyond.
This morning, all I wanted to do was get into the words and the comfort of scripture and spend some time in God’s presence and I found these verses really helped me
Job 5:11: “He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”
Psalm 27:13-14: “I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be strong, and may your heart be stout; wait on the Lord.”
Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
John 16:33: “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
Romans 8:37-39: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God.”
Hebrews 13:5: “Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said: ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.'”