Throwback Thursday: What if God never says “Yes”?

As days turn into months and then years, it’s the question that starts lurking in the back of your mind but you’re afraid to really ask out loud. What if God never says “yes”? The Psalmist asked it, in Psalm 77: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again?” It’s a fair question, but one with tough answers. On the one hand, you hear people say statistics about how high of a percentage (67?) of people who get help for infertility eventually get a baby. And a friend read in a book that a man who has worked in the adoption field for decades said he has never seen a couple who is praying for a child eventually not somehow get a child. Even Psalm 77 answers its own question by citing all the miraculous and faithful things God has done in the past, presumably awarding trust that God will surely do them again.

And these things may be true. But I’m a realist, and do you know what else is true? There are surely people in the world and in all of history that have waited and tried everything and waited more, and they never became parents. And I could be one of them. If we’re honest, deep down every fertility-challenged woman is, somewhere inside, freaking out at least a little that she could be one of those women. And then what?

Then this is what: God is still good and faithful and trustworthy. He does not disappoint. He is still loving and almighty and worthy of all praise. We have still been blessed from the first day to the last. His grace upon grace is overwhelming and sufficient, and He has never failed. We will still serve and worship Him until our dying day and forevermore. As we’ve said in the valley and will say on the mountain, God’s goodness is not dependent on the things we get; moreover, our hope for joy in life and our greatest treasure is not found in children, or money, or things, or safety, or whatever else we are seeking. Our hope is in Christ, and when we have Him, all other things are but a dim shadow compared to knowing and serving and loving Him. So praise be to God, even if He never says “yes” to this one thing. And praise be to God that we knew this truth in the valley, so we did not waste our lives working and waiting and putting everything into this one thing that never came to be. Instead we put our everything into eternal things that will never be destroyed. If God says “no” forever — and He might — praise be to God, forever and ever.

I would like to invite you to read one of my all-time favorite Bible stories, in Daniel 3. This is a true story of three noble servants of God who were going to be thrown into an oven for refusing to worship other gods. When given a chance to change their minds, they proudly proclaimed that they know God can save them and believe He will, “but even if He does not, we still won’t worship your gods” — and the BUT IF NOT is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, in your faith. May God daily give you and me a heart like those men.

daniel 3

Reposted from September 13, 2013

You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy

I have a little verse-a-day calendar next to my bed, which I remember to flip to a new verse about once every three days. It’s been on the same page for the last few days, but this time it was on purpose. I just loved the passage!

It’s from Psalm 65 (go read the whole thing, actually… it’s amazing!).

The calendar just uses verses 5-8:

By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation,
You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;
Who establishes the mountains by His strength,
Being girded with might;
Who stills the roaring of the seas,
The roaring of their waves,
And the tumult of the peoples.
They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs;
You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.

I love it! What worship!

dawnThe last verse reminded me of the classic worship song “Your Name,” so I was listening to it this morning and thought you may want to include it in your morning worship as well. It also references two other great verses about the power of God’s name:

Acts 4:12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

If I ever needed You, I need You now

Oh man, it happened again, you guys. I was innocently preparing Easter treats in my kitchen, listening to the new (or new-to-me) Matt Redman CD my husband got me for Easter (Bonus: I was making these! Yum!)… and this amazing song came on and instantly brought me to tears.

I had to share immediately (I know, you’ll read this when Easter is long over, but I swear wrote it immediately.) I’m sure it’ll make you cry, too. I so very much appreciate when an artist can express my emotions so perfectly.

And of course, living in the desert, I even more so appreciate the desert references…

On this thirsty desert ground,
in a dry and barren land,
I bow down
I need You now.

You will call and I will come
To Your river I will run.
I bow down
I need You now.

Oh, living water. Oh, God, my Savior,
If I ever needed You, I need You now.
Oh, living water, Oh, God, my Healer,
If I ever needed You, I need You now.

Here it is for your heart today…

We are loved at the end of our rope

Before I share this song, I have to recommend the artist. I have fallen in the love with All Sons & Daughters in recent years, and I think you will too! If you’re looking for some new (or new-to-you) Christian/worship music, check out their album Season 1 (or any of their albums are great!).

This is a lovely, simple song about how incredibly blessed we are, in all seasons of life. Perhaps today in your pain, sadness, confusion and/or waiting, it will prompt you to journal a list of blessings in your life. 

We are loved at the end of our rope
When we’re less there is more of the Lord
In the fight for our souls we must learn to let go
And abandon who we are

We are loved when we feel all is lost
When the shadows are cast on the cross
Only then can we know the embrace of the one
Who’s carried us along

We are blessed, we are blessed 

We are loved when we feel most content
With who we are, nothing more nothing less
We’ll inherit the earth declaring Your worth
Bring glory to Your name

We are blessed, we are blessed 

We’re blessed, we’re loved
Our hearts, our souls
We now rejoice, rejoice

…And just for fun, I’m adding a bonus song! My favorite song by them, called Dawn to Dusk:

I will be still

A song of peace for your weary heart today…

 

Psalm 71 – I will always have hope

My husband and I recently hit a tough patch in our infertility trial. We were not sure of our next steps, and we felt so discouraged. One verse kept popping into my mind, so I thought perhaps someone else reading this may need it to “pop” into hers as well. It’s Psalm 71:14

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more.

What a rich truth to be reminded of over and over. There is always hope. We always have hope. 

Here is that beautiful Psalm in its entirety….

Psalm 71

1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
7 I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.

9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
    may those who want to harm me
    be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise you more and more.

15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
    of your saving acts all day long—
    though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
    I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
    and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    you who have done great things.
    Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
    you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
    and comfort me once more.

22 I will praise you with the harp
    for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to you—
    I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
    all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion.

ps71

Bring the Rain

A perfect song about the sweetness of sorrow.

Psalm 113 – Who is like the Lord? He makes the barren woman a joyful mother…

Guys, I’m floored by the Psalm I stumbled upon this morning! It reflects like every theme that is dear to my heart — praising God in all times, His sovereignty, His glory among the nations — then ends with a peaceful promise that, of course, brought me to tears. Here is Psalm 113 (emphasis added by me):

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!

2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!

4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

Bless the Lord, O my soul

Lately in my Bible time I’ve been reading my “regularly scheduled” passage (I happen to be in Galatians), then I’ll flip to Psalms and choose one or two at random to read and think about. Today’s was Psalm 103, and it was just perfect. Of course it brought to mind Matt Redman’s new-ish song, “10,000 Reasons,” which is based on this Psalm. My husband and I have found this worship song to be very special to our hearts in our infertility. It’s one of our go-to songs. We love the biblical-ness, of course, and it’s so valuable to sing truth to yourself in this time. We also appreciate the reminder to be overflowing with praise and gratitude for all the Lord has done in our lives, as it can be such a temptation to “forget His benefits” when waiting for Him to answer this one request.

Please join me in reading Psalm 103 aloud, then meditate on the beautiful worship song.

Psalm 103 (ESV)

Of David.

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

blesstheLord6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

 

Psalm 33 – Praise befits the upright

I recently fell in love with Psalm 33. I’ve been reading it every morning in addition to my normal Bible reading, and I can’t get tired of it. I actually found it in reverse, when I was searching for another verse and found the last few verses of this one. I plan to frame them in our new house, as they are just perfect for our family.

“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

I love how this Psalm touches on so many important and special themes for us. It starts with worship (v.1-3), then praises the awesome character of God and the virtues God loves and we should as well (v.4-5). It reminds us of God as the great Creator, as well as the Sovereign One who sees all things (v. 6-11). It calls the nations to Him (v. 12-15), then reminds us that all power, provision and strength is found in Him and nothing else (v. 16-19), thus concluding with the prayer quoted above (v. 20-22). In addition to speaking of waiting on God, I love that the verses above speak of all our hope being in God alone, and the power of His holy name. I also appreciate that it mentions finding gladness in Him. It’s just so beautiful, I just can’t get over it.

I want to invite you to just listen to this Psalm. Americans, being a highly literate people, are not prone to enjoy listening to things. But this Psalm was meant to be sung and heard. We don’t have the original tune, of course, so this recording is just a reading. But press play, close your eyes and soak in the truths and assurances contained in this ancient inspired song. You may want to listen a few times in a row. Perhaps you will considering listening once a morning each day this week before you meet with God.

ps331 ps332 ps333