God is Here

Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT)
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
Some words in a news report yesterday caught my eye. A tragic road accident in Gloucestershire on the M5 left 4 people dead and 3 more critically injured. A spirit of compassionate humanity arose amongst many other drivers who were caught in a tailback between police cordons. Some shared water and food. The news reporter wrote, “…motorists patiently wait with some eager to help. I overheard one asking if any prayer support was needed. While others talk to police officers about the sadness of what has happened.” Prayer support. A no-brainer for us Christians. We should always be looking for opportunities to pray for people. And if necessary, just pray. After all, we are God’s ambassadors to this sinful world, with a precious opportunity to open a door, revealing His  heart in a time of need.

The same news bulletin reported that a Humanist Society in Scotland survey revealed only a quarter of Scots claim to be religious. Another ploy of the enemy to divide and discourage those like us who know God personally. One day our humanist friends will realise that all along they have just been puppets strung along by the evil one. But God loves them as well. However, faced with an M5 disaster, they have nothing to say, no prayers to offer, just a hopeless future.

And I proceeded to dwell on how God is so very present in our environment and society, whatever others might say.  As the Psalmist wrote, “Where can we go from Your presence?” I wrote in my prayer diary this morning, “I thank You Lord, for Your amazing presence that prevails in the world today, impacting each one of us with Your grace and love. So much of You is interwoven in the world and peoples around us. And although the enemy will try and destroy what You have put in place, he fails miserably.” Amen?

Though … I will

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message)
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen.
Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted.
Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty.
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Saviour God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

In the last few weeks and months global events have brought worry and concern to people everywhere. Terrorist incidents, unprecedented floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, threats of war, political instabilities, famines – in fact Jesus warned His disciples about such things in Matthew 24.  But my Bible reading notes have taken me to Habakkuk for the past two months, in a review of what the prophet and his society were facing around 600 BC. Then as now, global ‘powers’ put their trust in their own strength. Then as now, world events were out of control, driven by sin. But God revealed to Habakkuk what He was going to do and, although initially devastated, Habakkuk came to a point where he wrote the text above. There has never been a point in history when there has not been some catastrophe happening somewhere in the world, so it is extremely comforting to know that God is in control of everything; always has been, and always will be. He may not act in the way we would like Him to, but ultimately His righteousness, justice and holiness will prevail. So can we write our own verses, in the style of the Message? Here’s my attempt:

Though terrorists kill and maim, and peoples everywhere “do what is right in their own eyes”;
Though world weather patterns become more extreme, and earthquakes and floods become more common;
Though our churches decline in numbers, and Christians fall away from their faith;
Though our government continues to marginalise Christians by more and more secular legislation, and our schools increasingly promote wrong values about sexuality and morality, and confuse and defile our children;
Though our hospitals and clinics continue to murder countless unborn children with society’s blessing, and that same society wrings its hands when a child dies following abuse.

I will trust in Father God, comforted that He has everything under His control.
I will lift up my hands and heart to Him, praising His wonderful love and grace.
I will rest in worship, meditating on His glorious presence.
I will never stop thanking Him for His Spirit in the lives of my family and friends.
I can jump into His presence whenever events threaten and depress.
I will pray that His rule and kingdom will prevail over all else.
I will not be afraid of anything coming my way, secure in His protection.
I can offer Him grateful thanks for each day, each breath, each heart beat.
I can look into eternity, overwhelmed by what is to come.

Words cannot express adequately what is inside me, but God knows. Can you join me in writing your own verses?