Thursday, November 15, 2012
The Hand of God
My husband pulled on the silver chain and raised the shade covering my hospital room window. I just had surgery the day before and was still a little groggy but the quiet in the room along with the soft orange glow peeking in the window told me it was early morning. As he faced the window and surveyed the landscape from the sixth floor, he drew in a breath and blew out a hushed, “Wow”. “You should see the sky!” he whispered to me. “It looks like the hand of God is scratching across the surface!” I tried to sit up but was limited due to my condition. I craned my neck as far as I could to see the amazing handiwork of God but I was incapable. Resigned to my situation and somewhat disappointed, I asked him to take a picture. And as it always does, my husband assured me the picture did not do the sight justice.
My thoughts drew a parallel. How many times have I strained to see the hand of God in my life but felt disappointed? I would hear many people talk about how God’s hand was so evident in their lives but it seemed so absent in mine. I thought to myself, “Am I the only one? Am I doing something wrong? Do I not have eyes to see? What’s wrong with me? Maybe God just shows up to special people – those with great faith… to which I am neither.”
Time is a tool the Master Teacher uses and if we let them do their work, we will eventually come to a place of understanding. Time has proven "Hindsight is 20/20" and that God’s hand has always been over my life – providing, protecting, guiding and helping. I was limited in my understanding during tough times to see with wide opened eyes of faith.
As we journey through life we will inevitably encounter circumstances with different amounts of difficulty, discipline, pressure, pain, uncertainty, and danger - all of which limits our ability to see God’s hand at work. Yet these uncomfortable situations are precisely the means God uses to rub our eyes open and show us a fresh glimpse and new understanding of Himself. The more of these we experience, the more opportunity God has to prove himself real to us and strengthen our eyes of faith.
Take for example those whose stories are found in the bible:
Jacob wrestled with God until his knowledge of the Lord was expanded and his eyes were opened to a fresh awareness of God’s presence.
Through many long and painful years of discipline, David learned the power and faithfulness of God and toward the end of his life was able to humbly say, “Who am I that you brought me this far?”
Paul was tormented with an intense “thorn in the flesh” but eventually discovered God’s grace is sufficient.
Job was a man allowed to suffer yet after all was said and done spoke these words to God, “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” Job allowed his pain to chisel away at his limited understanding of God.
Noah was commanded by God to carry out a seemingly ridiculous operation that made no sense at all but when the final nail of the ark was in place, realized nothing can thwart the plans of God.
Daniel, standing bound and literally in the fire, experienced God’s ability to rescue in the most dangerous and dire circumstances.
And there was Mary and Martha who, in the midst of an emotional crisis at the death of their brother, saw God raise the dead and prove He has a plan and power to change even the bleakest of outlooks.
The stories go on and on but are written that we might gain a fresh glimpse of God in our circumstances. Perhaps you are discouraged the hand of God doesn’t seem evident...
Are you wrestling? Keep going…God wants to give you a fresh awareness of His presence.
Are you weak from the heavy hand of His discipline? Stop trying to hide from God. Trust Him. He wants to bring you closer to Him through this.
Are you begging God to take the thorn away? Know His grace is strong enough to help you bear up under it.
Has God asked you to do something “ridiculous?” Keep pounding…God’s plans are good and you will see your efforts are worth it.
Is the fire getting hot? Stand firm…your rescue is perfectly timed.
Is the outlook bleak? You will see God’s glory if you just believe!
Jesus himself warned us that we will encounter tough times, but as we move forward trusting Him and allow perseverance to finish it’s perfect work, we will eventually see the hand of God bestow a double portion of blessing that barely scratches the surface of all he wants to give.