A voice is heard in Rama, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. Matthew 2:18
Two days ago, I happened to stumble through the above passages twice in one reading. First, I read them from Jeremiah 31:15, then moments later, I read them again from Matthew. Of course with Christmas round the corner, we all need to remind ourselves of Christ, Our Saviour’s birth from scripture.
But while the birth of Jesus brought so much joy for some, for others it brought pain and great loss… the demise of little boys. Boys who could probably have been Jesus’ neighbours and playmates. Just imagine… when Jesus came back from hiding in Egypt, most of his agemates were all dead and gone. Yes… killed by Herod in the hope that Jesus was among them.
Just like during Christ’s birth, today STOP TO REMEMBER those mothers whose pain and loss will only be magnified this Christmas as they miss their sons and daughters… especially those who are out in war or the fallen heros. STOP AND SAY a prayer and remember…Christmas just like in the actual Christ’ birth will not necessarily bring joy to everyone.
STOP TO REMEMBER…those voices weeping in the land.
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8
Think about it. The Lord is holding His morning meetings with His angels. Each has to report back on their earlier assignments on earth, while also waiting to be sent out to their newest. Satan also joins them from time to time….YES, he is the accuser of the brethren. Think about this! God has a very good report… about one particular man: JOB. He has a VOTE OF CONFIDENCE in him.
But Satan has his point to make. He thinks that Job’s loyalty and confidence in God is based on the exclusive protection he enjoys from God. As soon as the hedge is lifted…the enemy has the upperhand. Job is left standing alone EXPOSED. You may think this as tragic but wait until you hear the story.
You see, God’s vote of confidence in Job was not necessary based on Job’s ability to endure all the hardships but rather on GOD’S ABILITY and HIS ABUNDANT GRACE to see him through the trial. In his weakness, God became his strength.
As it was with Job, it still speaks well of you. A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE from God means you have the majority. Paul reminds us this:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrew 11:1
Just imagine yourself unable to move your own weight around….just for a moment. Then again, imagine a little change in your situation because you have something to help support your weight…that’s right; crutches. For someone in need, crutches can seem like a god-send.You see for a long while, I tried to convince myself that what I had was better than not having at all. In the past 2 years, my faith had been tested and stretched to the limit. My faith had been shaken and turned inside out…in a sense…my faith had been exposed.
And because of this…my faith was sure….but it lacked the certainty of the unseen. My hope was still intact…but my vision was distorted. As I began to seek the Lord about my faith’s condition, He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to answer…. not until recently. His answer came in as a shock to my system: “YOUR FAITH IS ON CRUTCHES.”
In otherwise, the Lord didn’t come to offer me good wishes and hope for a speedy recovery something that I had been seeking from Him all throughout my shakings. No…instead He was offering me more:FAITH WITHOUT CRUTCHES…a NOW faith. Just like Jesus had asked the man who had been an invalid for 38 years… He is asking you and I today. “Do you want to get well?” And I suspect your answer as a good as mine. Yes, Lord!
Your faith need not be on crutches. He is saying to you and I today;
ISAIAH 52:12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, for the GOD OF ISRAEL will be YOUR REAR GUARD.
According to Collins dictionary… a REARGUARD is a detachment detailed to protect the rear of a military formation, esp. in retreat.
It is one thing to trust in the Lord at the beginning of a journey… it’s another to see Him when you arrive at your destination. Think about Job. Then again…think about me…and yes…think about yourself. When God spoke to me those words from Isaiah 52:12 on that cold February day of 2010…I had imagined that the journey ahead could be nothing but smooth sailing. But…how wrong things had proven to be. No…the fact is God had sent us packing. And Yes, for the record…He had kept part of HIS DEAL.
But there was a problem…for months on end…I didn’t seem to see where He was. I didn’t understand the silence. The battle ranged and like Job…I challenged Him as if He was my equal. The battle became evermore fierce…and my will to fight slowly began to slip away. GOD, WHERE ARE YOU? My soul cried out to Him. He didn’t answer. He didn’t sent a word in season. It became dry and parchy. The pain was unbearable.
“I HAVE BEEN WATCHING YOUR BACK” God whispered to my quietened soul last week, over 2 years since He had spoken those words from Isaiah. Yes, He had been MY REARGUARD. My life…that is, my soul had been left intact. The chaff had been separated from the wheat. The battle was over and I was on my way home. From now on
Psalms 147:13-14 HE WILL STRENGTHEN THE BARS OF MY GATES AND BLESS MY PEOPLE WITHIN ME. HE WILL GRANT PEACE TO MY BORDERS AND SATISFY ME WITH THE FINEST OF WHEAT.
It doesn’t matter at what point you are in your journey…and how fierce the battle may seem ahead of you…if God sent you out…He watching over your life…He will meet you at the end and you will be victorous in Him.