by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014
When we choose by walk by faith not by sight (which is what God asks of us), then it is because we choose to believe in God and what He says in His Word. This means we believe Him when He says that the visible was made out of the invisible and the invisible is greater.
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
When we choose to walk by faith and not by sight it means we believe our destiny is not this life, but the fullness of the life to come.
31…If God is for us, who can be against us?…35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31b,35,37-39)
And nothing, nothing, nothing can steal our eternal destiny from us.
In addition, even now God as all powerful Father, He promises to hear our prayers and answer when we are seeking to follow Him—trying to listen, discern and obey Him moment by moment to the best of our childlike abilities like Jesus did.
Most of our prayers either concern requests related to prolonging our natural life or the lives of others and or minimizing the suffering (poverty, hunger, persecution, slavery, physical abuse, illness, etc.) which are part and parcel of this life on earth (which is not and will never be heaven.) These prayers are good! He responds! And yet injustice and suffering remain.
Our Shepherd is ever faithful to His promise to lead us through the shadow of the valley of death. He promises we do not have to worry—He will provide for us perfectly, and He will use all for good in light of eternity.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. It not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:15-27,31-33 NIV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Ps. 23 NIV)
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” (Ezekiel 34:11-16 NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
Yet, our Lord does not always answer our prayers our way. In His sovereign omnipotence and omniscience, His supreme, all-encompassing view does not always match our childlike, limited one.
Consider Jesus. He sets the example and this example included the cross.
Sometimes it seems as if for us the cross may have lost some of its original impact. The horror of it can seem as if gilded because through it Jesus made possible our reconciliation with Father, adoption as sons and daughters and return to Him for eternity. Yet the cross was a heinous, inhumane tool of torture used to murder the Son of God. The time of our Lord’s passion was nothing but ugly.
Those who loved Jesus could see nothing beautiful, wonderful or good His death. It was unjust, did not make sense and seemed the end to all their hope.
Some of his disciples had recognized Jesus rightly as the Messiah. At the time of the Savior’s coming Israel was under cruel Roman persecution and rule. How the people longed to be free under their own rulers again. Oh, to be their own sovereign, independent nation! The understanding was the Messiah (which means God’s anointed—chosen—One) was to come and save them, to re-establish a kingdom, which in their limited childlike view they took to mean Israel’s independence as a kingdom on earth.
Of course, we know the end of the story. God had something greatly superior planned. Through Jesus He planned to offer everyone—not just the Israelites—entry into His eternal kingdom, which is not of this world.
At the crucifixion however, this was still not apparent. It did not enter their disciples’ minds that His death was the key to His resurrection, which was the key to the Door of heaven opening for all of us. From all they could understand, the crucifixion looked like the end, not like a beginning.
What they saw in the moment was something completely different and incomprehensible. Jesus was betrayed by one on the inner circle. When Jesus was arrested the other apostles must have felt as if something was horribly wrong—and it was. Evil was in the air. And by all accounts it looked like evil was winning. Jesus did not stand up for Himself. He didn’t reveal miraculous power to defend or save Himself. The people at large turned against Him in a seemingly impossible, preposterous way—asking for the life of a known criminal to be spared instead of Jesus.
Everything was the opposite of what it should be. Where was justice? Where was God? And all too quickly the situation spiraled out of control even more. After being tortured almost to death, Jesus had to carry his cross up the hill, where He was disrespectfully stripped, mocked, and hands and feet hammered to the cross with nails, so that he could hang on it for hours until death.
The Messiah was dead. Rome still ruled. Nothing had changed except now it was worse. The long-awaited Messiah had come and come and gone.
This was the most horrendous evil act perpetrated by Satan of all time. This adversary of God worked through God’s own people to kill His Son.
And yet, God was not done. In fact, as horrific as this act was, Satan had played directly in God’s hands. The Father knew what the adversary would do. He knew what the people would choose and so He chose before time began to weave together His plan to use that which the enemy definitely used for evil for the supreme good of all humanity. It’s almost as if the Lord could be heard, “Watch what I’m going to do with this, Lucifer! Through your own plan, I am going to remove all who will choose it from under your wrong dominion. I will restore them to My kingdom—the kingdom for which they were created. Yes, through your heinous act, I’m going to redeem the world.”
Thus, indeed, through it all, our Lord reigned (and reigns)! The way the Lord answered the prayers at the time did not look good! And yet, when we now consider what God has done, we recognize that His way was supremely good.
Thus we cannot expect our Lord’s answers to prayer always will look like it seems they should either. We are also His creation and not the Creator. Like any young child’s view in comparison to the parent, our children-of-God eyes have limited comprehension. We are not (and never will be) God.
This does not mean God the Father is glad for injustice, or doesn’t care when we suffer, or is ambivalent when evil seems to have his way. God is love! This place into which we are born was not His original and best plan for us. It was our ancestors’ choice because they choice their own will (and followed Satan’s leadership), instead of trusting in and submitting to God. We are born into exile. Jesus was sent to rescue us, providing the way out and home……(All praise to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, forever and ever, amen!)
Our Lord waits in the eternal Kingdom to which He calls us to wipe every tear away.
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”…6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” (Rev.21:1-5a,6-7 NIV)
If this is all true, then Jesus is already our Victor. It means every battle we are currently in He has already plans to overcome and use for good which cannot be thwarted—even by supernatural evil—for the adversary is less than God’s infinite more. If we have lost those we love from this world, His promise is that we will see them again. If they seem to have left without knowing and choosing Him, we must remember we do not know what went on in their minds and hearts in those final moments. We must lean on the truth that God loves us and every person more than we do and keep our eyes on Him. Only He knows.
Therefore, if we truly trust God, then we can already now thank Him for that which is to come. We can thank Him now in faith and trust which means confidence for what He will do for every prayer request which is on our heart. This is not because His answer will look like we expect, but because His answer will always be extremely, eternally God’s.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? …34… Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-32,34b-35,37-39 NIV)
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ..15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:1,15-20 NIV)NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com www.eaglesnestfoundation.org
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. For information email email@example.com or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org