by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016
Outside cold rain pouring down. Certainly in the mountains it is snowing. Unusual rain. Unusual temperatures. Actually a sense of autumn. I love the rain and its coolness and wish it could be thus every year.
Normally in our part of Northern California, October is hot and dry (long after we are ready for autumn rain and cooler temperatures) and November is temperate, often still too warm to feel like autumn completely dry. It is not common to have lots of rain in autumn or for the temperatures to feel like fall. Our autumn is usually one of bold and bronze colors but not of the cooler temperatures usually associated with how one imagines the season should be.
This year we have autumn. Unusual rains and cooler temperatures in October and now a rainy, cold Thanksgiving. And the Holy Spirit is reminding me of His message in the rain and storms.
Oh, Lord, thank You for autumn and with the faith of being Your child, I say thank You, Lord, for storms which bring Your water into the spiritual deserts of hurting, dry hearts so seeds long thought dead can finally sprout and Your new life can come forth!
We received devastating news about someone we love the day before Thanksgiving.
As in everyday there is a choice to be made. Is God truly God or is He not? In my twenties I lived ten years in the place where I didn’t see how God could be real. Yet during those years when I chose to be absent from Him, I was dying without Him. No joy. No true peace. I was floundering to figure things out on my own and to make sense of it all even while I tried to stand resolute, firm and brave. But I was on a faulty foundation.
I returned 25+ years ago to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (the perfect representation of Father and the One who requested the Holy Spirit for us). This means by definition of faith, I do not have HIM all figured out. Yet, I have been witness to repeating, increasing evidence of God at work especially through what seem to be the worst circumstances. He never fails to work through all things to bring for the breakthrough, life and LIFE.
We are broken, imperfect humans, living broken, imperfect lives where we often make unwise choices which can lead to horrible consequences for us and those around us.
And though with us providing His blessing through all things, God’s greatest gifts are eternal in nature and He uses what we consider life’s worst to get others as well as us in position to receive His eternal blessings (which begin now).
The unusual rain is impetus to keep listening for what God wants. In addition, also in this unusual rain I sense His promise. It is His promise of restoration, increased life and LIFE if we will stay the course and seek to walk in His specific will.
When we first became aware of the direction things had actually taken for the one we love, it was Christmas Eve 2015 for me. The Lord nudged me that this revelation was part of my Christmas gift. At first, this just seemed cruel and unlike God. That is, until we recognize once again that it’s often through these things which seem so awful, that He is bringing His gifts. Through the storm, He is answering prayers and growing our spiritual muscle. We receive the gift of increased intimacy with Him while He is about the deep work of answering our prayers. This is because often when we have prayed for someone, only He has down the depth and expanse of what is needed to answer these prayers.
I have prayed what I call, “The Ugly Prayer” for those I love:
“Lord, take the ones I love wherever they need to go in life in order to come into the fullness of what you have for them and so they can walk out the God-given assignments You have for them.”
I meant it when I prayed this prayer even though I was completely aware that what I was praying for would not be answered by everything being easy and positive for those I loved. It would mean pitfalls and exposed weak spots which He would then lovingly tend to and shore up on Him the Rock and right foundation.
I could not pray the other prayer which was always so tempting: “Lord, protect the ones I love from everything which could harm them and let nothing bad happen in their lives.” This was not a prayer the Lord could answer the same way. Here remains earth and not heaven. There will be no escape from difficulties. Answer to this prayer would not bring us into the potential richness God had for us–into those blessed places where we must choose to let Him be God and grow us or not.
We live in a broken, fallen world with broken, faulty people who will affect themselves and others in ways which are not always right or good. Here will never be heaven. Ever. Human wisdom and way fails over and over through all generations.
So now in the midst of a raging storm, am I going to cower in fear, cry out in panic or give up in despair and become crippled by it? Has God changed? Is He still King over all on His throne? Have any of His promises been nullified?
No, God remains God and faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, I will remain in Him, gazing at Him, singing His praises. He always has been and remains my singular hope. It is on His strength, power, wisdom, way and promises which I rely. His joy is my strength and in who He is and what He promises is my ongoing joy in spite of what I can see. I will sing His praises through it all and never stop, for I know who He is:
My Lord, You are Victor. You are never done. My Lord, You are Creator and Father who loves those I love even more than I do. My Lord, You are sovereign and nothing thwarts Your purposes. My Lord, Your purpose is eternal union with You because You are love. Heavenly One, Your love is unstoppable and supreme beyond defining. You are always Victor, my Savior and King. You, Lord, are the Shepherd who tends to very sheep. Because You are love, Your searching does not cease. You came to a manger, to show us the Father. Your love never ending, our Lamb and High Priest.
I either believe in Him or I don’t and He has shown me too much evidence of who He is and how He works not to believe. The enemy brings storms to destroy. God uses the storms to usher in His Living Water—Life comes forth through the storms.
So what am I to do? Will I crumble in the face of what I see for these waves are dangerously high? Or will I choose to continue to walk on water as He calls me, with eyes only for Him because my Lord calls me out. When He is resting in my boat will I panic, thinking He doesn’t notice the storm or rely on Him to know and bring it to cease and be still at His proper time (after His objectives have been accomplished).
My goal is to be in His will. My goal is to remain in Him receiving His joy and peace. This means I will choose to rejoice, give Him glory and rely on Him in this place.
The last few years I have decorated for Christmas less and more slowly. It has seemed like something which could easily get out of hand and in our exuberance—actually distract from focus on Jesus who came without worldly decorations or fanfare (even as heaven rejoiced).
But this year, in this excruciatingly hard place, I will walk by faith and as an expression of trust in Him, I will let nothing steal His gift of joy. Therefore as a symbolic expression of trust and commitment to be engaged in the party, I will decorate already today and enter into the celebration of my current and coming King, in thanksgiving for Who He has always been, is and will be.
#ocomeletusadoreHim #decoratingmyheartwithhisjoy #worshipHismajesty #trustintheLordwithallyourheart
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOMGod’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
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Financial Counselor and financial coach with a heart for helping people understand their money and steward it God’s way.
For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro please visit www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit 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.