“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
Psalms 90:1-2 NKJV
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.””
Psalms 91:1-2 NKJV
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 NKJV
I needed the passages I read this morning. I think it is no coincidence that I awoke needy, and the Lord had just the Scriptural medicine I needed.
Waking in the night, weighted by the travails of the world, has become a habit for me. I woke this morning to the news of Putin giving Ukraine an ultimatum over Mariupol. For some reason, the Lord has laid this besieged city on my heart. I sat on the edge of my bed trying to pray, but no words would come. I turned off the BBC app on my phone and switched to worship music.
I lay awake in my bed listening to the album, “Come Weary Saints” by Sovereign Grace Music, which has been on steady replay for the past few weeks. As I lay, I thought of the vast purview of God, the creator of all things. I thought of His great love, His attention, of how He was with me in that moment, and that He was with the people of Mariupol, even as the bombs fall around them.
In my flesh, but for a moment, I battled doubt, as I wondered why so many were suffering, seemingly with no recourse. Then I remembered the God who holds everything together, and of His Son, in whom all things consist.
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV
In my finite humanity, I acknowledged that I could not possibly understand the thinking of an infinite God. I recognized that His ways are not mine, and that we as humans have this propensity to demand our free will, but fail to see the consequences of what we choose to do.
More often than not we are the ones who bring suffering into the world, as we have, since the garden of Eden, sought to do what was right in our own eyes. This has given us the unstable and unsure world we deserve.
I have learned that the only surety is to be in the presence of the Lord, for He is the creator of all things, the Most High. The trouble we see in the world which has lead to so much suffering, is not the fault of God, or due to His neglect, but due to sinful people making choices, based on their own will and not that of God.
We are seeing the fruit of the flesh on full display, as sin is fully manifested in violence on a dramatic scale. Evil forces are in conflict, with innocents caught in the crossfire.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
In the dark of the night, I turned my attention to the Lord, the One who holds my next breath. I prayed over the people of Mariupol, that they who call upon the name of Lord, know that He is near, that He is faithful, and that HIs faithfulness transcends whatever is happening in the here and now.
May they, as I have, through my own suffering, nowhere near as severe, focus on eternity. May we who are free, at least for now, and not under bombing, at least for now, continue to pray for their delivery.
Brothers and sisters, remember that these things are but birth pangs, and more pain is coming, as we await that glorious day when the Son returns to deliver the earth. Let us remember that as followers of Jesus, we can dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.
Let us look forward to the reign of the Everlasting God.
Things right now are indeed dark, but let us be mindful that the stars are out even in the sun of the bright noon day, but only shine when the sun goers down. As I write this I found myself listening to another go to album, Valley of Vision, also by Sovereign Grace. The song “In the Valley” spoke to my heart.
“In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed
Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley”
-Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace
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