Audrey Assad Even the Winter

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Between Worlds; Seeking direction and wisdom from God

We have had two major snow storms in the past couple of weeks.  People are walking around still traumatized by their encounters with serious need as the power outages were massive and took at least 13 days plus, to begin to restore power.  It has been bitterly cold. Most people did not have enough to eat. And transportation anywhere was impossible as trees and downed wires blocked roads and produced new hazards.

"For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee." Ps 86:5 
Do you ever feel like you have to "fight God" to wrest the answers to the requests you bring to him? Do you feel like you've sinned too much to "call upon the name of the Lord?" This verse addresses all of that. He is good. He is merciful. He is forgiving. But there is one condition --you have to call upon him. That means prayer. If you don't pray, don't expect him to read your mind and give you what you want/need. "You have not because you ask not." (James 4:2 c). And in order to take full benefit from his forgiveness, you must first confess and repent (which means "to change direction"). Trust then that he will respond according to his character and according to his promises.

Exo. 14:13 -15

 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!"

 Vs. 15 always makes me laugh.   Isn't that just like us? In our anxiety we plead and beg for an answer in our favor and we fail to discern that "all  God's promises are 'yes' and 'amen' in Him." God gets tired of our begging.  "You  have what you want, just shut up and go to it!"

Now they are forecasting a third Nor'easter to arrive Tues-Wed sometime and predictions are grim. However according to the National Weather Services' site, they predict that the most reliable and likely models show the storm passing to the south of us.  

Now, my great need for wisdom is this:
My husband is getting carpal tunnel surgery on Monday...he will not be able to operate or maneuver our generator  or to fill it with gas.  I certainly can't do it.  My husband really needs this surgery.  Do we go ahead and trust God to work it out? Or do we play it safe and postpone it for some other time?   And secondly, do I stock up on food that doesn't require cooking?  The first storm (Riley) cost us a LOT of money in lost food.  How do I prepare for this?  

I've spent the morning in prayer and as these following references came to mind, I do feel that we should go ahead with out plans.  If the power goes out without a generator our basement will flood as we need the electric sump pump to keep water out, unless God moves and keeps the basement dry. But I have quite a strong assurance that all will be well.  And today, this assurance is reinforced by the fact that the forecasts are much more positive.

Exodus 32:13-14
13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’”
14 So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people. (relented)

Remind God of his character, promises and activity on behalf of those walked closely with him…as he has blessed them and honored their obedience, ask him to do the same for you.

This passage (above) is one of  the greatest accounts of intercession between man and God.  Moses tells God to spare Israel, even if it means blotting Moses' own name out of the Book of Life.  He reminds God of all his promises and his fame on Earth as a loving, holy God and that God should not harm his reputation by destroying his people and breaking his promises to them and to Moses. And because of Moses' prayer, God relents and agrees not to obliterate them...
James 1:5-6 (NASB)
But if any of you lacks wisdom*, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

This is not about asking for wisdom as some vague character trait.  It is asking God for specific guidance…and the faith without doubts is threefold:

1)    Faith that the answer will come.

2)    That we actually HAVE been guided (once we have)… iow: recognize that God has spoken

3)    Faith that God’s guidance is sure…that what he says will happen, will happen.

*wisdom: from the Greek, sofros - expertise in the matters of life, schedule, plans, advice.
It also means divine, understanding and knowledge.  And it is true that as you deal with God on an earthly level..such as what to do in emergencies, major decisions etc, as you receive guidance and constantly see God keeping his word--then you will also grow in spiritual wisdom and depth as a result of seeing God at work. And this will result in growth in your faith, inspired by his continuing responsiveness to your need.

Don't go it alone.  There is a loving father/God waiting and wanting to help.  Ask for help and then trust that you have it (read Jas 1:5 -6 again).  Do not fail to repent as is necessary to put these promises into effect. This is a critical step.
Vaya con dios, my friends.  Stay warm and dry.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

No Matter what the Cost

Well, I'd wondered when the other shoe would drop...when I would become one of those people who live in neighborhoods that the evening news would film in disbelief that the Lord had once more allowed something incomprehensible.  I live in the Pocono mountains in PA and last week we were hit with over a foot of snow ...and 50 mph winds which--because of the ground being saturated by prior rain-- took the trees down like bowling pins....Ripping out power lines which now block roads everywhere you go.


These photos are from various photographers in the  area who contributed this group of photos.  Sadly,  I do not have their names to be able to give them credit.
My house has had no power since March 1st when the first storm hit.  Right now I am at my dad's  house, trying to forget the horror of those freezing cold days at home. We have electric heat, no cooking, no water (toilet...) and NO SUMP.....(which meant our basement, which is half finished, would flood if power was not returned to run it.  It's a nightmare that happened to us once before in Hurricane Sandy; a nightmare that I'm praying to be spared from).

My husband was away when the storm hit so I was stranded alone in a house with temps in the house which ranged between 35-45 F.  All I did was put on as many clothes as I could and as many blankets as I could find and laid, covered on the bed and prayed not to die.  Either that or to die quickly. I felt guilty when I left because the cat had to be there alone and so cold.  she and I kept each other company and "warm."

My daughter was concerned about me so she called the security men from our development and they came to check on me several times.  One of the worst problems was being short of breath and away from my Oxygen source (which is electric). I could not walk from the kitchen to my bedroom without being so SOB (short of breath) that I would fall on the bed gasping and coughing.  My nebulizer also is electric.

My husband has returned home and set up a generator to keep the sump pump running and heat in our smallest room (my bedroom).  I'm at my dad's in NJ --he got power back yesterday. At my house now we still have no power.

What did I do in those days of darkness?  I laid in the dark and I prayed...not begging to be spared, but begging to know Jesus better...and then for my family somehow to see God in all of this, rather than to curse him.  I asked God for forgiveness because in a way I knew this storm to be a message...a message to me and to all who ignore him or don't talk to him or hear from him.  No God did not hurl a bunch of snow or go bowling with our trees in order to "Punish us" or to harm us. You know all know the verse I'm sure: Jeremiah 21:11
I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
God took his children in the Desert of Sinai through some hard times and when --after he'd blessed them beyond measure and they'd spit in the face of his goodness and chased after other gods worshiped by other nations, even going so far as to sacrifice their children in horrible ways... And let me tell you that babies and small children are a special delight to the Lord and he WILL NOT look the other way while his little ones suffer or are put to death.  When a nation leaves its godly foundation - once prosperity kicks in with its soul-numbing obsession with wealth and acquisition--God will not look the other way for too long.  He will do whatever it takes to have his lost sheep returned to the fold.  He had to take Israel into captivity to Babylon and a time of starvation and horror for those who remained in Israel.

So what am I saying?  that God is a god like Zeus, throwing lightening bolts like spears at unwitting mortals?  No, he is a jilted Lover, who will do anything to win back his beloved one(s).  He will allow them to suffer and to fear that he has abandoned us forever....until we seek him and once more, eagerly open our ears to hear his voice. 

That is what I did in those freezing cold days --when my skin was cold to the touch...when I did not leave a warm spot in the bed when I stood up.... I did what some people mocked me for and raged at me for....I talked to my Y'shua and asked him to make himself more real to me as a result of this suffering.  My heart breaks for those who are blinded by their hardness of heart and their rage and bitterness. I want them to know Jesus, like I know him.

Now we are supposed to get another 15" of snow. I'm asking God to change the path of that storm to circumvent this area and move elsewhere or better yet, just to go away, right off the the weather maps. But he has plans for us....plans for a hope and a future and I will not bypass his plans for us...I want to see that "hope and a future" that he has matter what the cost.