Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

What To Say

 As my teacher, Jim McGuiggan says, “There is a God-denying look about this world.” I know the following isn’t news to you, but truth doesn’t always win in the here and now. Integrity isn’t always rewarded. Evil often prospers while good goes begging hat in hand. Innocent people suffer while guilty ones go free. Justice goes to the highest bidder. Religious leaders prove that not only are their feet made of clay but their hearts are far from God.

Let me ask you…What do we say to such things?

When the economic crunch hits hard…your job is lost…your necessities go up in cost while the stock market goes down…when no matter what you do or how hard you try, success always eludes you… when the fog of depression creeps over you stealing your joy…when nagging doubts won’t leave you alone…when your energy is just sapped…

Let me ask you…What should we say to such things?

When your enemies have become those of your own household…when you are taking on “friendly” fire…when in spite of all your prayers and your best efforts, your children aren’t having what you are offering in terms of faith…and when there is trouble and unrest even among the household of faith…

Let me ask you…What would you say to such things?

When loneliness comes knocking…when you feel like there’s not a soul alive who understands you or who cares whether you live or die…when the medical tests are positive and your doctor says, “This is serious…” and every night you lay down and try to sleep with this new and disturbing reality and every morning it is the first thing that greets you…when life will never be the same again…

Let me ask you…What will you say to such things?

When the sins of your youth come back to haunt you…when terrible regrets break upon your mind like filthy waves…when you’ve tried but failed to resist some strong temptation…when your own heart rises up to condemn you along with all the other voices that chime in…

Let me ask you…What could you say to such things?

When the infirmities of older age are coming upon you…when you begin to lose your independence…when the fear of where all this might lead comes upon you…and when that which we fear most comes upon us and we lose the dearest on earth to us…my friends and fellow so-journers…

Let me ask you. What can be said to such things?

I have nothing to offer in the face of such real and scary challenges. So…for my part…here’s what I shall say in faith, under pressure, through tears or trials, today and tomorrow and every day God gives me…it’s the same thing the Apostle Paul said to such things…”If God be for us, who can be against us?” And He is, you know, He really is FOR us. Speak it to every doubt and every distracting and distressing circumstance. Speak it to every detractor you face, even if it’s the treasonous voice of your own heart laboring under a load.

My sisters and brothers, GOD is FOR YOU!

 

 

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5 thoughts on “What To Say

  1. Ralph Royse on said:

    Thanks, Doug. I’m one of the many today who needed that. Your words always help & encourage. Thank you so much, brother, for extending your ministry and continuing to touch us over the miles with your efforts on this blog.

    Janet & I miss you – not even a visit to see you and the church over there for a while. Gotta do something about that this year! Our love to you, Vicki and all the kids (that includes the grandkids! Can’t wait to hear progress on those yet to come!)

    Ralph,
    Great to hear from you, brother. Thanks for checking in. And thanks for the encouraging words.
    I really miss the days when you and Russ and I would have our own preachers’ meeting at some local restaurant. Those meetings helped me more than I can say.
    I have always loved your spirit, brother. I pray that you and Janet are well…and I hope Mason is getting along well. How is he doing? Blessings on all the rest of your family also.
    How is your work going? Are you getting to preach anywhere…anytime? I hope so.
    Yes…please do come our way again as soon as you can. God bless you, my friend and my brother.

  2. It is so hard to know what to say. Words just don’t seem like much when trying to comfort tremendous worry and suffering. Fears that make you want to die … hurts that seem unbearable … emptiness that leaves you breathless. These feelings are almost too strong for words to conquer.

    We need knowledge … thoughts … an inner strength that comes from somewhere deep inside. It all centers around what you said … God is for us. If you know that … can think it over and over … and can believe it in the depths of your soul … then you will be okay.

    I know from talking to other folks that sincerity means more than the actual words, and that it hurts someone when you avoid them because you don’t know what to say. It is better to sit by them and say nothing then to just avoid them all together.

    God is for us … who can be against us. He is bigger than anything we will ever face. If we can know it, think it, “soul” it, then we will make it.

    VERY GOOD ADVICE, PAIGE, WHICH I NEEDED TO HEAR…BETTER TO SIT WITH SUFFERERS, EVEN IF IN SILENCE, THAN TO AVOID THEM FOR WHATEVER SUPPOSED REASONS. GO, EVEN IN DOUBT ABOUT WHAT TO SAY. GO, EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T SUFFERED IN THE SAME WAY. GO, EVEN IF NO ONE ELSE GOES WITH YOU. GO, EVEN IF YOU’RE AFRAID YOU MIGHT MAKE IT WORSE FOR THEM (YOU WON’T). GO, QUICKLY. DON’T WAIT TOO LONG. GO, EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU ALREADY HAVE WAITED TOO LONG. GO, BECAUSE GOING COMMUNICATES GOOD THINGS TO SUFFERERS, EVEN IF THEY CAN’T VERBALIZE IT WHILE YOU ARE WITH THEM. GO, EVEN IF IT FEELS AWKWARD. BUT DON’T GO WITHOUT PRAYING FOR GOD’S HELP.
    I THINK THAT WHEN WE REACH THE POINT OF FAITH WHERE WE CAN BELIEVE IT, SAY IT AND EVEN FEEL IT, CONSISTENTLY, THAT GOD IS FOR US, THEN WE ARE MATURING. BUT WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT GOING TO A FELLOW SUFFERER AND COMING ACROSS GLIBLY WHEN WE TELL THEM, “GOD IS FOR YOU!” IN THE VALLEY OF TRIAL, WHEN THE PRESSURE IS ON, WORDS, EVEN WONDERFUL WORDS, MAY BE INAPPROPRIATE BECAUSE THE SUFFERER IS UNABLE TO ACCEPT THEM THEN. THAT’S WHY WE NEED TO KEEP TEACHING EACH OTHER IN OUR UNPRESSURED TOGETHER TIMES TO RELY ON GOD’S LOVING ACCEPTANCE, CONTINUAL FORGIVENESS AND PRESENCE WITH US. ISN’T THAT GOOD NEWS? SUCH NEWS AS PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR AND WE NEED TO SHARE. LET’S “SOUL” IT. THANKS FOR YOUR WISDOM, PAIGE.

  3. Doug, sadly far too many of those circumstances you described have been or are a part of my life. I suppose all of us have been through dark days…maybe not exactly the same…but the darkness was just as dark..just as frightening…just as hopeless.

    One of the most empowering, most touching things that a friend said to me during my darkest days was “I am for you”. I don’t think anyone had ever said that to me. There were not very many people in my whole life that even made me feel like they were for me, whether they said the words or not. There was a time when I felt like everyone was against me. My heart was hurting so much that I was on the defensive with everyone. Thank you Father, those days are behind me and my heart is slowly healing.

    If God is for us…who can be against us? Since God is for us…I should not be afraid. Since God is for us…I should listen to Him, agree with Him, trust Him, praise Him!

    THAT’S A WONDERFUL MESSAGE FOR ONE HUMAN TO TRULY GIVE ANOTHER…”I AM FOR YOU.” WHEN YOU LOOK TO SEE WHO IS IN YOUR CORNER, YOU’LL SEE ME. WHEN YOU GLANCE TO THE CHEERING BYSTANDERS WHO OFFER YOU CUPS OF WATER AND HEARTY CHEERS AS YOU RUN YOUR LONG, TOUGH RACE, YOU’LL SEE ME THERE. WHEN YOU LOOK TO THE FINISH LINE AS YOUR STRENGTH IS VANISHING AWAY, AND YOU WONDER WHO’LL CATCH YOU WHEN YOU FALL EXHAUSTED ACROSS IT, YOU’LL SEE ME THERE WITH MY ARMS OUTSTRETCHED AND MY VOICE CALLING TO YOU. WHEN YOU’RE COUNTING THOSE THAT LOVE YOU AND BELIEVE ALL THE BEST ABOUT YOU AND WOULD NEVER DESERT YOU EVEN AT YOUR WORST, COUNT ME AMONG THOSE. AND FROM TIME TO TIME WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND HEAVEN’S THRONE ROOM AS YOU PRAY FOR YOUR BELOVED, YOU’LL SEE ME THERE TOO WITH A PRAYER ON MY LIPS FOR YOU. YES, SHERRY, I LIKE THIS MESSAGE VERY MUCH. THIS IS OUR SAVIOR, ISN’T IT? THERE’S NO FROWN ON HIS FACE, NO THUNDER AND LIGHTNING IN HIS EYES, IS THERE? HE IS ALL LOVE AND GOOD DESIRE FOR US…WANTING US TO KNOW THE UNSPEAKABLE JOY OF VICTORY WON AT THE PRICE OF PERSERVERANCE. HE IS FOR US. HE IS FOR YOU. SEE…HE HAS KEPT YOU ALIVE THROUGH ALL THOSE DARK, DARK DAYS, AND THE LIGHT HE HAS GIVEN YOU IS HELPING TO BRIGHTEN ALL OF OUR DARKNESS TOO. SHERRY, I THINK YOU ARE GOOD FOR GOD…AND GOOD FOR US TOO. THANKS FOR CHECKING IN HERE AND WRITING ENCOURAGING WORDS.

  4. Rex Boyles on said:

    I never faced what Job faced … and would never claim to have the faith he had; but during dark days, when I deserved the guilt – the loneliness – the rejection you mentioned, I sometimes sighed these words: “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). I knew that I deserved His wrath, but clung desperately to those words we learned together so many years ago: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God …”

    Your words also reminded me of a stanza in the 56th Psalm: “This I know – that God is for me” (in my real Bible). Your friendship is a reminder of that truth. Thank you. I love you. Rex

    MY BROTHER,
    IN MY LIFETIME, SO FAR, AND AMONG THOSE I HAVE KNOWN, I’VE NEVER KNEW ANYONE TO HURT LIKE YOU HURT AFTER THE SIN. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE CONFESS MORE OPENLY OR COMPLETELY. I’VE NEVER PERSONALLY SEEN ANYONE STRUGGLE LIKE YOU DID (ARE?) TO FIND YOUR WAY AGAIN. THE GREAT HORROR OF DARKNESS THAT YOU HAVE COME (ARE COMING) THROUGH IS DUE, IN PART, TO THE INTIMACY YOU SHARED WITH THE MASTER BEFOREHAND. YOU, MY BROTHER, WERE SO BROKEN…SO VERY BROKEN. BUT THE GLORY OF OUR SAVIOR IS SUCH THAT YOU WERE NOT BROKEN SO AS TO BE FOREVER DESTROYED. NO…YOU WERE BROKEN LIKE BREAD TO FEED THE HUNGRY. AND WE, THE HUNGRY, WHO GOD NOW FEEDS THROUGH YOU…WE JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU. I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU. HE IS FOR YOU. SO AM I, FOR WHAT THAT’S WORTH. I LOVE YOU.

  5. Anonymous on said:

    I AM FOR YOU REX. I remember the energy you spent to try to help children and people know God. We loved your sense of humor. People loved you so much Rex. We have been apart for years and we are getting a little more white headed and our bodies are getting older in many ways but my memory of such good things we used to do to try to help People See Jesus and how you drew people and changed lives – I will always Remember Rex. God LOVES YOU FOREVER AND EVER.

    Gail

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