So, I have to tell y’all a story. Strawberries are one of my 2 year-old’s favorite snacks. Yesterday I had cut the “green stuff” off the top of 3 ripe, dark-red, juicy organic strawberries for him…but he was not having it. He had seen 1 big strawberry in the package that I had left behind (on purpose, mind you). And, I mean, his little strong-willed self was not about to settle for 3 little strawberries when he could have the big one!!!
What he could NOT see was that the big one he had his heart (or taste buds rather) set upon, was NOT ripe, it was still green at the top for goodness sake. As his momma, I knew that big strawberry was definitely not going to be sweet, juicy nor enjoyable. It would positively be hard to chew and sour, and if I know my boy – which I do – he was going to end up biting into it, then spitting it out and hand it straight to me! So, in an effort to avoid all of that mess, and from a loving place, I simply chose to give him 3 of the smaller strawberries and leave the big one to ripen a bit more for him to enjoy another day. I had his very best in mind. But all his eyes could see is what I did not give him.
Are you catching what I’m throwing out there? I did.
As I stood there watching him…assuming I was holding out on him, as if I was being mean and stingy with him…God started to reveal things in my own heart. In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth! As a mom, it was so frustrating because he would not listen to my reasoning, he refused to hear my heart behind why I chose 3 beautiful strawberries instead of the 1 on which he had his mind fixed. I knew what he did not know!
When is the last time that you saw something “better” in your own eyes that God did not give you?
Even though we know it in our minds, perhaps maybe our hearts are not really getting it – that our God sees what we do not and cannot see. And the underlying, significant question is:
Do we really, truly, somewhere deep-down (in the secret places of our own heart), do we have a mistrust for our God?
Do we trust in what we can see with our own eyes?
Do we trust the Creator of the Universe, The One Who condescended to Earth as a man, took upon Himself all of our shame and guilt and sin, died in our place, rose from the grave to give us eternal victory, and ever lives to intercede for us?!
God is not holding out on us, no matter how much that seems to be the case. He is good. His ways are right and His Word is true. Trust Him today. He is the only One who will not change, He is the only One Who is exactly Who He says He is. He is the only One Who can see what is coming our way, He knows what is in our best interest, and this is critical for you and I to understand – He cares.
Last week, a precious woman who has been unable to conceive a child for years came in to my office. Numerous tests, numerous treatments, countless hours of wondering and asking and never understanding why God would not say yes. Just that morning she and her husband had been told by their fertility specialist that a “less than 7% chance existed” even if they tried a different (very expensive) procedure to get pregnant. She wept because she also found out that a family member who already has 4 children, just got pregnant with her 5th. This is the magnitude of things that are overwhelming the lives of so many people around us.
I was overcome with emotion for her, I could hear the raw state of her spirit, and I knelt beside her and told her with every bit of confidence I have, “Tell Him, tell God what you are feeling, tell Him how bad you are hurting and how you do not understand it, and do not let an offense with Him take hold in your heart. Do not stuff down those emotions in order to put on the “good Christian” front, as if we cannot cry out to Him or be honest with Him. He is not fragile! He loves you and He sees you.”
And boy do I believe that! I do. And if you, my sister, are in a situation that is of that intensity in your own life, I want to tell you the same thing I told her! (Go read it again and keeping reading-on because there is another jewel I want to share with you in a couple paragraphs.)
It is so dangerous for a believer to fear or fail to bare her soul to the One Who created it.
It is in Jesus Christ alone we find our healing.
There is a young pastor who is currently imprisoned in Iran on an 8-year sentence for preaching the Gospel. His name is Pastor Saeed Abedini. Perhaps the most fascinating and wonderful sermon I have EVER heard speaking to this subject is a letter he wrote to his little girl on her 8th birthday. His wife, Naghmeh, read this letter aloud to us at the True Woman ’14 Conference just a few weeks ago. Below are links to watch the video or read the entire letter. I have given an excerpt below:
- Watch Naghmeh read his letter here (go to the 18 minute mark to hear her read the letter, although watching her entire testimony is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED):
- Read the entire transcript of his letter here:
I know that you question why you have prayed so many times for my return and yet I am not home yet. Now there is a big WHY In your mind you are asking: WHY Jesus isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all of the people around the world praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family.
The answer to the WHY is WHO. WHO is control? LORD JESUS CHRIST is in control.
I desire for you to learn important lessons during these trying times. Lessons that you carry now and for the rest of your life. The answer to the WHY is WHO.
The confusion of “WHY has all of this happened?” and “WHY your prayers are not answered yet” is resolved with understanding WHO is in control…LORD JESUS CHRIST, our GOD!
God is in control of the whole world and everything that is happening in it is for His good purpose, for His glory, and will be worked out for our good (Romans 8:28). Jesus allows me to be kept here for His glory. He is doing something inside each of us and also outside in the world. People die and suffer for their Christian faith all over the world and some may wonder why? But you should know the answer of WHY is WHO. It is for Jesus. He is worth the price. And He has a plan to be glorified through our lives.
God knows the struggle in that little girl’s heart over her daddy’s imprisonment. I’m confident that she has heard of God’s power and seen it in her young little life already. The issue often is not that we doubt God’s power to perform miracles, but rather when He does not act like we want & ask Him to act?
Have you asked Him for a miracle you have not yet received?
- A disease or injury to be healed?
- A marriage to be restored?
- A job to be found?
- A child to be conceived?
- A situation to be changed?
- A single person longing to be married?
- A broken heart over a sudden loss?
- A financial struggle that seems to repeat itself?
- A prodigal child to come back to Jesus?
And yet, somehow in His sovereign way of knowing what we do not know and seeing what we do not see, through His loving and caring and kind hands, our God has chosen a different answer right now.
God chooses our strawberries wisely and from a place of love.
It’s Who He Is. (1 John 4:8)
There is no other way He operates. He does not change. (James 1:17)
He does not withhold what is good for those of us who love Him. (Psalm 84:11)
He is the giver of all good things. (James 1:17)
His heart is kind. (Romans 4:2)
If you are struggling today, take heart. (John 16:33)
My attempt to give my boy the best strawberries I had to offer is rubbish compared to what our Heavenly Father offers us. My very best could not even scratch the surface of the vastness of the glory of The Lord’s favor and affection toward His children.
Listen to what Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 7:7-11:
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.
There is great victory to be had in persisting in what you are asking God to do. Persist in prayer to find the ways He is revealing Himself. Persist in knowing Who He Is on the deepest level. And the result is that you begin to trust this: He knows what you do not know and He sees what you do not see. Knowing Him intimately allows you to tap into what the Holy Spirit is saying (Rev. 3:22), and agree with what Jesus is at the right hand of our Father interceding for us (Romans 8:34).
I wonder if we would be willing to remain faithful in our own frustration or dissatisfaction, knowing that because God is Who He says He Is…we shall doubtless receive His grace and blessing in the hardship. And we shall doubtless live in victory regardless of our circumstance. And we shall doubtless help another sojourner on their road of faith as well.
Naghmeh Abedini testified to the fact that because Saeed is imprisoned, countless fellow prisoners and guards have denounced islam and received salvation in Jesus’ Name. The Iranian government has moved him numerous times because of the deep effect his witness is having for the Kingdom of the One True God. He is now in solitary confinement because they cannot keep him quiet about His Savior. Not only is Saeed continuing to press on and fight the good fight, Naghmeh is as well. She has been in the media, testified about Jesus Christ in front of officials and governments, rulers and authorities of earthly kingdoms and she shares the gospel in places it would have never been welcome, had it not been for Saeed’s imprisonment.
My precious patient who was falling apart the last time I saw her, today informed me that she has been able to minister to a friend who had a miscarriage and is struggling to understand God’s reasons for not giving her this child. His ways are immensely, vastly beyond what we can see.
Sweet sister, when we do not understand why, the answer is Who. Jesus Christ is worthy of our lives being poured out for Him, and He is worth it whatever your lot! Trust Him today. And if you do not have enough faith to trust, tell Him so. All you need to do is ask. He is a Father who loves to give good gifts (and the best strawberries) to His children.