I AM Near

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Three. Two. One. Smile! Snap. A moment caught in time.

Memories flash. A picture from the past can flood a mountain of thoughts, memories and emotions. Often times, they cause us to smile. But sometimes, they cause pain to arise.

Such was the case when I stumbled upon a picture of my husband the other day. A picture taken by his mother in the last weeks of his time here on earth. A picture revealing the throes of a battle with cancer. A picture I had forgotten, until I stumbled upon it. A moment caught in time that caused me to catch my breath.

It is not how I wanted to remember him. That picture is not who he was. I threw it on the floor, willing the image out of my mind. Try as I might, the image sat there, boring it’s unpleasant memories in my thinking process, penetrating and reminding me of a time that was anything but pleasant. It was like a thief coming to plunder through my being and to steal my joy.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that I acknowledged it and let it drop more quickly. But, I can not. Thieves are just like that. They linger. They rob. They seek to destroy. And sometimes it is so hard to shake them off, which was the case on this day. And not only did it sear my vision of the once robust guy I had married, it conjured many images of that last month we spent together. Most, not pleasant. Thoughts and memories I had toiled through, packed down and placed in a secure part of me. Things that were blurred in my memory were now perfectly clear again, as if called up for a “white-glove inspection”. What followed was an avalanche of moments that bore my tender heart to more painful reminders. Our wedding day. Big events where his absence was felt so deeply. I closed my eyes to shut out the images and thoughts.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

As I cried out in anguish, seeking answers, God arrived. He did not tell me why this was my lot in life. He did not tell me that the pain would go away. He did not tell me that life would be free of troubles. But, He did come to me.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

We can boldly dismiss these joy robbers as we stand firm in biblical teachings. God came to Moses as he hesitantly led thousands into the desert, to Daniel in the lion’s den, to Job in his suffering and loss, and to Mary and Martha for their brother, Lazarus.

God showed up and He showed up BIG.

If we allow Him, He will show up for us as well. We can shake off those bothersome moments that seek to crush our spirit. We don’t have to remain stuck in a life marred by circumstances and struggles. Those moments from times past do not have to determine the purpose and plan for our future. There is a voice that whispers love and hope. “Remember who you are in Me, you belong to Me.”  His love over us is permanent. His plan for us is to live victoriously. He is the key. He will walk with us as we confront the sadness, the loneliness, the fear, the brokenness and the confusion.

But He said to me. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                                  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)    ESV

When these moments appear (and they surely will), I encourage you to call out to Him and allow Him to sit with you. When sorrow overwhelms our spirits, God wants us to come to Him. Our sensitive and anxious souls need the truth and we can quiet our souls with truths from Scripture. As I gave Him my tears and heartache triggered by that picture, I heard His words – “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

Let Him come to you and give you rest.

Lord, I ask as we struggle with life’s struggles and pain, that You will please come near. It can be lonesome and hard for the widow’s heart; may they feel Your presence in these moments that tear at our hearts. Thank You, Lord, for loving us and giving us rest. Amen.

IMG_2758Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

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 Read more about finding a new joy by Lori and Sherry