Posts Tagged ‘savior’

Our world and culture are completely stuck in the way of suffering and pain. Tragedy and fear fill our daily news stories with school shootings, devastating storms, genocide, disease, poverty, hunger, slavery, and the list goes on.

We are surrounded by pain.

I have also spent the past decade journeying and listening to the sound of suffering in others. The heart hurts and takes a beating from the words and actions of others. We all feel the effects of bad decisions, careless words, and the wake of selfish behaviors.

We can’t help but wonder why? Where is God in the midst of all of this pain and suffering?

How do we trust in a God who seemingly allows bad things to happen without stepping in? How do we trust in a God who seems inattentive, uninvolved, unaware, or even late?

As I think of these questions, I can’t help but also hear Peter’s words to Jesus as the storm raged against their boat one night, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown!?

I think one thing we fail to remember is that sin is very much present in lives, culture, and world. There is no where that is safe from sin. Atrocities and pain are the result of sin. The manifestation of sin knows no bounds. It has no limits or reasoning. Sin only has a savior.

My pastor in DC lives by two mantras that I love. He states that first, “God has always responded to suffering with incarnation,” and second, “if you are suffering, longing, or hurting, Jesus’ presence is what you get.

I feel like we are quick to blame God before blaming sin. Sin is ugly and dark. The consequences of sin run deep. Instead of looking at sin we wonder what happened to God. Did He forget? Was He unaware? Does He even care?

The truth is that nobody slips through the cracks when it comes to God. He knows and sees and cares deeply about all things. He cares about the pain of sin. God is an “in the midst” kind of God. He is ever present weeping with us in our pain. Suffering was not part of our original design and yet sits with us in ours.

God is far from being unaware or inattentive. Scriptures proves this promise that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When the storm of life feels like we are drowning, He is there. In the midst of hurting, pain, and longing, He is present. When all we see or feel is suffering, He is incarnate.

Grateful for a God who is always in the midst.

I pose the question to you:

How do you trust a God who___________?

Where is God in the midst of your life right now?


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It seems like I am all about some bittersweet moments lately. I don’t know if that is a sign of a softer heart for me, or just more of an awareness of my own messy heart.

It is bittersweet when I find myself in those times where the same bible story seems to be every where I go, and in every other sermon. It always takes about three times before I stop and wonder why I am hearing something on repeat. That particular topic seems to creep into conversations out of no where. Now I am just at the point of chuckling.

Right now I have a top three-topic list going on right now. Among those three is the topic of God as father.

I have been camped out in John for a while. In John chapter five, Jesus has just finished healing a man on the Sabbath. Leaders in the Jewish community were not happy with what Jesus was doing. Jesus stuns this Jewish group by referring to God as his father. The Jews were outraged by the fact that Jesus would claim to be God’s son. They were also mad because Jesus was considering himself equal to the father.

Every time I have read this passage, I have just glazed over these words. Not this time. I can’t shake the fact that I think Jesus was redefining yet another relationship aspect with God. Jesus was modeling an intimate label with God. Not only that, I think Jesus was telling us that it is okay for us to call God, father. God calls us his children.

This is a bittersweet statement for me. I am so thankful for a God who wants to be known by me as father, but I have no idea what the word father really means. I don’t have good associations at all with the word “father.” This statement from Jesus feels overwhelming to me. I desire to know God the way Jesus describes him to be, but this is a relationship I just do not get. My heart feels the weight of my loss

In the past there have been great glimpses of “father figures” for me. To be honest, at times, I get so ticked that I even had to have “father figures” in my life. It reminds of the loss of a father who should have been, well a lot of things. Nonetheless,  I have been blessed with great male mentors, counselors, and second homes. These are just glimpses. I still mourn the loss of knowing what father really means. I mourn understanding healthy intimacy from my father. I hate that.

I know God as provider, gracious, forgiver, savior, perfect love, leader, powerful, beautiful, and faithful. Father will always be a hard one for me.

My prayer has been for him to open my eyes to that side of who he is. I am praying for God to show himself as father to me.

How do you know God as father?

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When I was growing up, I loved watching the progressions of my nicknames. I love nicknames. I love making up nicknames for people. A name means something. People are known by their names. Often times someone’s name said a lot about the person.

I love when my friends and I start referring to one another with nicknames. That tells me that the intimacy is entering the friendship.

Throughout the bible, you can see the value of a name. Names had deep meaning. Our name is a big deal to God.

Joseph named his son Manasseh. Manaessh means “God has made me forget all my troubles.” Moses was named as “one delivered from the water.” Peter means, “the rock.” Nathaniel was described by Jesus as “one without deceit.” Jesus, the name above all names, “son of the most high.”

Names are important. Names come with identity. I am sure we can all recall a time(s) when we have been called names that have left wounds. You might even still attribute these names to yourself.

I have experienced names that have left marks on me. I have been called stupid, not enough, ugly, tom-boy (as a negative), and prideful. I have felt the not so clearly defined names as, worth abandoning, unloved, nothing to offer, and unworthy. Those names are hard to shake.

Jesus came and redefined our names. He cares about those names that are on repeat in our hearts and minds. Jesus came and reminded us that our names have always been beloved, loved, worthy, beautiful, forgiven, child, pursued, found, and worth dying for.

One truth I try and sub into the loop in my mind is, “I have called you by name and you are mine.” We are his. In him is where we belong.

Identity means everything. Our identity in him never changes. Nothing we say or do changes that identity. We belong. We are his.

What names are on repeat in your heart?

What names do you need to sub in?

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