I know some of my readers have found themselves in the middle of very long seasons, where they feel they have waited upon the Lord, and waited, and waited but they feel He hasn't heard their voice. The Scripture readings today specifically address those hearts' cries. My prayer is that you will be blessed by what you read.
However, before I share the verses I want to share a thought by Todd Hunter that he stated in "What about Authority" (3/28/12):
What if we discovered a six-act Shakespearean play that no one had discovered before? These Shakespearean enthusiasts find it. The first four acts are there and the sixth act is there. So we know everything that has been happening and we know this one act that tells us how it is all going to end, but the fifth act is missing. So we know something about the plot line, we know something about the characters who have come before us and we know something about how it is exactly going to end (Do you think then that they could figure out the fifth act?)... It is the same with us, we find ourselves currently in the fifth act, between the story of what God has done with man throughout the ages and with the grand ending - in a renewed heaven and a renewed earth with God's people working with Him. Because of that take your little life and immerse it in the Scripture, be filled with the Holy Spirit and find your place in that fifth act. Improvise, you aren't going to find specifics for your individual life, but you are going to find rhythms, routines, it's plot lines, what the good guys did and what the bad guys did and it calls out to us to find a way to live in alignment with what is going on there. (This is basically a direct quote my additions are in italics).
Based upon the quote above, I pray you can walk out the "fifth act" in your own life as you see who God has been and what He has done for those in the past and that His offer to us is the same today because we serve a God who is the same, today, yesterday and forever:
I Kings 19:4-8
Then Elijah walked for a whole day into the desert. He sat down under a bush and asked to die. "I have had enough, Lord," he prayed. "Let me die. I am no better than my ancestors."5 Then he lay down under the tree and slept.
Suddenly an angel came to him and touched him. "Get up and eat," the angel said.6 Elijah saw near his head a loaf baked over coals and a jar of water, so he ate and drank. Then he went back to sleep.
7 Later the Lord's angel came to him a second time. The angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat. If you don't, the journey will be too hard for you."8 So Elijah got up and ate and drank. The food made him strong enough to walk for forty days and nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.
Notice that Elijah is discouraged and ready to give up. The Lord strengthens him, with a loaf that gives him the strength to walk - 40 days and nights! Mind you not everything is fixed right away, but he had strength to continue on. The question is what in the world did he eat? Continue reading to get a hint.
Lord, I am in great trouble,
so I call out to you.
2 Lord, hear my voice;
listen to my prayer for help.
3 Lord, if you punished people for all their sins,
no one would be left, Lord.
4 But you forgive us,
so you are respected.
5 I wait for the Lord to help me,
and I trust his word.
6 I wait for the Lord to help me
more than night watchmen wait for the dawn,
more than night watchmen wait for the dawn.
7 People of Israel, put your hope in the Lord
because he is loving
and able to save.
8 He will save Israel
from all their sins.
Once again we see the cry of the discouraged, the lonely, those who feel they are abandoned. But again the Scripture reminds us that we can put our hope in God because He IS loving and able.
John 6:35, 41-51
Then Jesus said, "I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Some people began to complain about Jesus because he said, "I am the bread that comes down from heaven." 42 They said, "This is Jesus, the son of Joseph. We know his father and mother. How can he say, 'I came down from heaven' ?"
43 But Jesus answered, "Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the One who sent me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me, and I will raise that person up on the last day.45 It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.46 No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only he has seen the Father.47 I tell you the truth, whoever believes has eternal life.48 I am the bread that gives life.49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but still they died.50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give up so that the world may have life."
Remember Elijah and the bread? Jesus offer to us is to be the bread of life that satisfies and helps us to endure the journey. Elijah was able to travel 40 more days. Unlike the Psalmist, who had to wait to see his cry answered, we today have the blessing of Jesus offered to us daily as sustenance for our journey. Yes, we may not have arrived "at our desired destination yet" but He is our life every step of the way.
So you must stop telling lies. Tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body.26 When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.27 Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.28 Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working. They should earn an honest living for themselves. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor.
29 When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.30 And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God's proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes.31 Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil.32 Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.
You are God's children whom he loves, so try to be like him.2 Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.
These verses tie it all up for us. It brings what we think about in our hearts before God and gives it feet for us to walk it out in our daily life. We have the Holy Spirit of God as our daily proof that what we are experiencing today is not the end all or be all - freedom will be the ending. Therefore, we can walk in love and forgiveness towards others. Because (as God sandwiches these truths in) we are His children - whom He loves!!!!!!!!!!!
Beloved He loves you, He loves you, He loves you. May you be strengthened and nourished by His Truth.
Photo courtesy of Melanie Guest Photography.