Tag Archive: faithful God


This is another great little Psalm so i thought it would be good just to post the whole thing:

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3 How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
    the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
    together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
    or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 
and, “You reward everyone
    according to what they have done.”

Verse 1 and 2 are just so comforting – what a way to begin a prayer – my soul finds rest in God, my salvation comes from Him, He is my rock and my salvation and then followed by the powerhouse piece of ‘He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.’

These are the words of someone who intimately knows the God they are talking about.

Then he breaks into a mini rant about the people that are giving him a hard time.

But then it’s almost as if his thoughts are interrupted and he heads back to the focus on who God is , taking it up a notch and just pretty much gushing on God. And then calling on others to join in: Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him for God is our refuge. So he has moved from an individual appreciation to a community related declaration. He is our refuge.

And then works towards the end where He focuses on two aspects of God – how powerful He is and that He rewards people for their deeds.

Just a really delightful piece and one to turn to when feeling a bit down or distant from God

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

coincidence

recently i shared an incredible story i heard in church of God being able to take a story that looked like it contained contradictory elements [people being told their adopted children were going to be two different sets of ages] and making them both happen, which you can read about here.

my own recent story contains more coincidence than miracle and so is a lot easier to explain away perhaps, but not to me.

a few weeks ago i attended the CCDA Christian Communities Development conference in New Orleans and after one session where i heard some incredible stories from this man Father Boyle who has worked with gang members for the last thirty years i was broken. i sat in the meeting hall [of i would say 2000 people capacity] as people filed out and they even started putting up dividers to close my edge section off from the main hall section where they were about to have an open mic session.

i was sitting and calling out to God with a sense of ‘what am i doing?’ in response to this message of this man who had dedicated his life to these young people and was seeing incredible results. i know God uses me through online stuff and speaking and writing opportunities when i get those, but in terms of face to face difference making i was just feeling completely low and useless. so really just a cry of ‘what difference is my life making?’

the room had mostly emptied when this older [than me] mom type lady comes up to me with a ‘Brett?’ kind of question and i say ‘Yes’ and she introduces herself. She is a South African who is currently doing a year of study in the States and she goes on to tell me how i had a huge influence in the lives of her two daughters [who are now i think 23 and 21] when they were at school and possibly her son as well.

like really? i am sitting crying out to God about my effectiveness as a God-following person in the middle of Americaland at a conference full of Americaneses and He sends a South African woman to come and look for me to tell me that i had some influence in her family.

coincidence? possibly. God-incident? it just seemed to be so well timed and perfect to be otherwise.

i’m not a big fan of the God-finds-me-parking-places theology because of all the times i’ve asked and He hasn’t and because some people tend to attribute things that were clearly not specifically God to God which to me tends to reduce the times somewhat when it actually is God. i also can’t get my brain around how God was able to bring that lady to come find me and how i completely believe that she operated in her free will both at the same time and yet somehow it just works – maybe God is more largely into the prompting and suggesting business than the picking-people-up-and-marching-them-like-a-robot-into-the-next-room business…

what i do know is that i was feeling low and broken and just really needing some encouragement from God and it came. in quite a dramatic fashion. i think i would have taken encouragement from an American right then, but God sent a South African. and it was a direct answer to the specific cry. so call ‘coincidence’ all you like, but i think i am going to hold onto ‘God-incident’ on this one.

# in a completely different and maybe way more random [to you] note, when i was involved in youth leading a bunch of us from Claremont Baptist were on this youth leader’s committee camp once and we ‘discovered’ this constellation we called ‘the horse’ which is very probably some other constellation or part thereof but it is the one constellation [well, apart from Orion and the Southern Cross] that i can actually pick out in the sky and it’s been a huge source of encouragement for me over the years [feels like a private constellation that belongs to a select few of us and i love sharing it with friends of mine when the opportunity arises] [actually i think Mark Chapman was the one who came up with ‘Barman’s vomit’ which didn’t really count as much cos it referred to the Milky Way which is already kinda named, but that one still gives me a smile every time i see it]

anyways, the point being that when i was flying back from New Orleans i had a window seat and ‘the horse’ was directly outside my window pretty much all the way home which felt like God putting the seal on a very special trip. that one is more likely to be shelved into the corner of coincidence but once again it was just there at the right place and right time [i don’t know that i’ve particularly noticed it in our two years of being in americaland] and confirmation that God has me and to just keep on, because He is faithful.

it is possibly a travesty of the highest order to take something that God has directly put in front of you and to minimalise it or discount it as coincidence and so i am going to use these happenings as opportunity to bring Him praise and glory and attention.

# actually one other quick memory i have from the conference was sitting on the other side of the room from this native american guy who i have seen around for three conferences but never really had much interaction with. during worship i felt like God had a message for him and so i went and shared it with him not knowing that what i was speaking about made any sense at all and thinking he was looking at me kinda weirdly as in ‘what the flip?’, But when i finished he took some time to share with me why he felt that what i had shared with him was from God and how it was really encouraging to him. Those kind of risk moments are great [especially when they work out which they generally tend to] because they are just completely encouraging and life giving to both parties and i look forward to hearing how the words i shared with him come to fruition.

so miracles and God-incidentses and words of knowledge/encouragement… it’s going to take me a lot more faith right now to believe that God doesn’t exist, than to believe and know that He does. how about you? any moments in your life recently where He confirmed His presence and involvement?

 

My husband mike and I decided to start a family at the beginning of last year and so I went off contraception and we started trying. We assumed it would be quick and easy, because we have only heard stories of people falling pregnant quickly – even in the first or second month, and with no complications. And so the first month or two we weren’t worried, we enjoyed the excitement of getting ready to become a family and waiting to see whether or not my period would come. But after six months I started to feel down. I was seeing pregnant women and babies EVERYWHERE, friends who weren’t even sure if they wanted babies yet were falling pregnant, and we were waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I felt more pressure to get it right, more pressure to succeed, but I didn’t know how to do it any better. And so we would try and inevitably fail month after month. I couldn’t understand how God could allow me to struggle with this when he knew how much I wanted to be a mother and how Mike and I longed for a family. I had to do a lot of soul searching (why do I want to be a mother so bad? If I never fall pregnant will I still love God? Do I trust God with the plans for my life?), and often I would spend worship time at church crying, willing myself to believe the words people sang with abandon. God is faithful, He is true, He fulfills his promises, He gives and takes away. For the first time in my life I had to ask myself if I REALLY believed that.

Before this time Mike and I had always talked about adopting, and after a year of trying for a baby the niggles in my brain (what about adoption?) became more persistent. We went to the gynaecologist to see that everything was all right and found out I have polycystic ovaries which means that we are not sure of when my egg is released and it is therefore harder to conceive because we do not know when I’m ovulating. This does not mean I can’t fall pregnant, but it does mean that it can take longer than normal. My gynae then gave us the option; keep trying naturally or go on medication to assist us. What a blow to my self-esteem! You keep thinking “what if I’m the reason we are not falling pregnant?” And then you find out – it is you, there is something wrong with your body. I felt so guilty, felt to blame in some part for the reason why we had ‘wasted’ a year trying for a baby. I had to come to terms with the fact that I could not control a hormonal imbalance in my body, and that it wasn’t my fault. That God loved me through this all, and that this was a blessing in disguise because by knowing what was wrong we could go ahead.

It was at this point that Mike reminded me again of our wish to adopt at some stage in life. We could keep trying and use medication to help, but if we were serious about adoption, why not go ahead with it now? We could try to conceive a sibling at a later stage because we now knew the obstacles we faced. And so, in March this year, we spent a weekend away talking, praying, crying (ok, that was mostly me) and setting aside all our doubts. We asked the questions that had been casting shadows in our minds: What if we don’t love them as much as a biological child? What if nature is stronger than nurture? What if our family or friends don’t support us? What if, what if, what if? But with every fear said in the open, peace descended and we realized that although a little bit of fear is good, we serve a God who can overcome every obstacle and redeem every situation. And so, petrified and excited, we made the decision to adopt.

And since that moment a lightness has fallen over me. I feel that the year of trying that we went through was a journey I had to take to grow in the knowledge of God and in trusting His ultimate plan for me. I believe that if we had adopted last year we would not have been given the baby God has in store for us, for they were not born yet! I believe that the pain I felt has been redeemed with hope, and I understand with a peace that transcends understanding that this is my journey. I am a mother, and my child is on its way. It’s just in someone else’s stomach. And I cannot wait to be a Mom. I absolutely love and adore my child. I don’t know what they look like or where they come from, but I cannot wait to find out who they are and to shower them with kisses and cuddles. And so, after finishing our screening through our adoption agency, we wait. And we get ready to start the next chapter in our lives together – Mom and Dad!

[Jane and Mike Hampton]

[To jump forward two years and hear some words from Jane and Mike since adopting, click here]

this is a long psalm, so may just do it in two parts…

starts off with a very familiar statement: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ [verse 1]
Jesus groaning from the cross… or me, sitting and chatting with my wife on my bed last nite…

i seem to be able to relate to a lot of the groany [whiny?] stuff of this psalm which i appreciate for its raw and rough realness’ity:

‘Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?’ [verse 1]

‘My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.’ [verse 2]


‘All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. let Him deliver him, since He delights in him.” [verse 7-8]

followed by this desperate cry: ‘Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; You lay me in the dust of death.’ [verse 11-15]

i mean, that’s pretty dramatic – you lay me in the dust of death? and yet when everything around you starts looking bleak, that can be how you feel. a sneak peek into tomorrow’s well known psalm reminds us where God is, when we hit the ‘dust of death’ [or even the ‘valley of the shadow of death’] and i guess this psalm does a bit of that as well – God, it feels like you are nowhere near at the moment, but i am going to trust on the experience of the past and my faith in You and who i believe You to be and that will be enough to get me through.

i have been feeling very distant from God [well the feeling always manifests as ‘God is distant from me’, you know] for a long time now and last nite in particular just a whole bunch of stuff hit and i had a really good chat with my wife, tbV, and was able to b’lurgh a lot of it out, and then this morning i received an email from a very random source completely encouraging me for something i had been a part of in her life years ago at some camp i spoke at, and was just completely encouraged by that. huge coincidence, for sure, excepting that those kinds of coincidences just seem to happen every single time i get to that point of just wanting to throw in the towel and run far away [or more honestly probably slap someone in the head with the towel] and it’s like God swooping in to remind me that, “I’m here. I haven’t forgotten you. I certainly haven’t forsaken you.”

and so the reminder of the writer’s past connection to God: ‘Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.’ [verse 9-10]

and a reminder of the writer’s national connection to God: ‘Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the one Israel praises. In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame.’ [verse 3-5]

and lastly, the reminder that the last time that first verse was groaned, well proclaimed, from the cross, in the midst of apparent hopelessness, chaos and confusion, it didn’t turn out so badly…

we serve a faithful God. one who allows us to ask the difficult questions and be hurt and scared and confused when we need to be.

to continue to part ii…

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