Sunday, January 1, 2012

Think Big

The past week or so has been filled with a lot of ups and downs. My heart has ached after learning about the death of my friend Celena a little over a week ago. Another dear friend got married yesterday and I was overwhelmed with joy. Another friend has been in and out of the hospital multiple times within a few days without answers as to why she is not well. I also experienced blessings in a variety of unexpected ways. More than a few people are praying about major life decisions, including myself...

A lot of big stuff going on. Big good. Big bad. Big difficult. And with the tremendous contrast in good, big and difficult, I’ve felt as though I’ve taken a few extra rides on the emotional rollercoaster. However, despite the extremes, there is an underlying peace and assurance that God is in control. No matter how crazy of a scenario I may find myself or my loved ones in, I know that my God is bigger. I’ve read the promises. I’ve experienced His power in my life. I’ve seen Him show up in mighty ways. Does that make me feel better when tragedy hits or prayers seem unanswered or the bills don’t get paid? Not always. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes I’m annoyed. Emotions all over the place. But that’s when ‘walking by faith’ kicks in. Faith is what it all boils down to. Without faith it’s impossible to please God.

One of the gifts I received for Christmas is a book called Big God by Britt Merrick. I started reading it a few days ago and it didn’t take very many pages for me to realize how timely this gift was. It’s all about what happens when we trust God in the hard times and place our confidence in His power and goodness. The book is full of stories of men and women who put their faith in God in the midst of difficult circumstances and found that God was even bigger than their situations. It’s about clinging to the promises He has given us in His Word.

Though I am not at all clear on what God has planned for 2012, I know that, because He is a big God, I am anticipating greatness and positioning myself for big things. Will there be moments of difficulty in the new year? Absolutely. But in all the difficulties prior, I’ve seen my big God show up so He’s guaranteed to do it again.

The book of Isaiah includes some pretty big stuff. I love the way The Message puts chapter 54...

"Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women." God says so!
"Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! THINK BIG!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You're going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You're going to take over whole nations;
you're going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don't be afraid—you're not going to be embarrassed.
Don't hold back—you're not going to come up short.
You'll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
and then left," says your God.
Your Redeemer God says:
"I left you, but only for a moment.
Now, with enormous compassion, I'm bringing you back.
In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you—
but only for a moment.
It's with lasting love
that I'm tenderly caring for you.

Isaiah 54:1-8 [The Message]

Our God is big.

His love for us is big.

His plans are big.

Think BIG in 2012.


Monique Zackery said...

Hi Jenn, thank you for sharing your heart with us here. You are encouraging many even in the midst of the storms. I'm praying for you today, that God will hug you tight and show you His tangible presence on this Tuesday evening. :)

I love what you shared from Isaiah and that book looks great! I might have to get one. :)

Blessings to you, friend. - Monique

Jennifer Roth said...

Monique, thank you so very much for your words of encouragement. I thank God for you, sister. Blessings to you as well. - Jenn