Saturday, September 9, 2017

STRENGTH + PEACE


The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:10-11



Almost two weeks ago in a Facebook memory, I was reminded that I posted these verses on the same day in 2010. In a time when social media often does more harm than good, I was grateful to be encouraged for a moment rather than enraged. 

The Lord knew I’d need that reminder seven years later to the day... While Hurricane Harvey tore up South Texas. In the aftermath of Charlottesville. As loved ones faced personal struggles and challenges. And right at the start of a new academic year. 

Since then, these verses have popped up in completely different settings. Whenever there’s a recurring theme in my life, I know God has His finger on something in my heart and a lesson for me to learn. So I knew it was time to pause and pray. 

As the Holy Spirit has repeatedly reminded me of Psalm 29:10-11, He's highlighted two specific words: 

STRENGTH + PEACE

It’s been awhile since I've posted in this space. I've struggled to pen my thoughts in this season. And while I'm not sure how to describe 365+ days in a few short paragraphs, strength and peace are a good start. This move to Texas was all God’s doing and He has provided for me in countless ways. However, I also experienced great difficulty in this past year. On more than one occasion, I struggled to keep my head above water, figuratively speaking. Sometimes my prayers seemed more like gasps for air and I often felt as though I was in way over my head with circumstances far outside of my control. But God, enthroned over it all, gave me strength and blessed me with peace. 

Meditating on Psalm 29:10-11 has brought me back to a difficult time many years ago when a friend read these verses out loud to me over the phone. Things had quickly taken a turn then as well. I was a young army bride and had just been sucker punched by the news of betrayal. I called a friend, who was also shocked and broken and immediately spoke God's word over me. Even though my situation worsened in many ways initially and did not end up the way I imagined, God remained on His throne. And though it didn’t feel the way I wanted it to, God was faithful to give me strength and bless me with peace. And it was enough. 

Fast forward through countless ups and downs to the present day. Thousands upon thousands recover from the physical flood waters that rose along the shores of Texas last week. Hurricane Irma tore up the Caribbean and is moments away from landfall in Florida. Fires are roaring in California and the Pacific Northwest. Deep wounds of injustice and racism, cancer diagnoses, broken marriages, nuclear threats from North Korea, the news about DACA. The list goes on and on. Even since that Facebook memory less than two weeks ago, a great deal has changed. There's barely enough time to process one catastrophe before we’re thrown into the whirlwind of new heartbreaking breaking news. 

In times like these, it can be so hard to believe God is still on His throne. One night this week I literally went to sleep reciting these verses. And the next day, while bombarded with thoughts about the latest atrocities, I went back to Psalm 29:10-11 again. Hurricanes, heartbreak, financial struggles, or funerals - suffering is no small matter. Yet God is bigger and is over all. He is not surprised by what shocks us. He placed us where we are at this time in history, with strength and peace available to us. Now, more than ever, we need both. 

Though we’re faced with constant changes, our God will never change. 

I can testify to the goodness of God in that in my overwhelming weakness and anxiety, when I looked above my situation to Him, His strength was made perfect and His peace surpassed my understanding. It didn't look the way I thought it should and panned out much differently than I'd have chosen, but God was still faithful. 

Life is not perfect. Hardships are inevitable. I will get weary again. I will grow anxious again. In fact, it's a current struggle as I consider all that is going on in our world. But I praise God that He is on His throne and His strength and peace is available to us. 

I encourage you to do the same. No matter what kind of storm you find yourself in today, look up to our King who sits enthroned over it all. Whether it’s for the first time or the millionth, His grace and mercy are available when we boldly approach Him there. And He is so faithful to give us strength and bless us with peace.


Praying STRENGTH + PEACE for my family and friends, for our country, and for our world. 





1 comment:

Betty Draper said...

Jennifer, I cannot tell you how many women I have talked to personally that this last year has been almost more then they could bear. If not for the Lord they would say, if not for the Lord. My heart is grieved for those who cannot say those sweet words, "if not for the Lord". God is growing so many women I know through hardships, it almost feels like He is getting us ready for a bigger battle. The world and the devil wants us to stop identifying our self as "women of God", oh how he hates it when we call ourselves by that title. I will continue to pray for you dear sister.