Tongues AfireWhen have you recently endured the wound of another person’s words?
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by Lisa Chan
Have you been still before God? Have you come into God’s presence, hushed and subdued, free from distraction and disturbances? Have you come to listen to God?
To be in that quiet place?
Meet Susan. This woman has known loss and redemption. Susan’s story begins with the picture-perfect life. She attends church with her family. She has hobbies. She is raising children. She has a career. She is living life with integrity and faith. Then the bottom falls out. She finds herself standing alone, abandoned by her husband, uprooted by a hurricane with a name. And Susan’s husband did not merely dissolve the relationship. He did not visit his children on the weekends. Susan’s husband packed up his family and sent them far away.
Have you known abandonment? How have you experienced loneliness in your life?
Where was God?
Chaos and loneliness cling to Susan for years. There is no quick fix for this kind of pain. But something begins to change as she faithfully centers her mornings on Jesus. In the eye of this storm, she is slowly finding peace. Mysteriously, in the middle of the solitude and agony of a marital crisis, Susan is anchored. Why mornings? How does this simple discipline change her life? How would it change yours?
In that quiet time you pray and you ask God questions. You share what is going on in your heart. You start reading His Word. You see that God’s Spirit starts to speak to you. And shows you things that you wouldn’t have seen before. When Susan encounters the man who will become her new husband, she knows that … God has ordered her steps:
"I look back and I’m so humbled that God orchestrated that situation for me even though during that time I didn’t see it. I thought to myself, 'Why does everybody get help but me?' and 'Why am I the cursed one?' I realized that God loved me that much to want to walk me through a journey where He’s the only One that I cling on to. That, I think, is the beautiful foundation of where all of us need to be. I don’t think seeking out time alone was intentional for me in the beginning. It was survival. Scripture to me was what I needed to just give me that little glimmer of hope that it would be okay."
But Susan’s life of stillness before God does not end. She continues to meet with the Lord, even today, early in the morning. The storm has passed, but the peace she found in crisis may still be found in the mundane moments of life. Why do we pray in times of desperation? Does God distinguish between the cries of a desperate soul and the sweet whispers of a woman at rest? Should we turn to God when our lives are “under control”?
How does Susan’s story resemble your own life? If Jesus fills the void, why do Christians still feel loneliness? Abandonment? Betrayal?
In the silence, Susan finds truths that carry her through crisis. She meditates upon Philippians 4:4: "I can do all things through him who gives me strength." (v.13)
Where do you turn when you need to hear the truth?
What scriptures speak to you in times of crisis?
Why are those scriptures meaningful to you?