Where HE Leads

Hello? Are you there?

  I have, what I am told, is a very annoying habit. When I call someone and they do not answer the phone, I will call continuously, every minute, until they answer. My friends and family are used to this, and seem to know that it is better -if they are able -to just answer on the first ring, 'cause I am not giving up until I talk to them.  Everyone, that is, except for my 13 year old daughter. We gave our oldest daughter her own cell phone when she turned 13 and started attending a sister church, with an awesome youth ministry,  on Wednesday nights. Our own church of about 40-60 had no other youth or a youth leader. I am one of those parents who do not like to be away from the kids because I am what is known as a worry wart. She texts me when she gets into the car with her ride, she texts me again when they get to where ever they are eating dinner, and she usually "forgets" to check in about the time she is surrounded by 20 or so other teens that think it is really lame to text your mom every half hour. And so the phone calls begin, I call & I get her voice mail- on a side note her voice mail is super annoying because it makes you THINK she has answered the phone. "Hello?........... just kidding, I am busy and will call you back later."
I call, I call, I CALL!!!! No answer... That is when the fear and anxiety and worst case scenario thoughts start.

I have been experiencing a similar situation in my spiritual life. For the last several months I have not had the same close, intimate feeling in my relationship with God. I pray, I read my Bible, I CALL!!!!! .... no answer. The first year after I accepted Christ and dedicated my life to Him, I was on such a high, I felt so in sync, like I KNEW exactly what God wanted of me, what He was trying to tell me, I felt His presence. 

My pastor has assured me that this is actually a normal part of a Christians life, and that God has not abandoned me, but that doesn't stop that fear, anxiety and worst case scenario thoughts from flooding my mind. I have tried to accept this dry spell as an opportunity to strengthen my faith, and maybe that is exactly the purpose God has in mind for this season of my life.

 I have recently discovered that I have a bit of a "faith problem" ( for more on this see page "I have a FEAR problem") I have been reading Psalms with the rest of the praise team at my church, and I can relate to so many of the ones where David seems to be pleading for God to answer him... begging really.
Psalm 4:
       Answer me when I call to you,

       O my righteous God.

           Give me relief from my distress;
       be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 5:
       Give ear to my words, O LORD,

       consider my sighing.  
       2 Listen to my cry for help,

       my King and my God,
       for to you I pray. 
       3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;

       in the morning I lay my requests before you
       and wait in expectation.

Psalm 2:
       My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

       Why are you so far from saving me,
       so far from the words of my groaning? 
       2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,

       by night, and am not silent.

I totally get it.... the writer felt much the same as I do, alone... unheard.... the good news is that it didn't last forever. And I believe that after enduring a time of feeling distanced from God, it only drew David closer, and I pray that it will draw me closer as well. Does that make it any easier??? Not really. Do I feel like I am making any progress??? Not so much. But I know that my God is faithful, and He loves me, and He hasn't brought me this far in my relationship with Him, just to leave me in this quiet time for no reason. He has a plan, and as Jeremiah reminds me,  His plans are to prosper me, not harm me. So for whatever reason I am going through this, I know it will be for my good, and His glory.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the treasures that are available to me when I search for you in your Word. Thank you for the pages upon pages of instructions you breathed for me. Thank you for allowing me to understand the messages that are still alive and relevant after 2,000 years. You are so good to me. Forgive me for feeling so alone and abandoned over the last several months, I realize that you never left me, that I became complacent and lazy. Lord your scriptures tell me that I need to listen to your word with more than just my ears. The reason I didn't feel your presence was because I had stopped applying your words, and started just listening with the dull ears of this world. I don't ever want to take your Word for granted again. Renew me Father, help me to always look to you.

Matthew 13:11-15 (New Living Translation) 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,
   For they look, but they don’t really see.
      They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
   ‘When you hear what I say,
      you will not understand.
   When you see what I do,
      you will not comprehend.
   15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
      and their ears cannot hear,
   and they have closed their eyes—
      so their eyes cannot see,
   and their ears cannot hear,
      and their hearts cannot understand,
   and they cannot turn to me
      and let me heal them.