The Power Known by Oaks (Or How to Deal with the News)

I don’t know about you, but my heart has been so heavy the last several weeks.  I’ve had trouble sleeping at night just trying to process all the pain and problems that have been at the forefront of the newscasts.  The crisis in Syria.  Manslaughter caused by a drunk driver.  The Navy Yard shootings.  All of these have directly impacted people that I know personally.  And my heart has been breaking for each of them.  I keep wondering if the world is getting worse or if it’s always been this bad and I’m just now becoming so aware of it as an adult. It’s probably a little bit of both.  I’ve probably compounded my misery by watching a television show set in the 60’s, which as part of the plot, had them in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Way too many parallels.  I woke up one morning after being up much of the night so burdened for the world and thought to myself, “Wow.  We’re still here.  Missiles weren’t launched at us.” Heaviness.  That’s the best way to describe the feeling in the atmosphere lately.  If you’re like me, you’ve been searching for answers.

Today was my first time to attend the women’s Bible study at our church.  I’d been wanting to do a Bible study since we moved here a little over a year ago, but they kept offering studies that I had just completed.  The gathering today was mostly just to get us all acquainted, put some things on the calendar, and worship together.  Honestly, all I’ve read so far is the front cover of our new Bible study book.  We’re going through the study on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer.  The subtitle directly speaks to all of the things that have been keeping me up at night: “Your weakness. God’s strength.”

One of Women’s Ministry Directors said something today that caught my attention, “We don’t want the natural.  We want the SUPER natural.”

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by all of the awful things that surround us…whether they make the headlines or not.  I don’t like feeling powerless, but that’s exactly what I’ve been feeling lately.  I hate it.  I want to do something.  I want to come up with solutions.  But most of the time, little ole me is powerless. I remember feeling the same way when my Dad was dying of cancer.  He was hurting so badly…writhing in pain at times.  I wanted to make it all better. But, I couldn’t.  All I could do was pray and be there for him.  Do you ever feel this way?

Like I said, it’s natural.  It’s natural because God has made us in His image.  We feel like we should be able to help somehow. Perhaps it’s because our Great Help Himself is the one carving us.  We aren’t complete quite yet, though.  We won’t be truly like Him until our feet pass through the pearly gates.  Many of us have the desire to fix things.  But we don’t always have the resources to do that.  The fact is, we are weak.  We can’t do it.  We can’t fix it.  We can’t come up with the solutions to all the world’s problems.  We just can’t.

Yet, the other fact remains that He is strong.  He supersedes the natural order.  That’s why we call Him supernatural.  Oh, how we need Him.  I’ve racked my brain, talked out all sides of the world’s issues on my heart with my husband, searched the internet trying to understand all sides of things, but the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is… Jesus.

I don’t think anyone has been able to come up with an honest method for how to really fix the muddled mess we’re all in.   I mean, in Syria…both sides seem to be evil.  How are you supposed to fix that?  I haven’t envied the President, Senate, Congress, or any other world leaders one bit.  I’d hate to be in their shoes.

All I know is, I need Jesus.  Syria needs Jesus.  President Assaad needs Jesus. The rebels need Jesus.  The Christians being martyred need Jesus. President Obama needs Jesus. President Putin needs Jesus. Congress needs Jesus.  The Senate needs Jesus.  The person who killed my sister’s friend while driving under the influence of alcohol needs Jesus.  The shooter who murdered people at the Navy Yard needed Jesus.  The families and friends of those grieving in all of these situations need Jesus.  We ALL need JESUS.

We need supernatural help in our times of natural and unnatural disasters.  We need supernatural help even when there aren’t disasters. We need hope and help.  We need Jesus because He’s the only one who can help and He’s our only Hope.

While standing to worship today, the lady who had been speaking brought her daughter up.  She said, “Now, my daughter, Jen, is going to do the signs to this song for you all.  This has been very difficult for her to learn, but she wanted to do it.”  As the song began, I glanced down at my phone and noticed that I had received a text from my husband stating that at least two students from our University had lost parents in the Navy Yard shooting.  One of them was his former student’s dad, whom we had just met a few months prior at her graduation party.  It was really hard to join in worship after just reading that.  My heart was breaking for these families.  I looked up on the stage at the young girl, Jen, signing along to the song.  The song was called “Healer.”

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You
I trust in You
I believe You’re my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You’re my Portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

As Jen signed, it dawned on me who she was.  She shouldn’t have been there.  By all the doctors’ accounts, she should have been dead. About 7 or 8 years ago, Jen and her family had left from Sunday evening church to drive home.  They were hit with major impact by a drunk driver.  She and her other family member were each rushed to different hospitals.  She wasn’t expected to make it.  She was in critical condition.  Her life was on the line and she was in a coma for five weeks. I remember her grandfather, one of my professors at the time, breaking down as he recounted the accident to us.  He knew.  He knew what it was like to feel powerless.  To want so badly to fix things and make them all better, yet have no power to do so.  It even manifested itself in his physical appearance through hair loss and other health conditions.  He had no power in his own strength to heal his broken family.

In spite of his lack of power, he and thousands of other believers called on the supernatural power of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit for help, hope, and healing.  God didn’t have to heal Jen and her family in this lifetime.  He could have chosen to heal them by bringing them on home to Heaven like He did with my Dad.  But, in His perfect plan, He chose to mightily demonstrate that NOTHING is impossible.  NOTHING is too hard for Him.  NOTHING is beyond His power.  He woke Jen after a great deal of time with singing- literally. And there she was today, standing tall in front of me and my troubled heart as an ebenezer of God’s faithfulness, help, and hope……a beacon of light just beaming truth to me that Jesus.Is.The.Answer.

He’s the answer for why Iranian-born, U.S. citizen Pastor, Saeed Abedini,  was sentenced to 8 years of prison in the worst of Iranian prison close to a year ago and after being persecuted, abused, and put in solitary confinement twice has still been able to stand strong in his proclamation that Jesus is Lord even though that’s what landed him in jail, AND to lead at least 30 people in prison to Him.  Jesus has given him supernatural strength, courage, and valor to boldly proclaim His gospel whatever the cost.  The supernatural power, peace, grace, and strength of Jesus is the reason his wife and children can say they are proud that their husband and father has chosen Him over them.  The supernatural strength of Jesus is the reason why his wife has been able to address over 100 different nations and thousands of Iranians via television networks, proclaiming His gospel.  Jesus is the answer.

We are so very weak.   So very weak.   But, oh, the supernatural power of Jesus.  For every ounce of weakness we bear, He offers us powerful, supernatural doses of His strength.  We are weak, but He is strong.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10 ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” (Psalm 46:1-3 KJV)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) 

You and I don’t need to search for the answers to fix the world any longer.  The answer is clear: Jesus.  He will fix it all in His time.  He will bring good news to the poor. He will bind what has been broken.  He will liberate those who have been held captive.  He will bring the year of His favor.  He will bring the day of vengeance.  He will comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve. He will bestow a crown of beauty on those who have gone through such mourning and grieving instead of ashes.  He will give them the oil of gladness instead of mourning.  He will give them a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  And to those who recognize His powerful compensations of strength in personal mortal weakness,like precious Jen, He will call them an oak of righteousness…a tall, grandiose monument to His splendor, which is most supernatural.  If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself in Isaiah 61:1-3.

Lord Jesus, we don’t want the natural.  We want the supernatural.  Plant us as oaks of righteousness to display your splendor.   Us weak souls desire nothing less than shelter in your strong tower.  You’re our only answer and our only hope. 

 

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