Now I wouldn’t blame you at all if you struggled with the title of this blog. When I was battling endometriosis and extreme fatigue I couldn’t see it either. If your life is in disarray, if you’re facing debilitating pain, or a battle that has you completely overwhelmed, I understand that you can be left wondering where God is in all of it. For most of my life I believed in God but I struggled with my faith particularly as I faced heartbreaking moments such as my miscarriage. As I wrestled with the grief and the pain of losing my child I just couldn’t see how God was good. As I wrestled with extreme pain and scepticism from medical professionals I felt totally imprisoned in hurt and rejection. When I faced months of being trapped in bed due to my illness I was left feeling so distant from God, but when He healed me in September 2016 I discovered the goodness of God. As I journeyed upon deep inner healing and restoration I discovered how God had been at work and I was surprised to realise that He had been there in the moments that I felt utterly abandoned. As I’ve been allowing God to reveal more and more of His goodness to me I was reminded of the story about the prodigal son. I’ve just reread a novel series written by Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock and in the 3rd book, titled Times an Seasons, one of the characters in the book is a 15 year old called Mark, he made a silly choice which left him incarcerated in a youth detention centre. As he wrestles with the consequences of his actions at first he is really angry but as he is supported by family and friends he comes to discover God in a deeply personal way. The story that breaks through his wall of anger and hurt is the story of the prodigal son. I felt a prompting to study the story afresh for myself.
The story is found in Luke 15:11-32 and it is about a father and his two sons. One day the younger son asks for his inheritance and the father lovingly distributes to both of his sons their inheritance. The younger son leaves home to see the world and enters into a life of binging extravagantly and recklessly. Soon he finds that his money has run out and growing hungry he begs a farmer to hire him. It is noted that food is scare because there is a famine in the land and the younger son’s job is to feed the pigs. Now from a cultural point of view caring for pigs would have been a huge challenge for him because Jewish people were forbidden from raising pigs. The younger son find himself doing a job that he would have never ever imagined doing and to add insult to injury he is desperately hungry, he becomes so desperate that he considers eating the pig’s scraps, yuck! In utter desperation and humiliation, the younger son remembers that his father’s servants are well cared for and he wonders if he can go home and beg for a job. The young man decides to make his way home and rehearses his plea: “Father, I was wrong. I have sinned against you. I’ll never be worthy to be called your son. Please, Father, just treat me like one of your employees.” (verse 18 The Passion Translation).
As the son nears home his father sees him dressed as a beggar and great compassion swells up in his heart, he races out to meet him where he sweeps his son up into his arms hugging him and kissing him. Rather than displaying his anger and disappointment the father showers his son in tender love. The son starts to stumble out his plea but his father interrupts saying: “Son, you’re home now!”. The father then turns to his servants and orders them to bring his best robe to place on his son’s shoulders; a ring to place upon his finger to represent his sonship; and to organise a huge feast to celebrate his son’s return. His brother feels angry that a big celebration is being held for his wayward brother, but his father urges him to celebrate saying: “I thought that he was dead but he is alive; he was lost but now he is found; let’s celebrate because he is home safe and sound!”.
It’s a beautiful story of reconciliation and forgiveness. As I reflected upon that story afresh I was also reminded of the roles that the trinity have: Father God wants to instil in us value and identity, to be our fierce protector and faithful provider. Jesus desires to be our constant companion and best friend. The Holy Spirit longs to comfort, teach and nurture us. (Based on the tool: Father Ladder used by the Bethel Transformation prayer ministry titled Sozo).
Let’s unpack that some more:
Wants to instil in us value and identity: Just like the prodigal’s father our heavenly Father longs to be in a loving relationship with us. When we mess up He lovingly runs to pick us up. Through Jesus we enter into a relationship where we become God’s sons and daughters (see Romans 8). As we walk and talk with God by reading His Word (the Bible) we discover who He is and who we are. When I struggle with my identity I always love to read Psalm 139.
Wants to be our fierce protector and faithful provider: As we trust God in every situation we face we discover that He longs to protect and provide. Psalm 91 is a powerful reminder that we are hidden in the strength of God Most High because His massive arms are wrapped around us. His arms of faithfulness are a shield that keeps us from all harm and we do not need to fear a thing! That just sounds way too good to be true right? BUT God’s promises are reliable. God as our faithful provider is a promise that I often cling to when I face difficulties. One particularly rough patch I was reminded that God is Jehovah Jireh – our God who does provide (Genesis 22:14).
In Philippians 4 we read Paul’s letter thanking the Philippians for their faithful support. His letter of thanks becomes a prayer as He asks God to bring them “abundant reward” for the generosity that they have bestowed upon him. He goes on the explain that He truly believes that God can fully satisfy every need they have for Paul has experienced God’s abundant riches of glory which were revealed to him through Jesus Christ! If that is true for the Philippians I believe that it can be true for us. I truly believe that as we give what God calls us to give that He will meet every need that we have. Warning though that this isn’t a meeting of our wish lists or what we think we need but rather what God knows we really need. God can meet our every spiritual and physical need because He is a good Father who faithfully provides.
Jesus desires to be our constant companion and best friend. The thing that I absolutely love about Jesus is that He has walked this earth. He has faced some of the very same difficulties that we have faced. He laid down His life so that we could be His companion so when we ask for His support and companionship He will provide it. We’re promised that He will never fail us or abandon us because we will never be without His support and help (Deuteronomy 31:6,8 and Hebrews 13:5).
The Holy Spirit longs to comfort, teach and nurture us. We read in Acts 9:31 that the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, explaining that there was an end to persecution. Christians enjoyed a time where they were spiritually built up in wisdom, virtue and faith as they lived their lives in the fear of the Lord because they were comforted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. They also enjoyed a season of growing in numbers. This description of the people being comforted by the Holy Spirit reminds me of the promises in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that God is the God of all comfort who comes alongside us to comfort and encourage us in our moments of trouble and suffering; then we are able to comfort and encourage others as they face a painful trial.
We also see how the Holy Spirit is teaching the early church because it is documented that they grew in wisdom, virtue and faith. Jesus promised that this would happen, in John 14:26, because the Holy spirit would be sent to teach us all things and help us to remember every word that Jesus taught. 1 John 2:27 even explains that the Holy Spirit will lead us into discovering the Truth.
I encourage you to Read “Acts 9:31 – The Comfort of the Holy Spirit” for more great teaching around this. Also www.bible.knowing-jesus.com has a collation of Bible verse around the Holy Spirit being out teacher.
Father God I invite You to instil in me my true value and identity which comes from knowing You. Thank You that I can be called a daughter of God (Romans 8).
I ask to walk closely with You Lord and as I read Your Word help me to discover who You are and therefore who I am.
Thank You for being my fierce protector and faithful provider. I long to trust You Father God in every situation I face. Thank You for the promises in Psalm 91, that I’m hidden in the strength of God Most High because His massive arms are wrapped around me. His arms of faithfulness are a shield that keep me from all harm and I do not need to fear a thing!
Thank You for being Jehovah Jireh – my God who provides (Genesis 22:14).
Lord I ask for provision along with wisdom and discernment to faithfully support Kingdom work. Let me be generous trusting that You can fully satisfy every need I have. Let me continually experience God’s abundant riches of glory which are revealed through Jesus Christ! I believe that You can meet every spiritual and physical need I have because You’re a good Father who faithfully provides.
Thank You Lord Jesus for laying down Your life for me. I want You to be my constant companion and best friend. Thank You for the promise that You will never fail me or abandon me because I’ll never be without Your support and help (Deuteronomy 31:6,8 and Hebrews 13:5).
Holy Spirit I invite You to comfort, teach and nurture me. Grow me in wisdom, virtue and faith as I live my life in the fear of the Lord because I’m comforted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31).
Thank You God for being the God of all comfort who comes alongside me to comfort and encourage me in my moments of trouble and suffering; then I’m able to comfort and encourage others as they face a painful trial (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Holy Spirit come and teach me all things and help me to remember every word that Jesus taught, lead me to discover the Truth (1 John 2:27) more and more each and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
I pray that this has encouraged and inspired you to discover God’s goodness. Many blessings, Keona
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