The Rose in the Manure

There is so much going on in the world today that stinks.

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There is a contagious disease that has been hyped into a world-wide panic by the media.

There is a political polarization within the United States that has been exacerbated by the media and one of the political parties to the extent that this country is as divided as it was during the mid-1800s when the argument about slavery tore us apart.

There is continual racial animosity that has (again) been so exacerbated by the media that it has caused nation-wide rioting, looting, and deaths.

Antisemitism is on the rise (again) and we have three Congresswomen who no one can understand how they got elected: two hate America and democracy and the third has demonstrated such a fierce lack of understanding about the economy, government or history that she has become an embarrassment to her own party.

And our economy is in the toilet as a result of the over-reaction to the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Folks, if ever this country was in the middle of a pile of you-know-what, it certainly is now!

Yet, in the midst of all this tsouris, we see there are still people coming together in peaceful protest; we see people freely giving food and other supplies to those who are economically in trouble; we see churches and synagogues that have been told by the government to close their doors using the Internet to stay in touch with their congregations and to continue to spread God’s message.

In the midst of the manure in which this country is immersed, there is a rose growing. Because of what it is surrounded by, we can’t smell it right now, but we know that it smells nice and we can trust that as soon as the manure dries up and dissipates, we will be able to smell that sweet scent of the rose.

Often our lives seem to be completely out of control, and we are suffering from troubles that overwhelm our senses. It becomes hard to maintain faith and remember that God is still in charge, and sometimes we even wonder if God is punishing us. We can become unsure of ourselves and doubt that things will ever get better.

But, somehow, they always do get better, and that is because God IS in charge, and even if he is punishing you, he will also help you to get back on your feet so long as you maintain your faith and believe that he is doing all this for your good.

In this life, there are animals that defecate on the roses, but that doesn’t stop the rose. No, in fact, when a rose is defecated on, it uses that manure to grow. It ignores the stink and finds the nutrients that will make it even stronger so that when the manure is gone, the rose will continue even more beautiful and aromatic than before.

That is what we must do, now and anytime our lives are drowning in drek. The gold won’t be purified until it goes through the fire, and when God allows the fire to consume us, it is up to us to accept the heat, remember that it won’t last too long, and patiently continue to faithfully trust in God to make it all right at the end. And, when we come through it, we will be stronger and able to handle even more stress than before.

Now here is the part no one wants to hear: after you go through the fire, there will be a next one and that one will be even hotter!

But don’t let that cause you worry or concern because you have history to look back on and to give you confidence.  Hey! You have been through this before; it was hotter last time than the time before that and you are even better now, so the hotter the fire, the better you will be.

So c’mon, world: bring it on!! I’m ready to take whatever the world throws at me; I know I can get through it because greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). 

Let me finish today with this: I hate watching commercials that insult my intelligence; it drives me crazy to see people driving alone in their cars with the windows closed and wearing a face mask; I am really upset that so many small businesses are closing and people suffering because of the media hype over a disease that kills less than 2% of the total population; and it kills me, especially as a former active duty Marine, to watch this country being torn apart at the seams because our leaders are so obsessed with destroying each other that they are taking the country down with them.

And on top of all this, there is brutality in the streets with people looting, rioting, and killing others all in the name of fair treatment. What a lie!!

I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated I am that I can’t do anything about it.

So, nu? What are we to do?

We should wait patiently on the Lord and maintain our faithful trust that he will see us through this, or (if you ask me, better still) he will continue to allow it as part of the final days when the world will be judged and the Messiah will return to bring lasting peace.

That’s how I deal with all this tsouris in the world: I wait on the Lord and look for the rose in the middle of all this manure, knowing that soon I will be able to enjoy its wonderful scent again.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages to help this ministry grow, and don’t forget to check out my website and my books.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah Miketz 2019 (At the end) Genesis 41 – 44:17

Joseph is still in jail after the Cupbearer was restored to his position, yet forgot to mention Joseph to the Pharaoh, as he had promised to do.

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Two years pass and Pharaoh has a dream, the dream of the 7 healthy and 7 sickly cows, followed by the second dream of the 7 healthy and 7 sickly ears of corn. No one in his kingdom, none of the Soothsayers or magicians, can interpret these dreams. Now, the Cupbearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh, who summons Joseph.

Joseph interprets the dreams and tells Pharaoh to appoint a wise man to store grain during the years of plenty. Of course, who else could do this but Joseph (maybe that’s why he suggested it to Pharaoh?), so Pharaoh appoints Joseph as second in charge of all Egypt. No one except Pharaoh is above Joseph throughout the land. He also renames Joseph with an Egyptian name (my Chumash suggests that being given a new name, which was standard in those days to do when someone was promoted in status, may have helped hide his identity from his brothers.)

Joseph is given a wife who bears him two sons, the first one named Manasseh, which means “making to forget”, for Joseph says (Genesis 41:51) “…for God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.”  In other words, the blessings that God provided to Joseph overtook the tsouris, injustice, and pain he suffered for years.

After the years of plenty the famine starts, and Jacob sends all his sons to Egypt, except Benjamin, to buy grain. Joseph immediately recognizes them, but they have no idea who this Egyptian in charge of the food supply is. Joseph accuses them of being spies and puts them all in jail. After three days he tells them he will keep one as a hostage, and if they bring the missing brother back to him he will believe they aren’t spies. Otherwise, they will never be allowed in the land, again. He takes Simeon as a hostage until they return with their youngest brother to prove they aren’t spies. In the meantime, he returns their money in their sacks and when they are almost home they realize this. They are frightened when they see this, thinking Joseph will assume they stole their money back. They return Simeon-less to their father and say they must bring Benjamin with them to get Simeon released and to buy more grain. Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go, and only after Judah promises to take full responsibility for Benjamin’s safety and tells Jacob that if they don’t take him they will all starve to death.  Jacob relents and allows Benjamin to go back to Egypt with the brothers. This is where today’s parashah ends.

We all go through painful times in our lives, we all suffer some form of injustice, and we all receive blessings from God. Too often we concentrate on the painful things and ignore the blessings, causing us to not be as thankful to God as we should be.

Joseph suffered the worst kinds of emotional pain: his brothers hated him and tried to kill him, he was sold into slavery, he was wrongly accused of a heinous crime, his boss unjustly threw him in jail, and the man Joseph helped while in jail forgot his promise to return the favor.  Yet throughout all this, Joseph remained faithful and eventually, he was lifted up from being a slave in jail to being the second most powerful man in all of Egypt.

Now his brothers come before him and they need his help to survive. What does Joseph do? He throws them in jail! But this is important to know: he doesn’t throw them in jail as punishment or revenge, and he does so at his own personal, emotional pain. We know it causes him pain because we are told that Joseph cries when he does this. And we know he doesn’t do it as revenge because, as we were told earlier, with the birth of Manasseh Joseph has forgotten (or we could also say forgiven) his brother’s cruelty to him. The reason he threw them in jail, we later learn, is to test their loyalty to Jacob and to see if they have changed their attitude of jealousy to one of brotherly love.

We all suffer pain in our lives, both emotional and physical, and that pain never leaves until we forgive the ones that caused it. That sounds nearly impossible to do, but the only way to be rid of the pain is through forgiveness. Joseph was able to rid himself of his pain through forgiveness, and the motivation for his forgiveness was the blessings God gave to him. He was given authority and power, he was given a wife, two sons, and a boss that held him in the highest esteem. These blessings came as a result of his faithfulness and patience (two of the fruits of the spirit Shaul tells us about in Galatians), and what is most important for us to remember is that he recognized these blessings and was thankful for them, despite all the pain and suffering he underwent.

People have a tendency to dwell on the bad things and ignore the good, but what we, as faithful and trusting Believers, need to do is the opposite: we need to look to the future, to trust in God that these tough times will be replaced by times of plenty and rest, and stay the course, so to speak, until we receive those blessings. This is what Joseph did, and we can see how well it worked out for him.

Forgive those who have wronged and pained you. It isn’t easy, I know, but we MUST forgive. It is what God wants from us more than most anything else, and if you don’t think I am correct in saying that, read Matthew 6:14-15.

Let me share with you the two ways in which I have learned to make forgiving someone possible: First, I remind myself that the one who hurt me must be in terrible pain because people aren’t mean and thoughtless by nature. The mean people in the world have to have suffered much pain themselves, and whatever they did to me is probably less painful than what they have gone through. When I consider the pain they must be in, I can actually feel for them, and as such I know they need the love of God more than most, and that is why I can pray for them and mean it.

The second way I help myself to forgive someone is to think of all the blessings that God has given me, and how I have him to turn to whereas the one who wronged me probably has no one to turn to but him (or her) self. I have God on my side, and they have no one but themselves, so who really is worse off? Who really needs to be prayed for?

One other motivation for me to try to forgive someone is, as I mentioned above, Matthew 6:14-15. If you aren’t sure what that says, I sincerely recommend you read it, now.

Joseph is a wonderful example to us of how remaining patient, faithful and trusting in God to know what to do and when to do it will result in blessings that far outweigh the suffering we go through while waiting for him to act.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share me out to everyone you know, and if you like what you hear then you will like my books, which you can order directly from my website.

Until next time, Shabbat shalom and Baruch HaShem!

Being in Control Doesn’t Mean You’re Controlling Everything

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How often do we proclaim that God is in control?

How many times (you don’t really have to count) does the Bible tell us that God is in control?

Yet, it seems that too many times we see things happening in the world that would indicate God is not in control. We see good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good ones.  We see mass murders, crimes go unpunished, people in positions of authority abuse that authority and no one does anything about it.

The writer of the Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) asked about these things as well, and his conclusion was that nothing really matters- all our efforts are as useless as chasing the wind. His final statement is that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

With all due respect to the writer of Kohelet, I have the answer to why it seems God is not in control:

Being in Control Doesn’t Mean You’re Controlling Everything

I was in the business world for some 40 plus years and most of that time was in control of something: my own office, a department, a number of different departments, and anywhere from 12 to over 350 people at one time or another. And what I learned from that is when you are the one in charge, to develop your people and give them the skills and understanding that they need to improve themselves, you sometimes have to leave them in control and let them screw up on their own.

Of course, you don’t let them screw up anything really important, or anything that would cause harm to themselves or others, but just let them have their way with the little things and give them the chance to swim, or sink.

And always be there to fish them out if they need you to.

With God and humanity, it is the same. God is in control of everything- there is nothing he cannot do or make happen. But just because he can make anything happen doesn’t mean he will make anything happen. He will often leave us to our own devices to allow us to learn the important lessons we need to learn.

What are those lessons? Well, for one, we need to learn to depend on God and not on our own strength. What better way to do that then leave us alone to totally mess things up to the point where we have to call on him for help?

Another lesson we need to learn is patience, as in waiting on God for justice. What better way to do that than to allow evil to propagate and let us see it happen?

I like to say, “Proverbs 20:22 tells us, ‘Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.‘, and sometimes God actually let’s us see that happen.”

One of the most important lessons we need to learn is about forgiveness. How can we learn that unless someone hurts us?

God is unquestionably able to control everything that happens everywhere, but he doesn’t. He controls everything by not controlling everything and allowing us to control those things that will lead us to better understand God, his ways and our role in his plan of salvation.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by those that argue because of all the evil and wrong done in the world God doesn’t exist because if he did, he would not allow it. They just don’t understand how it works. They are trying to box God into their own understanding and desires and that will never work. God is so far above us that we cannot even imagine or ever understand his ways, and we shouldn’t be able to.

I once read that a God who can be understood by the mind of Man is not worthy of the worship of Man. I totally agree.

I am not all that upset when I see the evil that is being done in the world, but it is not because I like or condone it. Just like you, I would love to see evil excised from our lives but it ain’t gonna happen until God is ready to take out his righteous vengeance on the nations.  My response to evil is not apathy, but trusting confidence that God will render justice when he is ready, and that his justice will be perfect.

I know that God will let me control whatever things he puts in my power to control, and as long as I try to let God lead me I know he is there waiting to catch me if (and when) I mess up.

 

Apathy or Patience?

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In many of my messages I mention that I do not read the newspapers or listen to the news on TV. Nor do I pay much attention to who is in Washington or what they are doing.

Consequently, I have sometimes been accused of being apathetic. Frankly, if someone thinks I don’t care…they are right: I don’t care what they think.

I do care about what is happening in the world, and there are times I could just SCREAM!! at the many people who follow the crowd running from one extreme to another, like a pendulum that is swinging from one apogee to another.

And when I see this happening, as with the recent gun control issues and the constant badgering of the Presidents (both present and past), I think of the many verses in the bible that tell us how we must wait on the Lord. You may ask, “Wait for what?” and my answer would be….justice. I don’t believe we will receive an answer to the problems we face, but eventually, in God’s good time, there will be justice served on the ones who are the cause of the problems.

When David’s own son rebelled against him, David accepted the situation and waiting for God to make the decision about what would happen. Let’s look at some of the things David said during this terrible time in his life:

2 Samuel 15:25, when they were taking the Ark with the king as he fled Yerushalayim:  “Then the king said to Tzadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again.  But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”

2 Samuel 16:11-12, when David was being cursed at by a member of Shaul’s family: “Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.  It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

 

I could list many, many examples here of the bible telling us to wait upon the Lord, which is the same as saying have hope that God will make everything right (in the end.) So I ask you: am I really apathetic because I do not care that much who is in charge or what the maddened crowds are screaming about, or am I patiently waiting for God to act as he sees fit?

My answer to you is that I am trusting in God to make things right in the end. I don’t care that much for the news, which is always sad, designed to evoke emotions of fright and concern, and is untrustworthy. I don’t care who the President is, why or how he or she got there, and what they want to do. The United States government is not a race horse, and the worst thing that any President has done is to leave behind the programs he wanted to get done for the next President to sort out.

No…I am not apathetic, I am faithful. Faithfully waiting on the Lord to make things right; faithfully hoping in God that I will be rescued from the tsouris we are all experiencing in the world, and faithfully looking forward to the day when I will be in his presence.

I respect those who are advocates and trying to make a change for the better, and do not deny their tremendous value in our society.

I just ain’t one of ’em.

Why It’s So hard To Remain Faithful: Part 2 of 2

The first reason I gave why maintaining our faith is so difficult (Nov 9, 2015 post) was because we live in a disposable world.

This second reason is similar: we want immediate gratification.  I know that all good things come to those who wait, but I  don’t want to wait. I want it all, and I want it NOW NOW NOW!!!

We are very much like the nasty little Verucha Salt in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (personally, I preferred the “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” movie with Gene Wilder.) She was the little selfish brat who wanted everything and she wanted it all now. It was all given to her, and as such, it didn’t seem that anything she received had any real value for her.

Faith is something that takes time to develop. It needs to be nurtured, supported, and practiced. Definitely needs to be practiced! Faith is the belief in things unseen.  I believe the greatest way to strengthen our faith is to have our prayers answered. What better proof of God’s existence and willingness to help us? But…we need to be patient for our prayers to be answered.

God’s covenant with Abraham was when Abraham was 75, and it took another 85 years before he saw his descendants in the land (his son Isaac was born when he was 100 and his descendants/grandchildren, Jacob and Esau, were born when he was 160.)

Not exactly what one would designate as immediately gratifying.

We need to be patient (hopefully not as patient as Abraham had to be) when we ask for answers to prayer, and when we begin to faithfully obey the Lord.  Patience is one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and it helps us to develop spiritual maturity, too.

But the world doesn’t want patience, or maturity, and especially not anything spiritual (unless it is demonic- that’s all the rage today.) The world says we should have it now, and when we don’t get it to blame God, and to blame those who tell us to wait on God. God isn’t real, God doesn’t care, God’s promises are false- that is what the world wants you to believe. In fact, it wants you to reject God and the idea of God altogether. It’s all about me, Numero Uno, I am my own Messiah, yadda-yadda-yadda.

That’s so much fertilizer you could grow crops to feed a small nation with it.

God exists, and He will answer your prayers so long as you present them faithfully and honestly. What we ask for in Yeshua’s (Jesus) name we will receive, and when we pray in His name we are to faithfully believe it will be ours; when we do, it is ours already. Daniel prayed but it took three weeks before the angel appeared to Daniel because of the interference of the enemy. Daniel was patiently praying, even though the answer was on it’s way the moment Daniel asked for it.

The human sense of timing isn’t always trustworthy (said the man with many children) and we need to trust in God to know the best time for things to happen. I have been praying for reconciliation with my children for over two years since they threw me out of their lives, and I continue to pray. I only hope that God will answer me before I die, and I also know that even if this prayer is never fulfilled, it is not God’s fault. I trust faithfully that God is providing the angels and people to talk to my children, but it is, ultimately, up to each and every one of us to make our own decision about God, and life. So, despite how many times I know God is providing the opportunity for my children to let go of their hatred and unforgiveness, it is their choice to do so, or not to do so.

That’s a hard lesson for all of us to learn- people make their own choices and we can’t force them to do what we think they should. And what makes it even harder: they have the right to make their own choices. 

We choose life (Torah observance) or we choose death (purposefully ignoring Torah and choosing a sinful life.) How many times in the bible do we hear God ask us to choose life? Dozens of times.

Just because your prayers aren’t answered right away doesn’t mean the answer isn’t already on it’s way, or already approved but the time to deliver it isn’t right yet. We don’t know when we will receive the answer to prayer or what it will be until we get it, but we can be sure it will be answered. Even if the answer is “No.”

The world and the enemy (not much difference) want us to seek immediate gratification, and if something can’t be gotten here and now it’s best to forget about it, it isn’t worthwhile, and to go for something easier, cheaper, and more immediate.

God is worth waiting for; salvation is worth waiting for; God’s existence should not be based on how quickly a prayer is answered but on the fact that so many others have had their prayers answered. He exists, He is,He always has been and He always will be. When you are a spiritual being with no lineal timeline to live by (as we humans do), then everything is immediate.

That’s the ticket! You want immediate gratification? Isn’t immediate gratification when there is no waiting for anything? When now, later, back then, soon, past, future, present…all occur at the same instant, isn’t that the ultimate form of immediate gratification? Well, you can have that! In the Acharit HaYamim (End Days), after Yeshua does away with the enemy and we are all in our resurrected bodies and the new heaven and new earth are established, time will no longer exist. That’s when everything will be now; there will be no past, no future, everything will be right this very second!

You just have to wait for it.

Bruck’s 3 Rules of Prayer

Everyone has rules, and I have my own rules for prayer.

Rule #1: God always hears your prayers.

There are places in the Bible where God says He will not hear us. For instance:

1 Samuel 8:18 (And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. KJV);

Isaiah 1:15 (When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. NIV);

Jeremiah 7:16 (So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. NIV)

But does this mean God doesn’t hear your prayers? I don’t think that is what He means- He always hears us, He is just not listening, as in paying attention.

He always hears us, but when we have rejected Him and have sinned so often and so purposefully that we have thrown a wedge between us and God, He will have no option but to ignore our pleas. Think of it this way- we are calling to Him, He hears us but holds up His mighty right arm to our face and says, “Speaketh thou to the hand!”

God always, always, always hears our prayers, but how he acts is His choice. Which brings us to the second rule.

Rule #2: God always answers your prayers.

And sometimes that answer is, “No.”  As above, God hears you, alright, but decides to answer with silence. Or maybe He will just say, “Nope! Ain’t gonna happen.” And at other times His answer will be “You got it, babe!” and that answer will be wonderful, confirming, and blissfully full of blessings. Or it may be something totally unexpected, which leads to the last rule of prayer.

Rule #3: The answer usually isn’t what you expect or when you expect it, but it will always be just what you need and just when you need it.

God knows what we need better than we do, better than we can, and better than we ever will. And because He is a loving and compassionate Father, Judge and Savior , He will provide not what we want (which is usually not good for us) but what we need. And whereas our timing is usually lousy, God’s timing is always perfect because He knows what will happen and when it will happen, so He can make things occur just when they should. We won’t always get what we want, and we rarely will get it when we want it, but we will have a much better batting average if we learn to pray more in line with God’s plan for us. Look at the prayers of Abraham, Moshe, the Prophets, Yeshua’s prayers and those of His Disciples: their prayers were answered not only when they were asked, but often exactly as they requested. That’s because they were praying for something that was within God’s plan. And yet, there were other prayers which were not answered as requested. Take Shaul as an example, in 2nd Corinthians 12:7:

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Here is one good reason for us to expect God to decide what He will answer and when: God, and God alone, knows the best time to do something and the best time not to do anything, because it is all about Him. Shaul’s prayer was for himself, but God turned it into something that gave the glory where it belonged- to God.

God always hears, God always answers, and the answer is rarely what you expect or when you expect it. But it is always perfectly suited to help you and to glorify God. So, keep praying. Just because you don’t get the answer you want or expect doesn’t mean He didn’t answer you. It may be ,”Yes, but not yet”; it may be, “No. Now stop bothering me.”; and it may be, “As you request, it shall be done.”  And when we pray in Yeshua’s name we will receive what we ask for, SO LONG AS what we ask for is in God’s will and glorifies God. If you pray in Yeshua’s name to win the lottery, don’t be disappointed if you don’t, and don’t blame God. Winning the lottery isn’t what God is about. However, if you pray for salvation for yourself or someone else, God will listen, and He will answer.

I pray every day for the salvation and reconciliation of my children with God, and Donna and I, and that we will be a family centered on God. I know that God will answer my prayer by giving my children every possible opportunity to come to Him, but in the end, it is their choice. God will not force someone to ask for salvation. I pray in Yeshua’s name for the salvation of my wife and children, but they have to choose it. God will answer me, I faithfully trust that He will send angels of mercy to them, that He will make sure they have every opportunity to recognize Him, His work in their lives, and that He will protect them from evil, both physical and spiritual. And I know that He hears and He is answering this very moment, but since they have to choose, if they never come to salvation it is not because God didn’t hear and answer my prayer.

Make your prayers “God-worthy” by keeping them in line with God’s plan for you, as best as you understand what it is. And keep praying- you never know what the answer may be or when the answer will come, but if you pay as close attention to what God is doing in your life as you want Him to pay attention to your prayer, I believe that you will, eventually, see the answer.

Whatever it is.

Disappointment is a Blessing

I was hoping to get a video of a Space Center launch this morning. I was standing in my backyard, bare-footed in the wet grass, camera set to video, heart racing, all ready to get a video of the rocket going right over the house (which is the pathway it usually takes) so I could post it and make everyone back up North say, “Wow! That’s really cool!”

So, there I was…standing…waiting….standing some more….still waiting….waiting…..waiting….

Nada! Nichts! Nuttin, Honey!

As disappointment began to set in, I realized that this is not unusual- they have scrapped launches before, and even though the sky overhead is nearly cloudless, at the KSC (Kennedy Space Center) it could be storming wildly. That’s how it is, here, in Florida.

Then I thought that life is a series of disappointments: in ourselves, in our family, our children, parents, friends, our religious leaders, Presidents (oh, really?), and pretty much in everyone at one time or another.

The one who we know will never disappoint us is God, right? Well, maybe not. We know God loves us and answers prayer, but sometimes He will allow us to suffer (mostly because we have done something we shouldn’t have done) and sometimes His answer to our prayers is, “Nope! Not gonna happen.” And sometimes it seems like He has taken a holiday and turned off the cell phone. We call to Him, we ask His help, we cry out to the Lord and all we get is voice mail.

Jonah was disappointed in God when he didn’t destroy Nineveh. Elijah was disappointed after he showed God’s awesomeness at Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18) and then cried to God that he wanted to die because he was the only prophet left (he wasn’t, in case you are wondering), Moshe wasn’t too happy when Pharaoh ordered the Jews to make bricks without straw after Moshe asked for their freedom, and I’ll bet that you’ve had some time, or times, in your life when you have felt a little less than happy with what God was allowing in your life.

I know I have.

The thing to remember during these down times is that once we are down we have no where left to go but up, and God is always there. We may not hear or feel Him, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t there. We don’t see the sun at night, but it’s still there. In fact, the moon is evidence of the sun’s presence, because it reflects the light the sun gives off. We don’t see the sun, but we do see the evidence of it’s presence.

That’s what we need to do when we don’t see God in our life: we need to look for the evidence of His presence. Even if we don’t feel Him, we can always see His effect on others, we can see Him working in the lives of people all around us, and we can take hope and comfort in knowing that, although it is disappointing to feel left out (for the moment), God is still alive and well and kicking.

The enemy loves to see us disappointed, sad, feeling lonely, and harboring feelings of defeat. God gives us a spirit of victory, not defeat, and every victor has suffered defeat. We don’t learn from our victories, we learn from our defeats. We don’t appreciate the good times unless we have suffered through bad times.

We can’t appreciate the love of God before we know Him. When I was unsaved I didn’t know God’s love or appreciate anything He had done in my life. I was blessed with many talents and opportunities, and I never even knew what wonderful things He had done for me. After I knew the Lord, after I accepted His grace and His spirit filled me, well, then I realized how wonderful it all has been. Even the bad times. Now I can really appreciate the Lord for all He has provided and is providing, and I thank Him, every day.

Disappointments are necessary things in life. In fact, without disappointment there can not be a fullness of joy, there can not be a true feeling of appreciation, and there can not be progress. Always winning is not winning- it is stagnation and unrewarding. There is, if nothing else in this world, a sense of balance that was divinely built into our existence. Shaul (that nice Jewish tent maker from Tarsus) tells us that before the Torah was given, there was no sin; in fact, he says the Torah created sin (Romans 7:7) and in his own way (convoluted would be the term I respectfully use for Shaul’s manner of writing) Shaul (if you haven’t figured it out yet I am talking about Paul) shows us that the Torah is still valid and necessary because we haven’t fully come under Yeshua’s rule. Not until all things have come to pass will anything in the Torah be changed or invalidated (Matthew 5:17.)

Disappointment offers you two options in how you can react: one is to wallow in sadness and self-pity, which eventually will help the enemy separate you from God, and the other is to accept this as an opportunity for joy, comfort and hope when you remind yourself this is only a temporary situation. God will never let those who worship Him go long without what they need, and he is more than able to provide all you need, shaken, pressed down and overflowing.

Just keep running the good race, keep you eyes on the prize, don’t look back, don’t worry about what anyone else has, and stay focused on your walk with God.

God is always there, He is never sleeping or slumbering, and he is always able to help. Just reach out, and be patient.

He is a busy guy, so give Him some slack and wait for your turn. I can guarantee it is coming.

 

PS: The launch did go off and the trail over the house was spectacular! Only by the time I saw it the rocket had passed by and was over the horizon, and all I had left to photograph was the cloud trail left behind. Another disappointment. Oh well, SWISH!!  (search for ‘swish’ if you didn’t read that blog post)