A long time friend of mine from Redding sends out an e-mail every Monday with a quote. Today’s matched my thoughts from the past few days. His quote was from an unknown person, but it said: Stop telling God you got big problems. Tell your problems you’ve got a big God.
Last Thursday afternoon I came home from meeting with someone feeling totally discouraged. Feeling forgotten. And really feeling like nothing was ever going to change. Ever felt that way? I will admit that I got emotional. I cried on my drive home. I cried as I sat in my car at the parking spot at the house, and I was nearly in tears as I walked into my house as well.
As I walked into my house and sat down on the couch next to my wife she could tell how much I was hurting. In my heart, for whatever reason, for a brief second, I actually questioned myself on whether or not I’d share my continued frustration. I questioned whether it really mattered anymore, and I wondered if it was even worth sharing.
It mattered to her. It mattered that my heart was hurting. It had been over 65 days since I had left my role as one of the pastors at my previous church. So, I shared, once again, my feelings of discouragement, of feeling forgotten, and my fear and wonder over if I was ever going to pastor again. I remember that night I changed my status on Facebook to, “I need a job”.
I said, “Babe, all I have left in my heart right now is love…my faith and my hope is so lacking right now…” (I said this as I stared at the wall of the living room in my house where we have this huge sign that reads: Now these three remain…faith, hope, and love…)
Melanie did an amazing job to encourage me. And Friday morning she wrote me this amazing letter of continued encouragement. Reminding me of why she loves me and how much God loves me. But I couldn’t help but remember my major complaint from the night before…
…as I sat there, sharing all of my toxic feelings towards God, the economy, job hunting or whatever, I shared with my wife something that was so so selfish, something I had never before spoken out loud to anyone, but something I had been dwelling on for a few weeks.
From the pit of my hurting heart came this thought: God, I obeyed You!!! I never questioned Your direction. I did what You asked and followed Your prompting to leave this place of ministry where things are going well and I moved. Without reservation I obeyed You and I followed Your leading in my life and now Lord, here I set, with nothing God – not knowing where I am to go to in ministry next, no place to pastor at – I feel like I am nothing, and that I am not being who You’ve called me to be. I obeyed you Father and I followed You. I stepped out in faith and in obedience and I am still standing here Lord…!!!
As I look back on brutal rant and rave I see how honest my “feelings” where being expressed. And although I was being honest, I was being very dramatic and well, very selfish. In a way, I had lost heart. I felt like I was losing my faith and hope in it all and in Him and I had started to treat ‘my problem’ with the wrong heart.
Friday night Melanie and I went to a church in Rocklin that was having the the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda perform. Little did I know on this Good Friday 2009 that the my Great God was going to begin to treat my heart problem.
The children opened with a few lines, sharing about their suffering in their country and about being orphan’s. Their opening song was “Not Forgotten” and they sang this song with joyous smiles because they truly felt that no matter their problem in life, God had not forgotten them.
As the song opens, three times it says, “I am not forgotten. I am not forgotten. I am not forgotten…God knows my name.” The chorus took my breath away…
Light over darkness
Strength over weakness
Joy over sadness
He knows my name
Father for the fatherless
Friend to the friendless
Hope for the hopeless
HE KNOWS MY NAME
My faith was renewed, and my hope restored. I am not forgotten, for Christ knows my pain/weakness/sadness/hoplessness and, He knows my name. It’s time to stop telling God my problems and it’s time to start telling my problems that I’ve got a big God who knows my name. I know where God has called me to step out, and I will be faithful in my obedience to step out and wait upon the Lord because I have faith in a gracious God who restores my hope and my calling in Him. And so, just like Melanie remind me…I want to remind you…
You are His precious child
You are His workmanship
Jesus has prepared a way for you
You have been called by God
You have been chosen by God before the foundation of the world
You have been adopted by God
Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for you
You are worthy because He has made you worthy
You have been glorified
You have been made righteous
You are loved by the King
You are forgiven
God has GOOD plans for your life
God promises that all things in your life will work together for good
You are co-heirs with Jesus Christ…..God’s own Son!!!
God desires to bless you with good things
You have been gifted by God and have been equipped by God to do good things for His Kingdom
I want you to remember those truths too. We all are precious to Him. He knows us all by name and no one is beyond the reach of God, and no one has God ever forgotten. You may feel that way at times, or maybe you have felt that way for years, but the truth is that God does want all to know that He has called us and that He is faithful to love us like no other person can and it took my loving wife and some amazing kids from Uganda to remind me of the Lord’s powerful, life-changing truth.