When You Can No Longer Envision the Promise

 

He is able

One night last week, as my husband and I were unloading our sleeping kids from the car, I looked up to see a completely clear sky. I’ve been studying the Old Testament for an upcoming speaking engagement, and so as soon as I saw those twinkling lights above me, I thought about a moment where God gives us a beautiful picture of promise.

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

-Genesis 15:5

When I looked up at the sky on that clear night last week, I was in awe of what I saw. But, I was much more overwhelmed at what I couldn’t see. Do you know that as of April 1, 2014 Hubble revealed an estimation of 100 billion galaxies, and then predicted that number would increase as technology improves?  And guess what? According to the Atlantic Daily, as of October 2016, that number now stands at 2 trillion.  Look at the following quote from Atlantic Daily writer Marina Koren on October 14, 2016: “There’s only one way to count galaxies with existing technology: Point a telescope at a small chunk of sky, tally up the number you see, and then extrapolate that across the whole sky. But when the Nottingham researchers examined the masses of the galaxies in those patches of sky, they realized there must be missing galaxies that are ‘too faint and too far away’ to be imaged by modern technology, even the most powerful telescopes in the world.”

I can’t help but imagine myself being there on that very night God took Abram (Soon to be renamed Abraham) outside and showed him the stars. It appears to me that Abram probably gazed up at that sky and took it at face value. He was probably overcome by the great number of glowing stars above him mingled with the promise God made for his life. I’m not sure Abram ever thought about the stars he couldn’t see. How could he have known the great expanse of the universe? We look at stars in the year 2017 with all modern technology has to offer, and still, we cannot see everything there is in space.

I recently read there are 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Let me repeat that: In the Milky Way galaxy, one galaxy out of what now appears to be 2 trillion, there are 100 thousand million stars. Honestly, I didn’t even know that was a real number! Friend, I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around that number, and yet we serve a God who made a numeric promise based on the number of stars He created. And our God knows exactly how many there are. In fact, He even named each one. (See Psalm 147:4) He told Abram, “Look toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” He knew Abram couldn’t number them, and that is the whole point.

We serve a God who has spoken promises so great that it is beyond our human vision and comprehension to see the fullness of them. There is so much more for each life than we can begin to know. I need to say this to you today:

GOD IS ABLE!
GOD IS ABLE!
GOD IS ABLE!

The creator of the universe is God of the impossible, and there is more to His Word than we will ever grasp.

After Abram looked up at the sky on that clear night so long ago, he modeled something for each of us.

“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

-Genesis 15:6

Up to this point, Abram didn’t have one child. Not one.  And, yet, he was promised descendants matching the number of stars. Abraham made a choice to believe the promise, and because he believed, God counted him righteous.

Today, I want you to believe in a God who sees everything, not just what is within the line of human vision. I want you to believe there is power in His promises, and that He has promises for you. No matter what you see or how you feel, it does not change the power of God’s promises or the depth to which they reach.  This weekend, if you’re have difficulty holding tightly to a promise He’s made, walk outside and look up. Even if the sky isn’t clear, just think about what you cannot see, and what God calls by name.

He is able.

Love,

Jennifer

 

Some Joy for Your Weekend

Joy will come_nHi Friend. I don’t know where you are in the world, but if you’re anywhere close to where I am, I hope you’re staying warm. It’s a wintery weekend, and you’re on my mind. My prayer is that you will be encouraged as you read the following scripture…

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5-6

Every time I read those words I want to breathe them in deep. They are hope and truth. I’ve sown my share of tears, and God has never disappointed me with the joy that always seems to follow.

Whenever new trials come my way I remember the beauty in that passage. Notice in verse six that it uses the word doubtless. There is absolutely no doubt that we will come again with rejoicing. We will. It’s a promise. Whatever challenges we’ve been through, are going through now, or will go through tomorrow will never be enough to stop the joy that will spring forth as a result of our tears. I believe God honors every tear we pour out to Him. Not one is wasted.

Without a doubt, the harvest of joy belongs to you, friend. You can count on it, because you can count on God. I’ve seen His faithfulness, and though I don’t always understand why we have to suffer those tears, I do know that His love triumphs over all. His love wins. His promises are enough. He is enough. Don’t worry, days of rejoicing are on their way.

Joy is coming.

Love,

Jennifer

my eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers.

My television interview for my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, airs Tuesday, February 24th. I will share more about that on Monday.

Five Minute Friday: Writer (A New Land)

Deuteronomy PromiseI remember a time last year, when playing games with friends, that someone asked a frantic question while trying to earn points for their team, “What does Jen do?” the answer shouted out was, “She’s a writer!” I wanted to look behind me for the “real writer.” I thought, “There must be another Jen in the room.”

I wasn’t used to anyone referring to me as a writer. I had a difficult time owning it. But over the last year, I’ve been on a journey – a God journey. And I’m finally ready to own it.

Let me tell you something, friends: This God we serve is adventurous and exciting. He leads us through uncharted territory and expects us to follow Him while owning the wide open spaces. The land is absolutely beautiful!

I’ve been through my share of struggle, heartache, and shame for situations I could not control. I’ve passed through Job’s neighborhood; I’ve felt Hannah’s pain. And, recently, I’ve been awakened by my own type of burning bush.

God gives us unexpected surprises within moments of personal struggle. (Tweet that.)

Don’t think just because you are still standing in the land of Job that God doesn’t have something amazing for you – a way to bring Him glory and settle peace deep inside your soul. Because He does!

I’ve crawled, stood, walked, jogged, and am finally running through a new land.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;

-Deuteronomy 8:7

The Lord gave me that passage on February 1, 1998. I highlighted it and wrote a note next to it in the margin of my Bible. He spoke it to me as a promise. And here I am 16 years later. I finally understand it. He was preparing me for my gift – a gift to bring Him glory.

It is NEVER all for nothing. You too have a beautiful land to explore. It may take you through deserts. You might feel like Job or feel the same pain as Hannah, but if you open your eyes, you will see the burning bush. It will represent a promise. You have a gift. Use it to bring Him glory!

I write and speak. I tell the stories of His fingerprints all over my life to bring others hope and encouragement.

What is your gift? And, more importantly, how do you use it?

Have a beautiful weekend!

Love,

Jennifer

I’m joining Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. She has a wonderful new book that just hit the store shelves this week! Check it out here.

 

 

Finding the Sweet Inside the Bitter

tree_without_leavesI live in Pennsylvania. This is the time of year when winter seems to drag on forever. It is cold and snowy. The trees are bare. There are days I pray that God will take His giant paintbrush and begin to color my world with green leaves, a blue sky, and then light it all up with sunshine. But, everything comes in due season. He whispers gentle words to my soul and says, “Soon enough I will make it new.” Before long, there will be new buds on the trees which will bloom into beautiful new life.

Every year we see new leaves but eventually they fall to the ground. Throughout the winter, the tree lives and stays nourished even without its beautiful adornment of green. And then, right when it seems we cannot take one more colorless day, God breathes. All is made new.

Sometimes our very lives can reflect those of trees in waiting. We are desperate for the rough season of life to end. We hold out hope, and we pray down on our knees until they are bruised. And then we wait some more.

Waiting is bitter-sweet. It is bitter because it usually hurts to wait. By and large, we are spending time waiting for things that are of great importance to us. I waited for another baby for 15 years. It hurt. However, throughout my season of waiting, I tasted the sweet.  The bitter flavor definitely tried to suppress the sweet.  But it could not overtake, because just like the tree in the winter, I would find nourishment in the soil. Even though things may have seemed lifeless on the outside, on the inside I was adorning my heart with the gospel. I found grace within the bitterness. You can’t truly appreciate the sweet until you’ve tasted the bitter.

Revelation 21:5

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (N.K.J.V.)

When we reach our eternity with Him, all things will be made new. Even here on this earth He makes things new. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will get exactly what we are asking for, but He has a plan. Through His plan we will taste a new kind of sweet that will fill our souls with His peace.

Notice in Revelation 21:5 it says, “These words are true and faithful.”

We serve a true and faithful God. Adorn your heart with His promises and find the sweet within the bitter.

Are you waiting?