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This article is written by Jacqueline Gibson, Women's Ministries Director
Depending on whose vantage point, the topic above can be seen as completely true, from another perspective, it may seem questionable at best, and yet from another, completely false.
As women of faith, no matter the circumstance, can we dare to believe that God really understands our feelings and situations?
Heather-Dawn Small, our General Conference Women’s Ministries Director asks and answers the question. She writes, have you ever experienced a time when you faced a problem so difficult it seemed as if God did not know your distress? You may have even questioned if God cared about you or even saw your difficulties. At times like this, Satan whispers doubt into our ears that can lodge in our heart and mind.
Today, as Seventh-day Adventist women all across the globe observe International Women’s Day of Prayer, the sermon for this special day of prayer will focus on the story of the prophet Elijah. At some point or another, we all can identify with this prophet of old, whose prayers of desperation are similar to some of ours, whose feelings of being tired and out of options, are sometimes the way women feel, and his feelings of remorsefulness, as do all of us from one time to another, with our failures.
However, here is some good news! In spite of all we go through, God Understands! Just as God did not reject Elijah and did not condemn him, He will do the same for each of us. It is when we are at our lowest point, that God is the closest to us.
Chantal Klingbeil, our author for this year’s International Women’s Day of Prayer resource, quotes from the book, Steps to Christ, “We may have no remarkable evidence at the time that the face of our Redeemer is bending over us in compassion and love, but this is even so. We may not feel His visible touch, but His hand is upon us in love and pitying tenderness” (Ellen G. White, pp. 96, 97).
Our author believes that in the Bible we can read repeatedly God’s promises to be with us -Deuteronomy 31:6,8; 1 Kings 8:57; Psalm 37:28; Isaiah 42:16; Hebrews 13:5, 6, and many others. Yet in times of great despair, we find our hearts doubting these very promises. Why does this happen? How can we overcome these times of doubt and distress?
She further states that we enjoy those seasons in life when all seems to be going well: when we are thriving, reaching goals, family members are in good health and getting along, our daily needs are being met. We feel confident in who we are and where we are headed. Life is good. God is on His throne. And then . . .
The unexpected occurs, sometimes overnight. An automobile accident takes the life of a loved one. Medical test results give a frightening name to symptoms we’ve been experiencing and then issue a grim prognosis. A marriage breaks up. A child or grandchild disappears into the underworld of drugs. A severe weather event sweeps away our livelihood. Though almost unconscious of the subtle change, we begin focusing more intently on the struggles that life throws at us more than we focus on the Giver and Sustainer of life. Therefore, the light in which we thought we were walking now begins to dim.
Yet, as the story of the prophet Elijah reminds us, our loving Savior is never far from us no matter what our distressing situation. Though we cannot personally see Him, Jesus is near just as He promised He would be (John 14:12-18). We are not alone. Even when our prayers grow weak, despite obvious evidence of His blessings in our lives, Jesus still remains by our side. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Though the failure and depression of Elijah’s experience reveal the frailty of human resolve, the continuing, unseen presence of God with Elijah reveals God’s patient pursuit of our hearts as well. Most of all, His presence confirms that whate’er befall, each of us is still His beloved daughter - individually unique, deeply valued, highly esteemed, and treasured “abundantly above all” that we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
My prayer for each of us is that as we believe God’s Word, we are assured that God understands and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
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