Grace Notes: Our Burden
Dear Grace Family,
My sweet old dog Sissie has been under the weather lately. Nothing specific beyond the ravages of time. At 18 she’s deaf, nearly blind, has arthritis in every joint, and just generally wants to sleep and eat more than anything else. In spite of all that, she has moments of real joy, and I know that in her mind she’s still a puppy running through the fields with her big brothers.
But while I was researching some things to make her more comfortable, I came across a vet’s article about deafness in our pets. The Doctor said we need to remember that our animals don’t have any idea what hearing loss is, so they don’t realize they can’t hear us anymore. They just think we’ve quit talking to them. That makes me incredibly sad.
But it also made me realize that there are many times in life when we become deaf. Not physically, although it seems time has that on the agenda for us eventually, but spiritually. When the pain in our body or in our situation seems unbearable and we feel like we’re screaming out to God for relief, we start to ask ourselves WHERE IS HE? And if we don’t hear from Him immediately, we start to ask ourselves why He’s not responding - why He’s quit hearing us.
The reality is that God never stops listening, is never unaware of our cries, and never stops responding to us with loving words. We have simply become so wrapped up in the pain we are deafened by it. Our spirit becomes defeated, and head down tail tucked between our legs, we can no longer hear His voice.
With Sissie I’ve learned to spend time every day with my arms wrapped around her. I hold her close and whisper into her ear, just as if she could hear my voice. She may not be able to make out the actual words, but I know she feels the vibration and senses that I’m holding her and loving on her. In those moments, she remembers what safety is.
I have this picture in my mind of God doing the same with us. Just when we’re feeling the most isolated and lonely He stops and wraps His arms around us, stilling our agitation and whispering into our souls. We may not always hear the Father’s words, but we can rest assured that He is there. And His loving arms are available even when we don’t feel any need at all.
Psalm 23 says “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” He is always there trying to keep us on the right path. That rod isn’t a stick that He’s just waiting to beat us with. It’s there for directing us even when we walk through those shadowy canyons that are filled with death and evil.
In 1 Kings 19, the Prophet Elijah was looking for an answer from God. In Verses 11-13 he was told to “Go out, and stand on the mountain… The Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rock into pieces… but the Lord wasn’t in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake; and then a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in the fire… but after the fire a still small voice.” And that is where Elijah finally heard God.
We can spend so much time looking for the big manifestations and miracles, we forget that God is present in our everyday moments. He is not just for us – He is with us. We get so accustomed to His presence in our lives we start to think that we’re doing everything on our own. Then some big disaster happens and we realize we haven’t heard from God in a while. But it’s really not that we haven’t heard from Him, as that we haven’t heard Him. Spiritual deafness.
I was watching a television program about 911 Dispatchers. One seasoned veteran said, “Can you imagine if everyone in the world had your number and they only called on the worst day of their life?” I can’t help but wonder if God doesn’t feel that way sometimes. He never leaves us, but we tune Him out so much we simply can’t hear Him even when He’s speaking words of love to us. Then something happens and we wonder why we don’t recognize His voice in our lives.
Our relationship with the Lord isn’t one that was created to only be developed and honed in our moments of great need. Our knowledge of God’s real character and love must be grown by recognizing His presence in the everyday moments. And acknowledging Him keeps us attuned to the sound of His whispered words.
Our real growth as Christians will come when we hear His voice in our daily lives, our biggest triumphs, and in our most profound needs. Remember, it’s not always a roar – sometimes it’s a whisper.
Be blessed my Grace family, God is on the throne!
- Next Saturday -- June 19: Church-wide rummage sale. Please bring your gently used items to be sold and distributed to those who need them. You can start bringing your goods in on Sunday. And join us on Saturday for a time of fellowship and outreach!! All proceeds will be used to help pay for the repairs on the worship team equipment.
- Ladies Bible study is continuing Zoom. You can join us on Tuesday night at 7 pm. For more information, please reach out to Pastor Bobbie.
- Youth of the Nations are having a weekly Zoom meeting on Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Meeting ID 961 2398 2133, Passcode: Nq6QnZ.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your tithes and offerings so we can maintain our ability to reach out to a needy world. You can give online here, or mail your checks to 3144 N G Street, Suite 125 PMB 308 Merced, CA 95340.
Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has a passion for his flock, and for the community of Merced and beyond. His strength and leadership are only surpassed by his generosity and passion to evangelize. He holds a degree in Counseling, and has a heart for the people of our community. Pastor E resides in Merced with his wife and children.
Pastor Bobbie Frye is our Administrative Pastor. She has been in ministry for more than 20 years, and is a 3rd generation Foursquare Pastor. She is a writer and musician, and takes care of Womens Ministries and Worship Arts. She has a background in Procurement and Marketing, in addition to her pastoral experience. Pastor Bobbie resides in Merced.