Series: Always Relevant: God is
Psalm 118:5-6 MSG
Romans 8:28 (All things good)
Romans 8:31 (If God is for me)
In case you missed it, here’s the deal…I’ve been pushed to the wall and I can tell you that when I called to God, He answered.
Psalm 118:5-6 says,
“Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, he answered.God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me?”
Like many of you, there have been times in my life when I was so hurt and confused that I couldn’t see any way out.
I felt like I was Alice who fell down a hole.
The genius story written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll is about a child named Alice who has to make her way in a world she doesn’t understand.
Nothing in her world in the hole makes sense.
She meets creatures (people) who are strange.
She struggles with rules that don’t make sense.
Alice is a classic story that depicts an interesting view of how confusing life can be for a child.
In the story, Alice was pushed to the wall. The hole she found herself in seemed to be so deep she wasn’t sure how to get out of it.
Even as adults when have catastrophic events we, too feel like we cannot see a way out.
We have a sense that we are powerless. We cannot stop the event. It could be the death of a person or the death of a relationship we relied heavily upon.
Often our pain and confusion is so strong we cannot see or feel God. When that happens it’s often because God is so close we can’t see Him. Think of it this way. Our view of life comes from our sight. We see what lies beyond ourself. We see what’s on the horizon. When God is protecting us by holding us close to His heart, we are completely surrounded by God. We don’t see God and what God is doing on our behalf because He is so close to us.
Just like Alice in wonderland we struggle with our identity. Our loss took away a huge part of how we identified ourselves.
We have to learn to let go of that part of ourselves and trust God.
According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her the five stages of grief she identified when we are IN the trial we first deny the existence of the death.
Next we experience anger. The anger can be at the person you are losing but it can also be at God for taking away something precious to you.
In the third stage we try to bargain with God or the world or both. We do that because we do not want to let go.
Next, as we let go of what we have lost or are losing we experience depression. In this stage we are really really sad that we are losing something we relied upon. We are trying to come to terms with our new life.
In the fifth stage of grief we begin to accept the change.
Alice experienced all of those stages of grief in one form or another as she struggled to grow up and let go of her childhood.
In Psalm 118:5-6 we hear or see God’s answer. The psalmist proclaims God is now at his side. The psalmist is trusting God with his future.
As trust in God grows we proclaim to our inner self that we are not afraid. In the fifth stage we begin to envision a way to accept our new future.
Without even knowing it, God is helping us take really tiny baby steps toward our new life.
For Alice her wonderland hasn’t really been so wonderful.
She met many creatures she didn’t understand. They didn’t make sense, but each creature helped her in some way.
I believe and have experienced time and again God working all things out for my good (Romans 8:28). Even when I cannot see how it will come about, when I look back I see the good that came from the bad.
That doesn’t mean our life will look the same. It means God is working to make it better in some way.
One of my sons recently retired from serving in the military for 21 years. He had a great career and he had to learn to let go of the life he had known. From the time he graduated from college the military became his ‘way’. God blessed him in mighty ways on that road.
Letting go wasn’t easy. He (they) could have stayed in longer but he was at a point when he needed to consider what would be best for his family. They had moved many many times and the decision was made to give his children stability.
I know he worked through the five stages of grief. Every person in his family worked through the grieving process as they let go of the identity they had known. They had to do that so they could receive their new identity in God.
Through the looking glass Alice was letting go of who she had been so she could accept her future. She would no longer be a child.
In a sense in Psalm 118 the writer proclaims, if God is for me who can be against me (Romans 8:31).
Alice in Wonderland has to confront who she was and who she will be.
That is true for all of us as we grow and change. As we change know (know) that God will be with you and will not fail you.
After all is said and done, if God is for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Spiritual Practice: For You
Tell yourself 10 times today that God is FOR you.
In God, Deborah