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Give Thanks 2013: Day

Give thanks in wandering

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Today's Text: 2 Corinthians 15:2, Jeremiah 29:13, Mark 9:24, Proverbs 25:2

Text: 2 Chronicles 15:2, Jeremiah 29:13, Mark 9:24, Proverbs 25:2

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

This August, when my third son took his last breaths in my arms, I threw back my head in disbelief and screamed, “I don’t understand!” When I lost my twin boys last May, I felt God wrap His arms around me in my grief. I felt it so deeply that there was almost a longing to have that again as my grief lessened over time.

This time I didn’t feel that. I felt empty, forgotten, dropped. I began searching for God – where did He go during this? Why had he let my child suffer so much on earth?

Seasons in our lives require us to search for God (Proverbs 25:2). It isn’t that he hides from us as in a game, jumping out at the last second with a “SURPRISE! Sorry you were so late, things could have been different if you’d had just looked in the closet first.” It’s more of a withdrawal we experience when our humanity suddenly has to throw our rational concept of God out the window.

How many of us understand God? Feel like we’ve got Him figured out? Judging from the comments we all receive in a season of wandering – cliches of certainty like “God has done this for a reason!” and “ This must be God’s will!” – it seems many of us have put our Lord in a neat little box.

To my shock, I found it really doesn’t work that way. My wandering often leads to more doubt. I search scriptures, read books, even google questions – and I have to catch myself at times. I realize I’m looking for an answer that isn’t mine to know yet.

When we wander in search of God, our faith is challenged and shaken. It might make us angry, and we may want to run to something that brings us immediate, earthly answers. Yet, if we allow it, even in the midst of confusion, wandering can lead us closer to a God we may not fully understand, but we can completely trust.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
– Robert Robinson

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For an added layer of worship and study, we chose a beloved hymn for each day of our Give Thanks plan. Today, we invite you to listen to “Come Thou Fount” as we dwell on the truth of God’s word together.

 

  • God certainly speaks to us in our pain! I was talking to my husband yesterday about this very thing, including how everyone's pat answers 'God does everything for a reason' actually creates more hurt than comfort.
    I have had 2 miscarriages in the last few months, the first Drew me close to God, I felt his love and his arms wrapped around me. The second made me angry, I felt alone, that God was punishing me and throughout this pain and confusion I am walking a slow journey to understand God in a way that doesn't fit in my lovely little box.
    God, thank you for showing up in all kinds of places.

  • Thank you for your words. I totally agree with you, we must give thanks to our dear God in every thing, this includes wandering. Please check verse in 2 Corinthians, there is no chapter 15. Could it be a mistyping?

  • I have enjoyed the She Reads Truth series for almost a year now. Each one has its unique hidden treasure… Very good searching for a scripture is always awesome. There is no II Corinthians 15 in any version but agree with an earlier post that it could be II Chronicles 15… Really makes the point…

  • This is right where I am right now. Thank you for hearing my cry oh Lord Jesus.

  • Thank you Diana. I love SHE READS THE TRUTH.
    ï’m so sorry for you loss. Thank you all for your comments. They are really inspiring and helpful. God bless you all.

  • Thank I will continue to wander to Him

  • I’m a big researcher for answers! I’ll read anything I can get my hands on to find out something, ANYTHING close to an answer about what I want- no, NEED to know!!
    But, sometimes there are no answers.
    That was what I was doing for 15+ yrs. that I was “away” from faith.
    And I FINALLY figured this out these last few months of SRT:
    In this lifetime I won’t know all the answers. There are some things NOT meant for me to know! When the time is right I’ll know them, and that may be when this life is over. Then all will be made clear to me.
    Thank you Jesus!
    Amen.

  • T Thomas

    get to me was when people say God said there will be trials and tribulations in this world. Not very comforting, but praying for those who are wandering and seek comfort in Him. We still might not get the answer we need or expect, but I believe He is near to the broken hearted.

  • T Thomas

    Thank you Diana for sharing. We still pray for you and your family. I try not to say the cliche type responses. Most just really don’t have the words or the answers that will console. Listening most times is best so it’s all not building up inside. In our human nature, we don’t understand the unknowns. There must be a reason, an explanation, an answer, some insight. It’s hard to know that some things are not meant for us to know yet or why. Then we start to condemn ourselves. Or the comments may seem that way from others. It’s challenging for me and I will have to study more, but I personally feel that He knows our deepest pains. The holidays are hard enough without the ones who we miss so dearly. Another cliche that use to

  • Thanks for your sharing. It helps me a lot indeed. Many bad things happened in this year. They make me always have the question "why?" in mind. I am wondering why God allow all these happened. Yes, sometimes, I was angry, began to doubt Him and even wanted to leave Him. I found that the earthly way is much easier and maybe will make me happier. And at the end, I found that I am actually looking for an answer God may not allow to let me have at this moment. I tried very hard to use my own intelligence, and did not know that it actually comes from disobedience.
    Thanks for your reminder, yes, just allow ourselves would be in the confusion in the seasons of life, and through which, we would come closer to Him and have more faith in Him. Amen.

  • This Devo is perfect for someone like myself who is in school, and growing as a woman and as a Christian. I am Learning that logic and reason are not always helpful. I love to research and gain knowledge about the unknown, w/ God that’s utterly impossible. You just have to wait for his next move. That is very difficult for me.

  • Jessie2484

    Thank you for this. This is my first devotional/bible plan I have done. I am fairly new to the faith (well for many years anyway).
    This particular post/readings really really spoke to me. I'm loving this plan. I can't wait to start another. If you have any recommendations on what I should try next that would be lovely.

    Diana- I am so very sorry for what you went through. I can't even begin to imagine. Thank you for such a moving post.

    Can any of you ladies help- my grandmother is under the weather/ill at the moment and is on bed rest. I am going round this week and as she loves to read the bible I thought I'd read to her. Can you recommend any good chapters for someone feeling depressed/under the weather? Thanks so much xx

    • journeyingwithhim

      For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

      Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalms 42:11)

      I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

      I just said a prayer for your grandmother.

  • I remember being in a very dark place about five years ago. I remember begging, pleading and even demanding that God intervene and change the situation. When it seemed like things were only getting worse, I got very mad at God. I remember telling Him that I was done. After awhile, I began to miss my faith. My world was rocked when I chose not to believe in my God. I remember specifically making the choice not to abandon my faith. That verse became my prayer and I truly began to understand that father’s prayer- “I believe… but help me with my unbelief.” I am thankful today that I enjoy a deep relationship with Him like never before.

  • God will never leave leave us, never! I struggled with that thought also. Last year was a very tough year for me. There were a lot of things I refused to process before God, to give Him totaled control over everything in my life. Until I was finally broken. I haven't experience the loss of a child or husband but I have lost both my parents to cancer, fought my own addictions, watch my husband have two heart attacks, and have bilateral total knee replacement, even got to a place where I taught I was losing my mind. God was there with me very step of the way. I thank Him everyday for the journey(s) I have been though. If it brings me closer to Him and my testimony blesses another woman, I will do it over and over.

  • "cliches of certainty like “God has done this for a reason!” and “ This must be God’s will!” – it seems many of us have put our Lord in a neat little box." Yes. How many times have I, full of anxiety and other overwhelming emotions, demanded God to give me an answer? How many times have I tried to grasp false answers and false certainty in the hopes of not losing my mind, wanting to control the situation?
    In the midst of our endless searching and turning of heads, let us turn ours to the face of Christ. In the midst of our chaos, burdens, and pain, let us turn to God to heal those things, no matter the lack of answers in that moment. Because all that matters is getting closer to Him- all that matters is Him.

  • Leenda324

    Diana thank you for sharing your heart. Having lost my first son when he was less than two days old, I cannot fathom the grief of losing another.

    Carolynmimi what a beautiful preface to today’s devo.

    Candacejo hadn’t heard about Latvia but will be praying.

  • as a perpetual wanderer…in faith, full of questions and wanting to understand why, in life… your words resonate with me. i pray that you find some comfort and healing as you walk through your grief and pain, diana. thank you for your willingness to share your heart from such a vulnerable and deep place.

    i have also been coming to understand that it is not the answers that i need to seek…that is likely out of a false sense of control and thinking that will make me feel better if i could only understand why (but would it really??)…but instead i need to seek the Lord and trust in His goodness, love, mercy, and faithfulness. it is only there where i might find peace, comfort, joy, and hope. i am learning that i may not ever be satisfied with my circumstances, as there is much pain and brokenness in a fallen world, but i can still find peace and contentment in Christ in all circumstances. super hard, and there are definitely days where i completely lose sight of that…but i think that realization has fostered freedom from feeling so weighed down by the tension of loving the Lord and wanting to honor Him with being dissatisfied and heartbroken and not ok with my circumstances.

  • Read this through tears this morning! I lost my young husband (he was 25) to cancer 3 1/2 years ago after 8 Beth's of marriage, and I often feel like I'm wandering in this season of singleness/widowhood. Those cliche phrases "God is allowing this for a reason" are often do no help, really! Thanks for the reminder that there are things I am just not meant to understand and I have to keep trusting God in this wandering!!

  • Candacejo

    I am so blessed by this today and all of your comments! Wow.

    Sharing my post and prayer for the country of Latvia today, my home away from home where we lived on our missionary journey. They are suffering and "wandering" too in the midst of this tragedy that hit their tiny country this week. If you want to read it…. http://www.hopeinthehealing.com/2013/11/24/pray-f

    • Valanne

      I read this early am but didn't have time to comment as it was time to prepare for church. Praying for your beloved Latvia.

  • Janee White

    " I realize I’m looking for an answer that isn’t mine to know yet."

    One of the hardest part of my journies with Christ was learning to wait. Not just wait on the Lord, but wait for answers. You, Diane, put it perfectly when you said that the answer isn't mine to to know yet. Yesterday, my husband was praying and got the impression from God that we are supposed to 'prepare but not plan'. Though my husband was ok with that (hes not a planner), I wanted more answers. Prepare for what? How? Which way? Is there an urgency? I wanted all the answers. BUT GOD, God knows my desire to be prepared and in control, so He is asking us to get ready – and the underlying theme of this whole season is TRUST. He just wants us to trust Him – even if if the answers arent ours yet.

  • Carolynmimi

    I have been re-posting and directing folks who follow our church's Facebook page to these devotionals. Because I have wandered and because I grieved I thought this really important this Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, so I posted the following before Diana's devotional:
    For those of you who do not follow #She Reads Truth you may not know Diana's story. Some of it is expressed here in this devotion, but a few words can never flesh out the whole story. Because our family has known the heartbreak of fetal demise and stillbirth, we have a special connection to families who experience this type of tragedy. Perhaps a few moments or a few days of life and struggle and then empty arms. It is as if God ripped the baby from loving arms and snatched her away to heaven. No wonder we wander.

    Loss impacts us more during holidays. We all have places at the table where loved ones once sat. Empty places and empty arm that our parents, grandparents, siblings, children occupied. This Sunday before Thanksgiving, it is important to realize not every table, in fact, no table, no matter how rich the spread is FULL. Remember and give Thanks, but realize that even as we question and rant and wander from God, We are Loved, forgiven, and blessed.

  • Joanne Sher

    Even when we don't understand Him – maybe even especially when we don't understand Him – we need to remember He is completely trustworthy. So hard to do – for me anyway

    I once heard a comparison of this sort if thing to taking your baby in to the doctor for shots. That poor little creature screams and carries on like you're the worst mother in the world – but the pain is absolutely for your child's s best interest. That image has always stuck with me. Probably simplistic, but it helps.

    Thank you, Lord. – and SRT – for this reminder.

    • Candacejo

      Perfect analogy!

    • Jess

      I remember reading once (I think it was even in Diana's blog) – the analogy of the parent standing on the other side of the door while the child cries. The parent hurts at hearing those cries, and they stand there listening but they know they can't rush in because the child is learning something.

  • When I first moving cross-country, we rented a house from some Snowbirds. As we did wintered in their gorgeous lake front home (and they soaked up the sun somewhere down south) I cooked many homemade meals, which meant I went into the refrigerator a lot. It was on this refrigerator door where I found the most profound cartoon. A man sitting on a suitcase, (all alone) and the caption said something like, Man, "I've been feeling like you're are so far away from me lately, like you're not hearing me." God's reply, "I ddn't move, you did!" This was such a light-bulb moment for me.

    I read once on a post something like this, "Seeking God is not a side gig. It's not your hobby. You seek God as part of your whole life, full-on, heart-pursuit. You do it with everything you've got. So being that God doesn't change, I've learned that I'm the wanderer, and thankfully, my times of wondering have lessened over the years, as I see the signs quicker, and I get back into seeking my God. He's always right where I left him.

    It's been a hard lesson to learn–that I can so easily wander, that I need help with my unbelief. Trying to understand that I believe, but sometimes I'm challenged with unbelief use to freak me out, until I found the Mark 9:24 verse. "The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Thank you Lord that my times of wondering are not surprise to you. And thank you for consistently being there.

  • refreshedwoman

    Earlier this year, a minister of the gospel that I used to attend church with and worked closely in ministry with was murdered. She was 70 years of age and she loved God and was still working in ministry. Someone invaded her home and killed her and her grandson execution style. It shook me and others that knew her to the core. We wanted answers, yes from God. How could this happen? Most of us began to fear. If this could happen to her, we all felt vulnerable. Well, there are no answers to why, but after the dust settled I had no choice but to trust God. I cannot and will not abandon my faith in Him. I had to draw closer to Him even in uncertainty. I've seen Him move too much in my life and others. So, I guess that is exactly what faith is… Thank you for sharing with us SRT. Be blessed ladies and shout to God with a voice of triumph.

    • Candacejo

      How sad! So sorry for your loss! We cannot understand things such as this or sweet Diana's terrific losses…only eternity will reveal to us the "why's". Today we just keep walking with Him, keep trusting as everyone has said…knowing Jesus sees the Bigger Picture, He knows what is behind the curtain!

      Praying for you this morning friend.

    • RAINIE

      Sometimes evil prevailed & even Christians are not spared.

  • Romans 8:31-39

    There are times when we believe that cannot feel the presence of God when going through certain circumstances. We begin to wonder if God loves us or if we have done something to warrant His absence. God is love and He loves us with an everlasting love.

    Nothing can separate us from His love and He so wants to surround us with it in our most desperate times. Even when can’t feel it, even when we don’t want to feel it, even when we believe we don’t deserve it, even when we are sure we have “blown it” and lost it, as the song says…”His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…”.

    For this I am thankful…Diana thank you for sharing your heart!

    • Candacejo

      Love, love, love that song!

      In death, in life, I'm confident and covered by the power of Your great love! My debt is paid, there's nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love!

      Oh you got me now Cynthia, why don't we give them the entire song! http://youtu.be/TItyYhfwClM

      • Jesusgirl71

        I love, love, love that song! Thanks for posting, as I can never hear it enough.

  • Diana thank you for these words, they truly spoke to my heart today. I have been in that place looking for answers. It was a very difficult thing for me to come to the place of accepting that the answers aren't for me to know at this time. I loved your last sentence. Wandering can lead you closer to God you may not understand but you can trust. Ho

  • monique(forgiven)

    Amen! I totally agree:) I feel like I’m in that current state right now. Wandering with thoughts like where to go,who to talk too and why things happen the way they do at times. Hurt tries to take over and high thoughts tries to creep in. But during this season of wandering I’m learning to develop and depend on the Lord. When I have questions that none can answer i m learning to look to Jesus. I may not have all the answers but I thank God for He is the one with the answers. God Bless and let us all be encouraged in our seasons of wandering.

  • Such amazing truth written from a place of pain. Its so hard to accept not understanding or not knowing the reason things happen in life but knowing instead who God is can help. No matter how long the wondering God is always there. No matter how many times I’m tempted to push him away or reject him he will never push me away or reject me.

    Anyone any idea what the first passage should be? 2 Corinthians 15:2 – no chapter 15…Ta x

    • amykelly213

      I'm thinking 1 Corinthians 15:2 fits:
      By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    • Beth

      I think it's 2 Chronicles 15:2. "…if you seek Him, He will be found by you…"

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