Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 22

Micah’s Lament

by

Today's Text: Micah 1:1-16, Micah 2:1-13, Psalm 46:1-11, Hebrews 6:13-20

Scripture Reading: Micah 1:1-16, Micah 2:1-13, Psalm 46:1-11, Hebrews 6:13-20

Our air conditioner broke this week. I’m from the far north, where central air is a foreign thing and window units are turned on maybe thrice a summer. I live in Texas now, though, and while a heater is a thing you could maybe do without, an air conditioner is not optional. My husband called me today and gave me the estimate of a new system and I felt my stomach drop into my pinky toe.

How much? I asked him. This much, he said. My mind immediately turned to our savings account. Finally, after a year of beginning to accumulate some savings, we were hoping to have enough to repair our foundation or put some equity into the home itself. WelI, I said, there goes that.

A year ago this month we had a colossal financial loss. It was a perfect storm of sudden job loss, multiple moves cross-country to and from high-priced cities, the sale on our house falling through five times before (finally) selling at nearly a $100k loss to us. We hemorrhaged money for nine months until there was nothing left. I felt as physically defeated as I have ever felt, and our bank account actually was.

In that space, God did not come through with astounding miracles or great hurrahs. He came in quietly, through a sentence from a friend or a glimmer of hope—for months and months and months. I ached, but I began, eventually, to ache toward healing. He began to hem me in, though in an even a greater way than before, so I could learn to rest in His protection and care for me.

And with that healing I imagined God would deeply plant the lessons I’d learned in the process, that I would never have to repeat the same struggle to the same degree. Surely, I knew now that God was my provider, my shepherd, my caregiver? And because I knew it, I assumed He would never take the time to prove it to me again.

I sometimes believe we’re alike, God and I. I reason that because my mind changes, His must too. I’m positive He’s scheming a switcheroo, some grande finale where I’ll be the one left on the outside of the fence. I mistakenly believe I’m saved upon my own merits; the things I have learned or the lessons I have accumulated. I begin to believe I bring myself into the fold and am not simply brought in by Him.

But God, in His goodness, swore by Himself that He’d bring me in (Hebrews 6:13-20). From the get-go and from the start, before the foundations of the earth, before Eve ate the fruit, before the twelve tribes scattered, before the cross of Calvary, He counted me in. He gathered me in, “like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture” (Micah 2:12)—kept, secure, and protected.

Sheep can still get hurt in the fold. They can still sprain a leg or trip over a stump. Today I’m reminded of that as I sit directly in front of my oscillating fan and try hard not to think about our savings account. But sheep in the pasture have a Shepherd who is near to them—caring, attentive, and present. I sometimes begin to believe God has ousted me when things are going badly, that I have sinned too grievously or disappointed Him too greatly. But, the God who does not change, brought me in, and there I remain, His.

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Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • The Lord is our leader! He will take care of the remnant in the middle of the evil times! We can choose to keep our focus on him and not on our circumstances, and as is coming in chapter 6-we can be a voice for justice, love, faithfulness and humility.

  • Really? That’s what you got out of this passage where God says lamenting is appropriate because he’s bringing disaster on the land where selfish leaders steal from the poor and lie and harm the women and children of those returning from war?

  • Deb Thompson

    WOW! I could have written this this morning. Not kidding at all. I literally am right there. Only it’s car trouble instead of house. Right there. All the feelings, all the thoughts, all the emotions, all the doubts, all the lessons learned only to have to relearn. All of the wonderings about my former sins and these being consequences, whether they seem related or not. All of it. And then the chiding myself for feeling that way, or thinking those thoughts, or not trusting enough, not having enough faith. Today…today i am going to rest in his protection. He is hemming me in, I can find his care and his comfort- he is ever present- today. I am finding that.

  • I can relate to this. As a friend criticized me for always having ideas and not taking action, her comment devastated me. It was true. And as I lamented over it, it seemed like God was lovingly nudging me to tell me, “Where you are right now is no accident. There is a purpose – even with what seems like years of failures and un-productivity, there is a purpose and you are right where you I want you to be.”

  • Sabrina Klomp

    Love this devotional today! So touched by His forever love.

  • Blessings to you Shirley. I will be praying for your family, and the people of Puerto Rico.

  • My name is Shirley and I found out about the SRT community earlier this year and it has truly been a blessing. I live in Puerto Rico and a little more than a month ago we were hit by hurricane Maria. I have no power, barely any water, cellphone signal comes and goes and we’ve been basically surviving on military food and canned goods that have been donated. I’ve been stripped down from all my commodities. I’ve know what it is like to make a bottle of water last a day, see no light whatsoever after 7pm, slept uncomfortably as mosquitos buzz on my ears. This past month has been a very difficult one. But I’ve seen Gods hand in every step of the way. He kept us safe and that’s more than enough for me. When we’ve run out of things to eat, He has provided. When caos occurs on the streets, He cares for us. As we sleep, He looks out for us. I couldn’t be more greatful for the love that my Heavenly Father haves for me and my family. I’ve felt His presence more than ever in this past days. I’m also thankful for these devotionals. When the cellphone signal came through a couple of weeks ago the first thing I did was type Shereadstruth. The peace I receive by reading Gods word daily is incomprehensible. So grateful for you guys. Please keep us in your prayers. Blessings!

    • Summer

      So awesome to hear this!

    • Summer

      Is there anything we can do to meet your needs?

    • April

      Praying for you – thank you for writing and sharing. Let us know if we can help in any other way?

    • Christina D.

      Wow Shirley—you are an encouragement to me. I am praying that you continue to see God’s power and work. Praying that you will have provisions of food, water, and other basic necessities. Praying that you continue to feel God’s presence and His hand carrying you through this time. So thankful you are safe.

      • Susan

        Thank you for letting us know that you are ok! I will be praying for you in this most crucial time of need. Thank you for your words that put my heart in check.

    • Kris

      Thank you for posting about your situation. I needed a perspective check. Your faithful attitude and thankfulness humbles me. I will be lifting you up and remembering your example when I come close to complaining about something trivial.
      Much love sweet girl.

    • Linda

      Shirley – is there a way we can send you a care package? Are you able to get mail yet? I would be glad to assist in any way I can.

      • Shirley

        As far as I know the mail is currently working just fine. My mail adress is: RR02 box 3053 Añasco Puerto Rico 00610-9395 and my name is Shirley Crespo. Anything received will be accepted with a greatful heart. But please keep in mind my brothers and sisters. If you know of any organization where you can donate for them as well, I know they will also accept it for there are many who are in need. Once again, thanks for the prayers, the kindness and for keeping us in your thoughts. ❤️

    • Maria Peters

      You for sharing, Shirley. Please know that so many of us are lifting you and our family up in prayer today. Please let us know if there are any physical needs we can help with.

    • Britt

      I too, would love to send you a care package. In the meantime, I am so blessed by your faith and trust and will be praying for you.

  • Cheryl Anne Sedler

    Absolutely speaks to my heart. Thank you so much.

  • Caroline

    Amen! He is so in all the details, the big and the small. I love that sometimes he does the big swoop in miracle moment and sometimes he’s more gentle and brings the miracle much slower, yet right on time.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • OneWhoWrestles

    If a friend is famished and has not eaten in weeks, would we give him mere crumbs, a cracker or two to help him survive for another day? What if, after sparing that small cracker, we feasted for hours in front of him? Would we call that love? Of course not. But sometimes the way people talk about God sustaining them sounds exactly like this.

    When we say or believe that God gave us enough for us to barely survive, we are suggesting that God is not loving. Many people ‘survive’ dark trials without having faith to sustain them. When we talk this way, we are telling those around us that we are and should be content, like the Canaanite woman, to take the crumbs that fall from the master’s table (Matthew 15). But after Jesus’s death on the cross, we have been adopted as dearly loved children and are invited to His table to feast with Him (Galatians 4:5-7).

    We do not expect God to take away our struggles (in fact, we are promised that we will have trouble in this life), yet we should be able to do more than barely survive them. The mark of the Christian is not the absence of suffering, but a heart full of hope and joy in the midst of great struggle. If we are able to be ‘joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer…’ (Romans 12:12) so that we can come to the other side of a trial without becoming bitter or cynical and with a heart full of love–that is what is a powerful witness.

    As someone who has wrestled with so much recently, I have been deeply hurt by the way others talk about God’s presence in trials. The image that is portrayed is far from one of a loving and compassionate God that I am eager to run to. I want to hear how He has brought love, healing, growth and joy through suffering. I need to believe that God is good and loving. It is not enough to hear that I will survive. I could ‘survive’ in some senses of the word if I had no faith. Yet we were called to do so much more. If I cannot believe that, it will be impossible for me to provide a witness that truly honors Christ as I walk through this difficult season.

    • Sarah

      Thank you immensely for sharing your thoughts. This truth resonates deeply in my life and work. You are so right about so many things. I pray that your trials soon pass and that you receive the fullness of joy you are looking for!

    • Nhu

      Praise God for the boldness of his truth. God is a loving father. All things work together for good for those who loves God and who are called to walk in His purpose. Many times we are mistaken that those “all things” are from God. I do not believe so. God is love, God is kind. He will not bring disasters on us to teach us with a redemptive purpose. The enemy is roaming around waiting to steal, kill and destroy and devour. So let us address where the source of our problems can come from. We live in a fallen world, where hurts and pains exist through free will of people. But yet we know at the end it will work toward our good for God will intervene and He will rescue His people when we cry out. Praise the Lord.

    • Kylee

      Thank you ever so much for this comment – it has sparked my heart to tell you about the big love of our Father, as I learned it firsthand. My family lived on less than $400/month for 6 months straight after we suffered double job losses and lack of work. In 2015 we fell 4 months behind on rent, and it would have been worse had my mother in law not helped out when she could. Our landlord wanted to evict us – we ate the same meals over and over again because I found a few that cost less than $2 to make in entirety. Our phones got cut off, left and right, as we could only pay portions of the bill at a time. Our health disintegrated. We saw the darkest days ever as a married couple, and our daughter asked why we couldn’t do like, ANYTHING, unless it was free. And it hurt. BUT GOD. You already know where this is going – the LOVE He showed us during that time was life-giving! I look back on that time with such beautiful gratitude….That big big love drew me back after years of not fully believing, and this season of hardship caused me to dive deeeeeeep into scripture. During those months I got closer to God than I ever was growing up in a church, He became real to me as I would bring EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM to His feet, DAILY, and in turn He gave me peace. I couldn’t explain it, and even as bankruptcy loomed over our heads, there was God whispering “fear not” in my ears over and over again. No big sign in the sky, here – we lost the financial battle and started from scratch. But the joy we had during that season is something I wouldn’t trade for the world! God showed up for us in a big way, and while He didn’t restore our finances overnight, he DID restore my relationship with my husband and daughter during that time, which has lead to us being closer than ever as a family (we were not close before!). We didn’t “survive” this – we thrived through it, thanks to God! God is God in all, and while I don’t know specifically what you’re going through, I can promise you that our Father loves you — so much! — and He will come through for you in a big way, too. It might not look like what you hope for or expect – for me, I was waiting for a giant check to drop from the sky, LOLOL – but God ALWAYS meets us where we are and grants us what we truly need. Today am I rich? No. Not by a long shot! Are all our needs met? Yes and amen. My prayer is the same for you – that God, in His abundant mercy and abounding love, would show himself to you, bringing you comfort, granting you peace, fulfilling your every need. He truly is all we need.

  • This reading was so timely for me, EXACTLY what I needed today. Even more of a reminder that He is always near – He even knows the words I need to hear/read! Thank you, God, for being an ever present help!

  • Lore, : )

    I’m actually going to share this with my hubby. ♡ so true. Growing up with a single mom I learned God is my “ever present help”. There were times we had barely enough. He always privided, he was always there. Closer than I knew at the time. Thank you ladies. Much love and grace to you all.

  • Caroline

    Wow, the sentence about believe that God and I are alike hit home like a baseball at 90 mph. I struggle with this daily! How amazing to be reminded that the love and grace of God is incredible even beyond my comprehension! What a deep, powerful and unfathomable gift He has given for no reason beyond His love for me.

  • So so beautifully written Lore….

    He is near… for always He is near…

    Difficult to imagine or comprehend when times are hard and things are falling apart at the seams… But God….
    He is near…

    When we don’t feel His presence, when we fall short, when we dismiss the nudges, when we cannot put one foot in front of the other, when we are fearful, when we are ashamed… when we believe we know best… when we think we are alone…when… when… when…, He, as Only He has promised, is near…

    This is me, when my family are hurting or in need or just wanting a hug, I want to draw them close…. I want to help…. How much more the God who created, for His delight, the author of the universe…

    I love you Lord God, thank you for your love and grace, provision and protection, faithfulness and mercy… thank you Lord God for everything.

    Amen.

    Blessings dear hearts. With love…. xxx

    • GramsieSue

      Yes! How much more the God who created! He is near in all those moments. As I wallow in my pity party…He is near and I can turn to Him. Thank you, Tina. What a blessing you are ❤️

  • Thank you for this timely reminder. Our air conditioner broke this week, too. We have had more medical bills this year than ever and we keep hemorrhaging money. It has been wearing me down, but I know God will provide what we need when we need it. He always has.

  • Angie Isbell

    Thank you for sharing your heart. This has been an encouragement to me.

  • Daisy Neely

    Wow…

  • Melanie Bisson

    Great devotional!!

  • I’m sorry this has happened to you.
    Still, we’re all so lucky, despite the challenges we face each day, let it be financial problems, health ones, family ones, peer pressure or nature phenomena who destroy our little life in the time of a heartbeat.
    Still, just the other day, I was outside and the sky was do blue, and the sun was shining upon myself and I just thought “Lord, just by letting me have the opportunity to breathe, to see this, to feel the wind… they’re all reasons to keep going”.
    And we are so blessed compared to people living in war zones, believe me.
    I’m not condemning your anxieties, I have them too. I have moments of weakness. Will God really help me? The little voice in my head whispers, and I get ashamed, because God knows I’m doubting his loving and nurturing character in that moment.

    And we must always know that the Lord never puts us on trials, despite most of the world blaming God for every wickedness of this planet. At least we truly know whre it comes from.

    To end, Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

    • Kay

      Thank you, Daniela!

      • PursuedByHim

        Yes!!!!! Great verse to summarize what Lore wrote!

        Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

        Amen!

  • churchmouse

    Micah 1:2. Every day, Lord, may You find me paying attention to You.

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