Just as Jesus calmed the storm on the waters, so he calms the storms in me. Sometimes He speaks loudly to me to make sure I hear Him. Other times, He speaks in whispers to see if I am listening.
Silence is a powerful thing. Last night, I sat in bed feeling overcome with emotions. I've been sick with a cold the past few days, and whenever I'm sick I feel down and lonely. Irrational, I know, but last night was no exception. As I laid in bed trying to write in my journal, I decided instead to turn to my Bible. I've been reading the book of Mark. The intro to Mark in my Bible describes this chapter as a disclosure of Jesus' love, compassion and service to His people. Sometimes, I have a hard time grasping the breadth of God's love for me. He's so far away it seems ruling over the world and taking care of business. How can He love me? What have I done to be deserving of love and mercy?
I am learning through God's word that THAT is the greatness of God's love. I've done nothing to deserve His love. Even as a sinner, Jesus gave His life for me. That is the beauty of grace.
For a long time, I have striven to be a strong, confident woman, but God revealed to me last night that I am like the seed planted among thorns. I hear the word, but the worries of this life - the need for acceptance - come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. As I read Mark 4, I became ashamed and angry at myself. Who wants to be the seed among thorns? Why can't I be stronger? Why can't I be more confident in myself?
Then I was silenced. And I heard God whisper, "Be quiet, Julie. Be still." Let me tell you, when God tells you to shut up, ya shut up! I continued to read my Bible. Even now, the love that God showed me last night brings me to tears because of all the things God could be taking care of in this world at 12 a.m., He chose to speak to me.
In Mark 5:21-34, a woman suffering from 12 years of bleeding believed that if she could just touch Jesus' cloak, she would be healed. As Jesus passed by through the crowd, the woman lightly touched his cloak and "she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." The Bible literally uses the word "freed," not healed or rid of, but freed. No longer prisoner to her sufferings. Whoa..."Realizing the power had gone from Him," Jesus turned and asked "Who touched me?" Now the crowd was thick, but Jesus kept looking to see who touched him. The woman came forward trembling and told Jesus the truth. I love this part...Jesus said "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Can't you just feel the compassion he felt for this woman. No? I guess its on of those "you had to be there" kind of things or maybe, you'll just have to read it for yourself and see.
Meanwhile, a child was dying nearby. The friends of the family told them, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother with the teacher." But Jesus ignored them and said, "Don't be afraid; Just believe." Interesting. He could have said, "Don't listen to them, I'm Jesus Christ, yo. Haven't you seen the miracles I've performed?" But no, He told them to not be afraid and to "just believe." I heard God say to me, "Don't be afraid, Julie. Just believe."
Reading on in Mark 6:47-50, Jesus had gone up to a mountain to pray while His disciples waited for him on a boat. As night fell, the boat was in the middle of the lake and Jesus was alone on land. Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. The disciples were frightened, but Jesus said "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." God whispered, "Take courage, Julie. It is I."
As I sat in silence trying to understand what God was saying to me, I heard "My dear Julie, you are looking for strength and confidence in all the wrong places. Don't you know that you are weak, but I am strong. Find strength and confidence in Me. Believe in Me." Then peace came over me. Nonetheless, an old song came to mind. "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me..." I sang that song over and over to myself. "I am weak, but He is strong."
Find strength and confidence in God. Why didn't I think of that? Maybe because God needed to tell me and show me His love. He knows what I really need after all, and its not acceptance from others. Not only did he create me and save me from my sin, but my life/my story is also in His hands. He is in control, and He works through all things for my best interest. He knows that what I really need is more God. So, I will continue to be quiet, take courage and just believe.