Sunday, July 28, 2019

What a Wasp Taught Me About the Love of God

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him."
I John 4:9
(KJV)


Not so long ago, during a time of prayer, I told the Lord that I longed to feel His love in a greater capacity.  When you have been in such severely fiery and multi-faceted trials for such a long, extended period of time, you can start to feel like a lost child—even God-forsaken.  You can start to listen to the lies satan keeps whispering in your ear.  Lies like, "God doesn't love you.  He has abandoned you.  Your failures and shortcomings have caught up with you, and you are being punished.  God has turned His back on you.  You will never make it through this.  God may have helped you in the past, but this time will be different."  On and on and on he drones, and it is very easy in those moments of exhaustion at wit's end corner to start to see some probability in what he is suggesting.  In your heart, you know God's love is never-ending.  You know that Jesus promised to never leave you alone.  You are well-versed on the facts, but what is fact and what is "feeling" starts to overlap, and the lines start to blur, and you begin to lose clarity of vision.  So, in one of those vulnerable moments, I cried out to God, and I asked Him to please let me "feel" His love in a bigger way.

Looking back, I feel guilty for asking such a thing.  He has been SO good to me.  ALL.  MY.  LIFE.  He blessed me with the two best parents I could have possibly ever had, and they taught me early on to trust Him, to pray and seek His face with my whole heart, and to make Him Lord over every part of me.  Their unwavering love for me lasted until the moment they took their last breath of earthly life, and I could count on them always.  He brought the most patient, loving man into my life 32 years ago, and he has stood by my side and is the best husband in the whole world—hands-down.  He miraculously opened my barren womb and sent us the sweetest son after 12 1/2 years of marriage, and this dear boy blesses our lives in countless ways every, single day.  He has given me the best, close-knit, most loyal four siblings that a girl could ask for who, when the chips are down don't count the cost or think twice, knowing I will always do the same for them; precious aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins who feel like siblings; a multitude of the truest, most faithful friends there could ever, ever be; a loving body of Christ to surround and uphold with authenticity and prayer support; and innumerable other blessings besides.  On top of all, He DIED for me.  Laid down His life and shed His precious blood so I could avoid the Hell for eternity that I deserve.  He has always looked out for me and there is no way He could be a better or more loving Father to me, but in my weak and weary exhaustion, I just wasn't "feeling it," and I needed to.  Very badly.  So, I presented that request to Him and then forgot about it until a few nights ago when I found myself admitted to the hospital and facing yet more medical issues.

As I sat there, looking out the 2nd floor window, watching the traffic below, He reminded me,   "Remember when you asked Me to let you feel My love?"  My mind instantly went back to that prayer, and I replied, "Yes, Lord."  He then began to peel back the purpose for my present distress, and a short time later, He sent an angry looking wasp to my hospital room window.  I sat and watched as it continued to pound itself against the thick glass over and over and over again.  It even flew away for a span of time, only to return again several minutes later with seemingly intensified determination!  Oh, how it wanted to break through the glass and get to me!  It was like it was there on a mission to do anything it had to do to penetrate and inflict harm.  It was downright menacing.  How thankful I was for the thickness of that glass because I knew that no matter how hard it tried to carry out its desire and plot to sting, it was NOT going to happen.  There was no way I was in any danger, so I could sit there and watch and not feel a bit of alarm.

I think you probably know where I am going with this.  The precious Holy Spirit began to open my eyes and speak and make me see that my current circumstances, however unpleasant and terrifying, were presenting Him a bigger opportunity to demonstrate His great love for me by protecting me IN the trial, and no matter how hard satan tries to destroy me and get to me, there is a huge, thick barrier of protection between me and the enemy, and I do not need to feel one bit of alarm.  "Just like I close doors that no man can open, I also close doors that satan cannot open," He went on.  "No matter how hard he tries to penetrate through the protection I have around you, he will never be able to do more than I allow."

Talk about feeling God's love!  Oh, it blessed my soul to sit there and watch that angry, persistent wasp!  To sit there and watch him struggle with all his might to break through something that will never be broken by the pounding of wasp wings yielded a profound and unforgettable spiritual lesson.  Peace washed over my spirit as I waited for results from the MRI I had only moments before.  I KNEW in that moment that even though God has allowed some hard, hard trials, He has continually lavished His love and favor upon my little family and me over and over again.  When He gave us the word "favor" as our 2019 word of the year, favor is exactly what He meant.  Not absence of trials, but HIS LOVE demonstrated in such observable, tangible, undeniable ways.

If life were a bed of roses and trial-free, how would He ever show His protecting power?  How would we ever really recognize His love if we were so accustomed to perpetual bliss?  Would we even feel a need for God at all?  Would we ever know the slightest extent of the deep-settled peace and springing joy that comes from spending an hour in His presence?  Would He ever have the opportunity to reveal what true favor means?  What kind of communion or intimacy could we ever share with Jesus Christ if we never shared in the drinking of His bitter cup?  How could we experience healing if we never needed it?

In my last post, I talked about how satan came before the Lord and asked His permission to test Job.  If there is any doubt in anyone's mind concerning whether or not spiritual warfare is real, my unsolicited advice would be to read Job 1:6-12 and Job 2:1-7.  It reveals two of the most remarkable conversations you will ever read—God and satan speaking directly to one another, having two straightforward conversations about a man God described as "blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."  Can you imagine how it would feel to have the God of heaven speak such words and realize He was talking about you?

In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

In Zechariah 3:1-2, we read, "And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.  And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee."

In each of the examples above, there was a very real and intense spiritual battle going on.  God's faithful ones versus satan himself.  Job underwent extreme torture at the ruthless hand of satan's evil, Peter was satan's target, and Joshua the high priest stood before the Lord with satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

In each case, there was a powerful demonstration of God's love that caused Him to rise up in strong defense of Job, Peter, and Joshua.  They were His children, and He would NOT leave them to the will of their arch enemy.  Think about it.  When you hear that someone is coming against your child, what rises first?  Is it not the deep, abiding love you have for them?  What could ever stop you from defending them because of that love?  Wild horses can't stop the love of a parent, and if we then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children, how much more shall our Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?  Matthew 7:11

God's love is stronger than satan's tactics.  God did allow Job to be sorely tested and tried, but he did not allow satan to touch Job's life.  In the end, God blessed Job with twice what he had before satan attacked him.  Jesus informed Peter that satan wanted to have him and sift him as wheat, but He went on to say that He, Himself had prayed for Peter.  Peter went through a serious testing period, but in the end, he emerged victorious.  Joshua was resisted and tormented by satan, but the Lord Himself rose up and rebuked satan on Joshua's behalf.

"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."  Isaiah 59:19

After a total of six medical tests, I heard such wonderful words of life the other day.  They sounded something like this, "Everything is clear!  You can go home!"  Oh, Thank YOU, Jesus!!!  I lost count of the times I have praised Jesus in the presence of medical staff over the past few months.  I wonder how many times they hear that, and more importantly, how many times does our precious Lord hear it?  I don't ever want to be like the nine lepers whose lives were totally transformed without the slightest word of thanks to the One Who turned their whole world around.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that things could have turned out so, so differently SO many times, not only for me, but for my dear husband and son.  I truly have NO words to praise Him for His great, abiding, deep, overwhelming, reckless love for me, yes, even undeserving, unworthy me.  Oh, how I praise Him!



"Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me,
You have been so, so good to me.
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me,
You have been so, so kind to me.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God!
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah.

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me,
You have been so, so good to me.
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me,
You have been so, so kind to me.

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God!
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine.
And I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah.

There's no shadow You won't light up,
Mountain You won't climb up,
Coming after me.
There's no wall You won't kick down,
Lie You won't tear down,
Coming after me.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God!
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine.
And I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah!
Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson

ALL glory, honor, and praise to our dear and loving Lord for ALL He has done for me.  I am beyond undeserving, and yet He loves me anyway.


"Thank You, dear, precious Lord, for orchestrating the meeting between the wasp and me.  Thank You, for your endless mercy upon one who has failed you so many, many times, yet who loves you with all the love in my heart!  I raise a hallelujah in the presence of my enemies! Thank You, Jesus!"

Raise A Hallelujah - Bethel Music

Praying for you, dear readers, and grateful beyond words for your continued prayers and loving encouragement.  I love and appreciate you all so very much!  "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."  Psalm 118:17   Praise GOD to be alive!

28 comments:

  1. Dearest Cheryl: I feel like I've not been in touch for so long and have missed completely all that has been happening with you! I'm praising God for the good news you've received and am not sure why you were in the hospital, but pray that all is good. You have been on my heart and mind and in my prayers! I am always thinking of you! I have not written on my blog (except for book reviews) for so long - I'm hoping to get that rectified soon. God bless you and your family always! Much love and blessings to you!

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    1. Oh, sweet friend! I completely understand and have been so out of touch with so many, also. I think of you so often and am continuing to pray for you and trust alongside you that all will be well with you. Life stays so busy for us all, and we just have to do things as we can, with no guilt. I hope we can catch up soon, but until then, know that you are in my prayers and thoughts, and I send much love and many blessings back to you today!

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  2. Cheryl, I LOVE that analogy about the wasp...when I first read the title, i thought, "Oh no! Cheryl was stung by a wasp!" I'm so glad it turned out that he was on the other side of the glass, and you were protected, just like we are when we're wrapped up in Jesus' everlasting arms! Praise the Lord for your good report! Many blessings to you and your sweet family!

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    1. Yes, praise the dear Lord, that wasp was on the other side of the glass! Oh, I do praise Jesus with you for the many answers to prayer and ALL He has done. He is SO worthy! I trust all is well with you today, dear friend, and thank the Lord so much for you and your prayers and friendship. Sending much love and many blessings to you today!

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  3. And to think that a wasp could teach such an amazing lesson! God doesn't waste anything, does He? So glad to hear you are doing well, Cheryl. Prayers continue!

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    1. No, He surely doesn't waste anything. I think often of that Scripture that "all things work together for good to them that love God." It doesn't say that everything that happens in our lives will BE good or pleasant, but it says it will all work together for good - the good, the bad, and the unmentionable - all of it. Thank you ever so much for your precious words of encouragement and prayers, sweet friend. You are such a blessing to me! Many blessings to you today, also!

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  4. Cheryl, what a heartfelt post full of the praiseworthiness of our dear Lord and Saviour. I'm so glad that all of your tests are clear. I'm praised God for that right along with you. I pray that you continue to feel His hand upon you. Thank you for sharing this with us as a reminder to me that even in what seems to be trying and awful circumstances, His hand is still on us always.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Oh, how I praise God for all of the good reports, also, sweet friend! He is such a mighty, awesome God who absolutely answers the prayers and heart wrenched cries of His children! I am SO thankful He is my Father, and He is always there. I am also so very grateful for you, your precious friendship, prayers, and encouragement. I SO hope your injection went well and you are getting relief. Continuing to pray for you, too, and trusting Jesus to send healing and relief from your pain and the wildfires and all you are going through. Much love and many blessings to you today!

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  5. I so love your honesty and truthfulness in your feelings and emotions, Cheryl. You always make me feel like you’re just one of us. The story of the wasp was such a great one. We are all just humans, trying our very best to understand and love the Lord with all our heart. Sometimes our mind (or is it Satan?) that plays tricks on us. Your commitment and praise to Our Father is beautiful! I’m so thankful for answered prayers for you! Alleluia and thanks be to God. Prayers continue for you and your family.

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    1. Your words are words of deep encouragement and comfort, dear friend. Thank you ever so much for your steadfast friendship and for all of your prayers for us. God is SO faithful to all of us. I am continuing to pray for you, too, and am believing for many answers to prayer. When we share in one another's heartaches, it makes the victories all the more sweet because we can sure in them together, too. I am praying for Connor and your daughter and you, also, of course, and trusting God to send comfort and help in every moment of need. Much love to you today!

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  6. I am thrilled 'all is clear' such good news. Take care.

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  7. Hello Dear Cheryl,Thank God for His promise to never leave or forsake us but go with Us always even to the end..He did it again for you and as I said keep watching for other favors well again He was there for you.What a blessing to know in our loneliest moments Here He comes and step up beside us with always a message of hope and love..I loved the story of the wasp trying to get you..That is as the enemy of our soul trying to break all ways to reach Us but nothing can go through the blood of Christ unless He allows it to happen..And if he allows it he still is in control!! Cheryl, your hard battles are not without a reason..Your message of hope,love and deliverance is reaching out to many and His word will never return unto Him void..Be of good cheer..I will rejoice with you when the hard battles will die down for awhile and let all of you get a second breathe..I am praying for a report of good health and good job in a soon Victory report..Till then I will keep all of you close in my heart and prayers sending many hugs your way and may Jesus give all 3 of you a huge Jesus hug today.. Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Yes, you surely did say that, and I take such comfort in the assurance of God's continued favor. Oh, He certainly is so very faithful to us, isn't He? Praise God, you are so right! NOTHING can go through the blood of Jesus! Nothing can cross the bloodline, and oh, how grateful I am for Jesus' blood and to know it has covered my every sin and continually remains over all that pertains to me! I am keeping you close in heart, also, dear, faithful friend, and I trust things are going much better for you. Keep encouraged and know that you are so loved and appreciated. Many blessings to you today!

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  8. Glad you were blessed with good news. May that barrier of protection forever be with you.

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    1. Yes, amen, and amen, sweet sister! God bless you and keep you always in His care, also.

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  9. Oh Dear Cheryl, what an incredible analogy for the Lord to give you in that moment! I just love how He sends pictures of His great love and care for us in such unique and amazing ways that teach us in the moment just how He loves us so! SO very thankful for those words of joy - all is well! The Lord is so faithful to care for us in each and every moment of distress that comes to us, and the enemy can't get to us with His faithful protection, how thankful I am for it too! Praising the Lord with you for this place of peace that we can be in the midst of the storm, and yet know that all is well! Blessings to you sweet friend, continuing in prayer for you and your family!!!!!

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear friend, for your precious friendship, support, encouragement, and prayers. I want you to know that I am continuing to lift you in prayer, also, and I hope to email you soon. I can't thank the Lord enough for all He has done in all of our lives and yes, for that steadfast protection and covering. He is SO faithful! Sending much love and gratitude to you today!

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  10. Good morning, sweet sister! I love this post for so many reasons. I love your transparency in sharing your doubts. Oh, haven't all of us who follow Christ dealt with the same doubts? The enemy desires one thing: and that is to harm us and destroy our relationship with Jesus. however, we have a High Priest who understands our weakness and who is ever interceding on our behalf. Just as He prayed for Peter, I envision Him praying on your behalf. Isn't that exciting? To think that our merciful and beautiful Savior would not just hold us in the palm of His hand, but that He also would pray for us. We have so much to learn about the goodness of God. Each time we share our experience of God's goodness we help ourselves and others to move closer to full trust in Him. I love this life of love He has given us and the ministry we have to one another. I love your blog, love the wisdom God has given to you to be shared with all of us who read your words. God is using you in a big way, my friend! I am smiling big as I finish this comment. So happy to hear the good news of your MRI. Rejoicing in Him! Hugs and love, Nancy

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    1. Oh, yes, it is SO exciting to think about Jesus praying on our behalf! Oh, just the image of that and to know it is truly happening is overwhelming and makes me love Him more than ever before in my life! Your precious words just made my whole day today and were such an uplift and inspiration to me, my dear friend. Now you have ME smiling big as I type this response to you! It is such a wonderful thing to be able to share in one another's victories - when we have invested time and energy praying for one another, we can all equally share those victories, too. What a blessing to be a part of this amazing blogging community and to have such love and concern one for another! Sending many hugs and much love back to you today, dear Nancy!

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  11. Dearest Cherry, I am so sorry I am so late in commenting on this amazing post of God’s love and protection. I am so sorry you had to be hospitalized, but praise God everything was clear. “Joy did come in the morning” my sweet friend. God patiently teaches us through hardships as well as the good times. You use these experiences to bless us with beautiful writings that lift up the name of Jesus! Blessings always my friend!

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    1. Oh, please don't feel bad for being later to comment - no matter when your comments come through, they bless me in such a huge way! I am so thankful for your dear words of encouragement and your many prayers. YES, dear friend, joy DID come in the morning. God had given me that very verse a while back, and He has come through so many, many times since then with that abundant joy. Thank you for these kind words and for your continual blessing of friendship and fellowship in Jesus. May He bless you and your dear family today in a big way!

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  12. Cheryl, praise God for the good news ! What an awesome God we serve . Amazing what a mean old hateful wasp can teach isn’t it ? Love the analogy here . God surely rejoices over your faithfulness Cheryl . Praying for you dear lady and there’s no doubt in my mind that our Lord has you in the palm of his hand . Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Yes, it sure is amazing! God uses all things to bring about spiritual lessons and understanding, and it is so rewarding to dig out those nuggets of encouragement and hope! I love Isaiah 45:3 (I will be publishing a post on that soon, Lord willing!) "I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Thank you for your continual support and loving concern and friendship, sweet friend. Many hugs and blessings and much love back to you today!

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  13. Dear Sweet Friend! Praising God for His healing upon your life and for sending that wasp. What an excellent word picture you have drawn from that experience!! God is using you in sooo many ways! I am so thankful for your willingness to continue blogging about those experiences, even when those experiences have taken a lot of energy out of you. But you continue on, in the mighty strength of the Lord. For indeed He has shown Himself faithful as your Provider and your Shield.

    Praising God for His protection over your life and for all the ways He is using you to encourage the fellowship of Believers.

    Your obedience is such an inspiring testimony.

    Sending you much love and gratitude.

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    1. Oh, dear friend! You are so right - sometimes the writing of such draining experiences is so difficult, as you so well know, but I believe God allows such things to happen for us to use and encourage one another. YOU have done that for me so many, many times, and I am so grateful to have you in my life, dear, faithful friend. Thank you SO much for every time you have lifted my spirits and brought such sweet encouragement my way. Sending much love and gratitude back to you today!

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  14. What a powerful visual, Cheryl! And what beautiful reminders from His Word too, that He defends His children. Thank you for sharing the comfort and encouragement God has given you with us. May God continue to shower you in encouragement and also lift away any shame the enemy lays at your feet for your honest and open heart before the LORD. He hears our cries. Crying out to Him for you today also. God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you.

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    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet sister. Your words were such an encouragement and blessing to me today. May the Lord bless you abundantly! I have been trying to comment on your blog, but I can't find a place to do that. Please know that you are such an inspiration to me!

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