When Life Hurts, God Where are You?

I’ve learned more through the valleys of life than I have from the mountain peaks. For me, one of the big lessons has been that God is very present, even when we’re completely unaware of Him; He’s present.

???????????????????????????????????????When He seems distant, it’s we who have made Him so. We can keep Him at arms length, or separated from our lives by great distances, or beckon Him near by drawing near to Him.

To the homeless who wander the streets, the convict, the gangster, and the child–to young and old, to saint and sinner, the Lord gives the same invitation:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls–Matthew 11:28-29.

I’ve learned that He’s always available. In the mountain tops, He’s with us, and in the valleys, He’s with us.

One can be present, yet not near. It’s true. For instance, you and I can sit in the same room, but remain emotionally distant. The Lord is constantly present, not constantly near.

Whether He is near to me depends upon me, not my circumstances. And whether He’s near to you depends on you, not what you’re going through. He may feel distant, but this doesn’t mean He’s not present.

In a sea of anxiety, fear, depression or grief, the Lord often seems to be hundreds of miles away. But does this mean that He’s left us? Certainly not.

He is present.

Even in troubled seas of life, when it looks like there’s no way to survive the storm, He is present. Even when your heart feels like it’s breaking and you wonder, God where are you? He is present.

The Lord doesn’t offer us personalized explanations for why certain times in life are so troubled and painful. But, as a Father coaxes His children into His arms, He invites all to come to Him and to have the heaviness of suffering lifted from our shoulders–He extends His love. He beckons to the one weighed down by trouble, “Come to Me, I will give you rest. In Me, you will find rest for your souls.”

In the valleys, I learned to reach out with my heart to Him. In sorrow, I discovered that even when overwhelmed with grief, when I felt nothing but loss, He was with me. It was in moments of weakness, not in times of jubilation, that I learned to depend upon Him, so that I could stand with Him on the mountain.

There’s one more lesson that I learned from being in the valley. In the difficult places, I discovered how to walk closely with the Lord.

Have you thought about what an incredible invitation God gives us each day? He says, “Come to me…” And “Draw near to Me…” The tense of these words are present on-going. So, it’s as if He is saying to you now, Come to Me and keep coming to Me. Draw near to Me and keep drawing near to Me.

His is a never ending invitation to daily connect deeply with Him and to daily enter into His healing love. What a gift!

If all around seems hopeless, then you’re in the valley that I’ve spoken of here and you have especially great need of the Lord.

He is present.

It might not seem like it’s possible, but better days will come, days when clouds of trouble have blown away and the crystal clear sky is the bluest blue that you’ve ever seen. When life is better, take what you learned in the valley and put it to use on the mountain.

Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee

Lyrics from the Hymn, Close to Thee by Frances J. Crosby, 1874

Draw near to the Lord all who are on the mountains. Draw near to the Lord all who are in the valleys. In Him, there’s rest for your souls.

James 4:8; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Matthew 11:28-29

Pamela Koefoed, http://www.pamelakoefoed.com

Have You Heard about the Most Potent Remedy for Grief?

FullSizeRender-2A very exciting part of being God’s child is that we can be with our Heavenly Father in a special way anytime…while we’re still in this world.
It’s simple, really. All we need do is push the pause button, get off the hamster wheel of busyness, and spend focused time with Him.
Even in the darkest storms of life, we can maneuver through emotional upheaval and make our place at His “throne of Grace.”
When we do so, we deliberately choose to enter into the Presence of the source of the purest, most powerful love–with God Himself.
I’m confident that there’s no more potent remedy for an unfulfilled life, no quicker healing for grief, and no greater means by which a life is transformed, than by the love that God pours into the hearts of those who sincerely seek Him.
Jeremiah 29:13; Ephesians 3:14-21
God bless you, Pamela

 

Thousands Converge from all 50 States to Meet with the Lord in Washington D.C.

Thousands of people from all 50 states have converged in Washington D.C. on the National Mall to seek the Lord at an event called, Awaken the Dawn.

If ever Americans needed to come together to worship the Lord and pray, it’s now. Could there be any better location than in the heart of our country?

Awaken the Dawn, October 6th-9th, is a gigantic worship & prayer meeting. Tents from all 50 states are set up. Night and day prayer has begun.

Because of a busy schedule, I’m unable to travel across country to participate in person, but I can pray from home, and I encourage you to do the same.

For more information about Awaken the Dawn, visit http://www.awakenthedawn.org/

We will gather as one voice, from different backgrounds, not around speakers, but around the presence of God and the worth of Jesus–Awaken the Dawn

Five Important Lessons

Five important lessons that I’ve learned from my walk with the Lord:

  • Impatience will slow your progress. It demonstrates a lack of wisdom and faith.
  • Trying to take shortcuts will hinder your journey. It demonstrates independence from the Lord.
  • Allowing worldliness to remain in your life will subtract from a meaningful relationship with Jesus.
  • Inconsistent intimacy with Jesus equals little to no anointing for ministry.
  • Salvation is two part: He already did His part and we are instructed to do ours, to live as though we are saved. Philippians 2:12; 2 Cor. 7:1

Hidden to Meet with the Lord

I’m hidden for a short while…again.

Something I’ve learned over the years about my walk with the Lord is that His special offer to meet with Him never expires, and the very purpose for which He has created me is fulfilled only through seasons of living Hidden in Him.

There’s a favorite room in the rambling old farm house that my husband and I call home. I study and write in that room, but what I especially enjoy in that quiet space is being with the One who loves with the purest and deepest of loves.

After five weeks of traveling and ministry, I’m glad for the Lord’s invitation to come aside to be with Him. My soul and tired body need a hidden life; being with Him will rejuvenate both.

Coming aside from daily routines to meet with the Lord is the way to a closer relationship with Him.

Do you understand what I’m talking about here? I haven’t traveled to a remote location to be cloistered away with the Lord. I’m not wearing a nun habit. It’s not that I spend day after day hidden in my room away from earthly activities, and hour after hour deep in prayer. Please, don’t misunderstand.

There are people who are called to a life like that, but that’s not what I’m talking to you about. What I’m sharing with you here is that there is a way to a deeper Christian walk and union with the Lord. In more than two decades of following Jesus, I’ve found that what’s needed for this is time alone with Jesus. Daily. It’s that simple.

This isn’t a religious requirement.

For many people, being alone with the Lord to pray, worship, or to sit quietly in His Presence is the best part of each day. This is what I’ve found. Prayer is not a religious requirement. It’s an invitation to walk through the door that God has opened to you. That door leads to Him.

If you have decided to step aside for a little while, to be in a hidden place with the Lord, distractions will nip at your heels.

This nearly always happens to me. Just as I’m headed to my favorite place, I remember that I promised to return a phone call, or that I didn’t finish the last article, and I think that doing so will take just a few minutes of my time.

What do you imagine happens? When I submit to these distractions, more time is consumed than I had anticipated and the block of time that I had is gone.

Prayer is the one thing that will reveal to you the things in your life that have a hold on you.

You can hide away in a cabin in the middle of a forest, at the top of a hill, where your cell phone and computer won’t work and still be restless and distracted. That restlessness is not from the Lord. He’s the God of peace, not of constant mental and physical activity.

Jesus said, when you pray, go into your room and shut the door. Pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly”–Matt. 6:6

In Matthew 6:6, we find Jesus’ instructions concerning prayer. When you pray, go into your room and shut the door. We shut the door to close out distractions, then we Pray to our Father who is in the secret place; and our Father who sees in secret will reward us openly.

There may be a battle to get to the “Secret Place,” that place where you’re mentally and emotionally present with the Lord. Whatever needs to be overcome to get there, He’s worth it. Push through. Turn off your phone. Tell your family that you’re taking a little rest. Close your door. You need to be with Him.

When you’re in your room behind your closed door, that hidden place will reveal to you the things in your life that have a hold of you. You can be in the middle of worship and suddenly a thought crosses your mind of something you’d like to do, need to do, must do. Those things that pop up in your thoughts are trying to dominate your life. My friends, what you don’t rule will rule over you. Be in dominion.

Not everyone will understand and not everyone walking on the journey with you today will continue on the journey with you tomorrow.

The “Secret Place” is a prayer closet built for two–you and the Lord. It’s not my intention to shock you, but some of you will be surprised to learn that there aren’t crowds of people knocking down the door to get in.

Following Christ and particularly coming aside from a busy life to be with Him in prayer is counter-cultural, which means that it’s not appealing to the masses, but it’s greatly valued by the Lord.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…

The people you know may not be interested in following Christ to the extent that you are. Not everyone will understand your journey, and those walking on your journey with you today might take a different course tomorrow, but you are not alone.

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Throughout the ages, men and women have found the way to the Secret Place to meet with the Lord, these include: Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Isaiah, Elijah, Daniel, Deborah, Samuel, David, Esther, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Anna, Mary (the sister of Martha), John the Baptist, Priscilla, John the Apostle and Paul.

I’m in a hidden place for a little while. This means that I’ve stepped aside in the midst of a very full and busy life to be with the One who loves with perfection. Not everyone understands this journey and that’s okay.

Pamela

Professor of Evolution Stunned by Christian Testimony

Last February, on my way to minister in Australia, I spent 13 hours on the plane beside a Professor of Evolution.

A week later, while touring an Australian wildlife sanctuary on one of my days off, I met the author of a book disproving evolution. I live in Oregon. The Australian author’s book was published in Oregon.

Meeting the professor of Evolution, followed by getting acquainted with the author of a book disproving evolution led me to conclude that neither was coincidental.

Then it happened again.

April 5th, while returning from serving the Lord in North Carolina, my seat number was beside another Professor of Evolution. Imagine my surprise! But then this sort of non-coincidence happens to me so often as to be typical.

“Are you a science teacher?” I said, politely interrupting his reading.

“I’m a professor of Human Evolution,” he said.

“Where at?” I asked.

“New York.”

I told my seat neighbor about sitting beside a professor of evolution on my last international flight. We both agreed that such a thing is so mathematically improbable as to be more than coincidence.

“I’m a Bible teacher,” I told him. (This is what I tell people when they ask, “What do you do?” It’s easily understood and avoids confusion and needing to try to explain my role in the Church to those without the grid to understand.)

The evolution professor gave one silent nod with a look like, “Oh whoopee! Here we go.”

I’m not the preacher that he hoped to never sit beside on a four-and-a-half-hour flight. You know the one. They mesmerize folks with “the Four Spiritual Laws.” As exciting as they may be, that sort of sermonizing doesn’t fit me and I don’t think preaching at people is all that effective outside of church environments.

So, no sermons from me while on the plane. But since the Lord arranged our seating, didn’t He want me to share my hope with the professor?

Before doing so, first I needed to learn why he’s an evolutionist when the evidence of creation by design is everywhere we look. I’m sincerely baffled by what seems obvious to me–every living thing is far too complex and intricate to be the product of evolutionary processes. Adaptation, yes. Evolution, one species into an entirely different species, no.Perplexed by what’s obvious to so many of us, I sought to understand.

My professor neighbor explained his reasoning and stated that his belief in evolution, as well as what’s printed in academic material, is based on unproven hypothesis. Additionally, he said that he believes creation by design also is unproven. He said that he believes that both are based upon stories invented by mankind.

Our conversation helped me understand where he’s coming from. Then when he paused, I invited him to understand where I’m coming from.

“I wasn’t raised in a Christian environment,” I said. “I was a latch key kid–being left alone for hours at a time was my reality. It was normal to be home alone.”

As I spoke, the professor watched my face with interest.

“When I was eight years old, I arrived home from school to an empty house. No one was home but me. My hand was on the front doorknob when I heard someone, who I couldn’t see, tell me to run from my house. There was no-one there.

“I ran to my next door neighbor’s when, before I reached her door, my house exploded into flames. I knew that the One who saved me was the Lord. I had been praying to him every night and, for nights before this happened, I had even asked for His protection.”

I kept my jaw firmly closed, because his surprised reaction totally surprised me, and my jaw wanted to flop open and my eyes wanted to bug out, but I kept them in their place. Relaxed. Calm. Unemotional. His jaw was in his lap…well, not quite, but almost.

As his jaw flopped open, I saw wheels turning in his profoundly intellectual mind. Well, no actual wheels, but his facial expression revealed that at the conclusion of my testimony he was in deep thought, and this blessed me.

Maybe something I said gave him a glimpse at a Christianity that he didn’t know existed or perhaps he’s now questioning his evolution-based theories. I hope both are true. And most of all, I hope that he will ask the Lord, “Lord, if You’re real, like that woman said, then let me know somehow that it’s true.”

Today in worship, it dawned on me that having wrong assumptions hinders what God desires to do with and through us in reaching those around us with His amazing love.

For instance, it’s easy to assume that the Professor of Evolution has zero interest in hearing why I love God.

But isn’t it just as easy to assume that such a person longs to hear about legitimate God-miracles?

The proliferation of bad, depressing, twisted news has created a vacuum waiting to be filled with encouragement, inspiration and hope.

It’s my belief that people everywhere want to encounter good news. Let’s love and honor those around us, and tell them about the time when the Lord helped someone we know, or when He intervened to save our lives, or how He healed us. Or_____. You fill in the blank.

Our experiences matter. When we share them, they make a difference—a big, big difference.

So, I thank our Lord Jesus for delivering me and my sister, when we were children, from not one but 4 house fires, and for seating me next to Professors of Evolution.

Shine your light whenever there’s darkness,

Pamela Koefoed

P.S. When I think about God’s seating arrangement, I’m amused and amazed. After all, I was diagnosed “Learning Disabled” and placed in Special Education classes. But He seated me next to Professors of Evolution. This is far too amazing! Isn’t that just like our Good and Wise Father?

You may be interested in learning more about my story. I’ve written the book, JoyRide, Life, Death and Forgiveness, available at bookstores by request and from Amazon. Please ask your local bookstores to carry it. Readers, your feedback on Amazon helps others to find it in book searches. JoyRide is a thoughtful and helpful gift for anyone working with children.