Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend as you prepare for Christmas. I have a rich choc cake in the oven now and soon I am going to Aldi’s and my dermatology appointment. Later we have a Christmas party for those in our apartment, and bringing white elephant gifts etc. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 We may forgive others who have hurt us and even ourselves for our responses but do we need to forgive God? Of course, we don’t have to forgive Him for His sake but maybe there are times we do for our own sake. Negative thoughts of God may surface with questions like, Why can’t I conceive a baby when that young teen who is pregnant rids her body of the baby by abortion? Or God why didn’t you spare me the accident by the drunk driver that hit me and leaves me crippled? At such times, the God we love may feel like the enemy that didn’t seem to do anything at the time.
   But we are wrong. He is right with us suffering as much as we do, or perhaps even more. Instead of ranting about “Where were you, Lord? I needed you!” We can rest assured he was there hurting with us. Author Lewis Smedes writes that God is with us and in our pain that hurts him more than us. He also says that God was not on a leave of absence when Jesus was crucified but He was in Jesus, suffering the pains of vulnerable love. This love goes to great lengths to be willing to forgive even the people that cause the greatest anguish!
  Smedes goes on to tell us we can look at our pains as flecks on an eternal screen. He gives the example of looking at the mish-mash of different colored tiles at a shopping mall. They don’t seem arranged in any pattern until you go up to the balcony and look from high above to the floor. Then we see the beautiful mosaic in view and see the grand design. Or it may be like paintings that up close we don’t see the overall beauty or how the dark shadows make the light seem brighter. We have to step away back and look at it as a whole.  It’s much like our lives that have pain and struggles at times, but later we can see God’s grace and mercy in the midst of what happened.
 I was reading today from Psalm 34 and David says that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears hear our cry. And in verse 18 he declares, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” We have a God who hears our cries and near to us in whatever we may go through.

Challenge for today: Thank the Lord that He has never abandoned you and always hears your cries.

Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy