My birthday is this week.
Despite the fact that it isn't directly related to my parents, like one of their birthdays, an anniversary, etc., my birthday always seems to be one of the more difficult special occasions for me. I think it serves as a reminder for me that this is yet another year since they have been gone. Another milestone, another time of life that they aren't here to see.
This year is no different.
I've been missing them more than usual over the last week. I've thought about them constantly, dreamed of them more than one night, and cried tears of loss for the first time in a while.
Through all of this, I've been praying and asking God for the comfort that He always faithfully gives me during these times.
As I was thinking and praying one day, God took me back to the night my parents were taken from us...
I was sitting on our porch step, still in utter shock. I had just gotten the news an hour or so before. By this time my brother and sister-in-law and some of our closest friends had arrived. As everyone grieved and dealt with the shock in their own ways, I began to silently pray, trying to process all that was happening. A few moments later, without really realizing what I was doing, I began to sing aloud the words of an old Southern Gospel song.
There, within hours of learning that both of my parents were gone, in a moment when God Himself would have completely understood if I had a burst of anger, instead I began to sing the words,
"I still trust You, Lord. I still trust You, Lord.
I know You're able to guide me through this dry, barren land.
And when I don't know which way to turn or go,
I still trust You, Lord, so let me hold to Your hand."
As the Lord took me back to that moment in my memory this week, I felt like He was asking, "Do you still?"
As I processed all of this, I couldn't help whispering, "Jesus, I still do. I still trust You. I still believe You. I still choose You. I still do."
You see, in the middle of the madness of grief, shock, or just life in general, sometimes we turn from God, and sometimes we run to Him like never before. I tend to do the latter, I run to God most when I'm most in need.
In the midst of our need, it's sometimes easier to make promises like, "I'll trust You no matter what" or "I'll follow You regardless," but the real test comes when the darkness begins to clear. When life begins to return to normal, when God's deliverance is complete and we're free from the madness, we can sometimes forget the promises that we made out of desperation. At least I know I do. Maybe I'm the only one?
All I know is that sometimes I need God to bring these reminders. Instead of constantly needing to re-promise, "God, I'll trust You," "God, I'll believe You," I want God to just continuously ask, "Do You still?" And even if it takes me a little while to get there, I want to be able to respond, "I still do. Maybe it was more difficult for a while. Maybe I wasn't as focused for a time. But I still do."
I hadn't realized the importance of that tiny little 5 letter word in my life until the last few years. Every time I turn around I'm needing to trust God, to depend on Him, to choose Him, and instead of saying, "God, I trust You, I depend on You, I choose You," like it's something new that I'm trying or deciding, I want to be able to say, "It isn't always easy but, yes, Jesus, I still do."
Maybe you've been there. Maybe you understand. And maybe today Jesus is asking you the same thing that He has been asking me, "Do you still?"
Do you still trust Him?
Do you still want Him?
Do you still need Him?
Do you still choose Him?
Do you still believe Him?
Do you still _____?
Fill in the blank. Whoever Jesus is to you, however He has been there the most in Your life, whatever promises you have made to Him, maybe He is asking you today, "Do you still?"
If you're not sure, that's okay. He knows. He understands. He isn't asking cover you in guilt, He is asking to guide you back.
Jesus can never ask a question that He doesn't already know the answer to. He always asks for your benefit. So, if He is asking, "Do you still," He is trying to help you to the place where you can honestly say, "Jesus, I still do."
Go. Get there. Run to Him. Be with Him. Be still and know that He is God and that He is still whatever you need.
Published by Bethany Boynton