(Dee) My business manager, Jill, is married to Keith Johnson, a farmer. Recently when she arrived at my home she looked out and saw that it had begun to rain. She let out a little cry of joy, saying, “Praise God,” and walked out on the back porch. I knew what she was feeling, reveling in the steady downpour. She knows how hard her husband works every day from dawn to dusk, and she has also seen all that work wiped out by a devastating drought.
In other words, Jesus, as the Word, is here with us and is filled with wisdom, power, and comfort. And as He, through His Spirit and His Word, falls upon hearts eager to receive, He cannot help but produce fruit. Hosea talked about the Lord coming to us “like the spring rains” (Hosea 6:3). Likewise, Isaiah extends the analogy, and in his picture is an exciting truth:
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
— Isaiah 55:10–11
Do you see? Once rain and snow have started falling, they never suddenly reverse their course. In the same way, once The Word has started speaking into our hearts, it doesn’t all of a sudden, like a child, say, “I take it back.”
Once He has started a new creative work in us, He will bring it to completion.
(Kathy) The Spirit has certainly been moving upon my heart, and often He has used His written Word to rain on me and bring forth fruit in my life. I’ve often told my friends and even my audiences that being in my forties has been a delight. My twenties were painful. My thirties were wobbly. And in my forties, I’m catching my stride a little.
I love how the Lord uses years to mature us and let us live well into our stories. We truly begin to have a testimony — and our testimonies can bring healing and comfort to others because they show the faithfulness of the Lord.
I want to tell you about a time when God used the Word in my life powerfully. In 1984, I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I had a full-blown eating disorder, I was struggling in getting accustomed to the culture of Nashville (as an Italian New Yorker, I was a minority of one), and I was a national artist but a babe in Jesus. A relationship had just ended painfully. Many days were filled with tears. As a matter of fact, my roommate, Allyson, dried my eyes and put me on the plane for my next concert, when I just wanted to stay under the covers.
I remember one night going to a concert in Nashville, hoping to find some comfort and strength, but instead I ran into the one who had just broken my heart. As many of you can understand, it’s an excruciating experience to encounter an ex, who still means so much to you, in a crowded room. Your thoughts go something like this: Oh, there he is — should I ignore him? Should I go over and say hi? All the while your stomach is churning, and you feel like throwing up.
While you are processing all of this, he is laughing, being social, and acting like you don’t even exist. You may try to reach out (and I did, that night), for you know his tender side, but he treats you, not as one who is loved, not even as a dear friend, but as an irritation. After my encounter, I sat through the concert devastated, with the deepest ache in my heart. I tossed and turned that night. Yet somehow (the grace of God!), I still had the strength to go to church on that Sunday morning. I was weary, and I was drooping like a flower in need of water, but I was there. And it was there that I received the wonderful living words of God.
Brown Bannister, the producer of some of my recordings, was leading worship at my church back then. He is so talented and so gentle, and the hymns were pouring over my soul like a gentle rain.
I opened to Psalm 34 while everyone was singing. Oh how I needed to hear His Word! Just then I felt as if the Lord said to me, I want you to get up in front of the congregation and read this psalm out loud.
How could He require that of me when I was in such a state of despair? But I knew it was God. Lord, I can’t even lift up my head, and You want me to get up in front of the church? I kept my head down, took a deep breath, and thought, Well… You’ll have to give me a sign.
Almost immediately, Brown said, “Hey, as we’re singing, let’s speak God’s Word to one another.”
I looked up in shock. Could it be any clearer? Though my broken heart weighed me down, I managed to stand up. As I made my way to the altar, I kept thinking, God, You never cease to amaze me. I set my Bible on the podium. I remember how my hands were shaking as I turned to the psalm.
I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise shall always be on my lips. — Psalm 34:1
I could feel the tears welling up and my throat tightening. I read:
This poor [woman] called, and the LORD heard [her]; He saved [her] out of all [her] troubles… The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry… The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.
— Psalm 34:6, Psalm 34:15, Psalm 34:17-18
I choked the words out through my tears, and I knew that I was boldly and intentionally standing on those promises. When we are going through trials, sometimes we think we’ll never get out. We think we will never see the light of day, but I have found that weeping does just last for the night, and joy comes in the morning. My heart, in many areas, has been slowly and deeply mended and healed. He has heard me. He does hear me. He will deliver me out of my troubles.
So often we want our hearts to be instantly freed from the pain. We want the situation remedied, the relationship reconciled, and the addiction removed. But we must trust His timing and His heart on how “to deliver us out of our troubles.” Just as the spring rains cause the seed to grow, so will The Word, but it is in His time, and in His way.
Excerpted with permission from Forever in Love with Jesus by Kathy Triccoli and Dee Brestin, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Whatever you’re going through right now, you can stand on the promises of God and know He is faithful. He hears our prayers and sees our pain so we can trust Him with our whole heart in the waiting and healing process. Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily