Kept In Golden Vials

Have you ever noticed that there are several verses in God’s Word that mentions “a sweet smelling odor?”  In the Old Testament there are verses referring to offerings to God being a sweet odor to Him.  In the New Testament Apostle Paul informs us that we who know Him are a sweet odor.  Christ is the sweetest of all for the perfect sacrifice of His own life for us.  There’s another verse in Revelation 5:8 that reads, concerning us, “…before the Lamb were harps and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints.”  

Reading that always reminds me of God’s deep love for me and for you.  Has the question ever floated in your mind, “Does God really care about the mundane things in my life?”  I’ve heard people say that there are far more important matters throughout the world for Almighty God to take notice of than individual lives simply going through a hard time.  Not true.  We know that’s not true from the above verse in the book of Revelation.  It clearly states that our prayers are a sweet odor to Him.

Elsewhere in Revelation we read that God keeps our tears in a bottle.  Why would He do that —  keep our tears in a bottle and our prayers in golden vials? Things are only kept in precious places when they are valuable.  Does God care about the mundane situations in our lives? Does He care when we cry?  Does He take all that much notice when we call out to Him for help?  We can definitely conclude that, yes, He does; so much so that He stores them away for safekeeping.

The next time you wonder if your seemingly small difficulties or your deep tragedies are important to God in the light of world tragedies, remind yourself that your every prayer is so precious He keeps it in golden vials.   They are sweet to Him.  He treasures everything that matters to you.

When Someone You Love Is Hurting

For the past several weeks I have joined in the prayers for a child who is very ill.  His family members are distraught in heart and weary in body.  Doctors can’t find a cause; each day is filled with unanswered questions.  Some of the family are devout Christians; naturally, they pray for healing for this little one they love so much.  So far — nothing.

How difficult to watch someone you love, hurting so much, and you are helpless to make a difference.  You pray, even beg God, to please, please do something.  In writing this blog,  I wish I had a definitive answer to life’s dilemmas.  I do not.  I can only share what I do when I ,too, have to watch those I love suffer in great pain and difficult situations.

For me, it’s a matter of willing myself to choose on what I think about.  The mind is  powerful.  Our arch enemy, Satan, would have us to think on negative things.  Our enemy always directs our minds to false thoughts of God failing us, which leads to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

The Bible instructs us to, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  Proverbs 4:23  What a statement!  “It determines the course of our lives?”  God knows that if our arch enemy wins by leading us away from God through negative thoughts planted in our minds, then, of course, we turn from God.  That can have terrible and sad consequences on the course of our lives.  We will miss great joy and peace and wisdom from God when we turn from Him.

Even so, it’s  difficult and painful to press on when someone we love, and pray everyday for, still suffers.  I encourage you to remember:  God created a perfect world — mankind messed it up.  Therefore, when we hurt due to mankind’s own foolishness that put a curse on the world, God feels our pain.  The Bible says that Jesus came to feel everything as a human feels.  He understands tears.  He knows our pain.  He understands fully what living in a fallen world has done to us.  He yearns to rescue, and to give abundant life right here on earth, in the midst of all the pain.

We must, therefore, “guard our hearts above all else.”  We must choose to say, “Father, I don’t understand why you are allowing this, but I choose to trust that you love, that your ways are perfect, that you are indeed working, in ways unknown to me, to bring this to a good end.”  We must cry out, as a boy’s father did in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Being honest with God is the best thing to do.  Tell Him you don’t understand.  Tell Him you are weak.  Tell Him you are sinking in a sea of despair — then cling to Him with all your heart, like a drowning man clings to the rim of a boat.

He will lift you up.  He will hold you.  He promises to pour in His peace in the midst of the storm.  The waves are rough, but He is there.  Never turn your thoughts from that truth.  Remember, He said, “I will never leave you.”  Hebrews 13:5   

Continue on in those thoughts.  Let them seep into the wounds of your heart.  Never turn away.  Stay focused on the One who knows your pain; on the One who is holding all your tears in His own bottle.