God is Always Near


Brenda Nail DeLauder

Columnist


Heading westward, Pepper and I started out for our evening stroll. The sky was truly something to see as a winter storm front approached, darkening the horizon. Clouds of steel gray with shades of royal blue mixed in, looking like a wall of rolling waves coming to shore. Directly above us the sky was still bright blue, making the contrast of the two very eye-catching.

I was glad the night before had been clear when I ventured outside, hoping to spot a shooting star. I settled down on a bench with the kitty, appreciating his warmth on the blustery cold evening. Looking up, I smiled at God’s grand display of the night sky. I enjoy seeing all of our Lord’s nature, but seldom spend much time outside on cold evenings. Yet winter is the best time to really see the vast heavens above us.

We sat there uninterrupted and I let my mind close out the manmade noises so I could focus on the sounds of nature. The light wind made the pines sway just enough for the branches to rub together, squeaking like an old wooden screen door. The longer I gazed into the starry sky the more I began to see. Though our star gazing is limited now by the increasing lights, I’m glad for those still visible. I love knowing they were handmade by God. Each one was formed by Him, just as each of us are created by Him.

My mind wandered while I sat there and I thought about a devotional I had read a few days before. It was on Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart ... He will make your paths straight.” When we want a boulder removed from our path, it will be done if we ask God. Only it will be done in His time, not ours. That can become a trial for us to accept and lean fully into trusting our Lord. Going through a physical difficulty has been a challenge, but I started thinking back to another tough time in my life. I wrote about it in 2007 and this next paragraph still stands true today.

<Following the night a fire took so much of our home place away, I remember walking around where the barn had stood, and being filled with such powerful grief, overcome with the tremendous loss. I looked up to find a dear family friend, J.T. Gilbert, making his way to me, where he let me cry on his shoulder for a few moments. Then he held me at arms length, looked me in the eye, and told me that it was good to get it out of my system, because now I needed to get to work. He told me that I would need to toughen up in order to handle what was ahead. At the time it was a rough order, but in truth, it was the best advice I would receive. It was advice I would use the rest of my life. I remember looking into his face and glimpsing years of experiences that had probably often been hard. He was telling me what I needed to hear in order to climb out of the pit of despair.>

The Bible teaches us about gaining strength and how it often comes from the storms in our lives. Our Heavenly Father is always near, caring for and loving us, especially during the difficult times of our lives.

A star-filled night sky and a dramatic approaching winter storm front were sights catching my attention. They also renewed my trust in God. He has me in the palm of His hand. There is no better place!

Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.