I'll NEVER... get divorced, have depression, speak to my kids like that, get cancer, have a kid with an addiction...
Sometimes we state NEVER as a hope, a dream, a wish and then what we said would never happen - happens. And that messes with our understanding of the word NEVER, especially when we hear God say "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6). How is that statement to be trusted when I have stated it before, and it failed?
Listen in as Tina shares a little story of talking with God about this concept of "NEVER". There is a distinct difference in knowing whether it is a hope OR a promise. What is that difference?
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Have you ever had one of those headaches where you thought, “if I could only remove my head, I might just survive this one”?
Seems drastic, I know… but I’m telling you, it was one of those headaches, where you just feel like there has never been anything worse in your life. This pain beats all the pain you have ever had before.
So, you do everything you know to do, just to try and ease it.
Now I have a pretty good pain tolerance. For anything except a headache. That seems to be my kryptonite. I have had big surgeries, stitches, a broken bone, and given birth twice.
No pain meds.
But a headache. I’m the biggest baby.
So, I crawled into bed. T.V. off, lights off. It was only just after 6 PM but I couldn’t do anything else.
I laid there, still, certain that my head was actually visibly pulsing.
I text my husband to please come to the bedroom and hook me up to the tens machine. You know, the little pads that stick where you place them and send electrical pulses through your muscles.
I was hoping that the mechanical massage would loosen some muscles and bring some much-needed relief.
I was right.
For quite a while, I fell asleep, only to wake and press start again on the machine and let the rhythm on my back lull me to sleep again. It became a pattern repeating over and over again.
Sleep to the soothing touch, wake and press start again.
Until that one moment, interrupting the pattern I had come to find rest in.
“What are you doing?” Clear as day. The question came and I knew who it was.
“I’m trying to get rid of a headache”, I said. Almost annoyed as I knew God would know this. This felt like a question designed to agitate me.
Again, he asked the same question, not changing his tone at all. Very calmly it came again.
“What are you doing?”
My tone, however, changed in my reply… “trying to get rid of this headache, and you know that”.
“What are you doing, just tell me, just say it” came the reply.
I knew what he wanted me to say. I knew what I was doing.
And the tears began to stream down my face.
And I whispered, “I’m pretending someone is rubbing my back”.
“I know”, he said gently. “Do you feel like no one cares, and that you don’t have anyone?”
“I know people care”, I said. Just feels like there is no one here right now who does. But I’ve been living in grief again lately. The holidays have brought the wave in with them, and I just haven’t had many moments that aren’t wracked in heartache lately.
I miss my mom. I wish she could rub my back. But she isn’t here. So even just a headache, where a back rub would really help, I feel the void tremendously.
“I’ll rub your back”, God said. Tenderly, lovingly, but still factual.
“I don’t want YOU to do it”, was my honest, genuine, vulnerable reply.
And so understandably, he just said, “I know”, and off to sleep I went again.
It was the next morning that I was driving into work and God brought the memory of the night before back to my mind. I drove and cried, and we talked about it.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate that you are willing to be there for me God, it’s just that I was really looking for and needing a human, you know? I needed an actual physical touch – reminder through skin and physical contact that I am not alone”.
“I know. I do. But I think it’s time you also sort through your concept of NEVER. Life has challenged what you think you know of the word”.
I thought back over my understanding and use of the word “never”. I thought of how I’ve heard it used and said time and time again – in my life, my office with clients, my experiences.
I’ll never get divorced.
I’ll never speak to my kids like that.
I’ll never get cancer.
I’ll never have a kid struggling with addiction.
I’ll never let myself get depressed.
I’ll never find someone to love and care for me, because I’m “damaged goods.”
My never’s seem to have been hopes and dreams. And not even bad ones. But they were not absolutes. And I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I had stated never’s as absolutes when I didn’t possess the power to determine that.
But then I struggled with God’s never’s. They are in fact absolutes. Mine may have been hopes and dreams.
But when God says NEVER, that’s a promise.
I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.
I somewhere tangled that into a hope and dream, that I reckoned with as being probably just that. A hope and a dream… which I know to be something that doesn’t necessarily work out.
My understanding of NEVER, has been shaken.
But in the end, this is what I now know and understand. The word NEVER – holds no power. Whether it is a hope and a dream, OR an absolute promise… will not be found in the word itself.
The power belongs to the one who says it.
I can utter, shout, scream, plead “NEVER”. And it will still be a hope and dream.
But at the mere whisper of the word, coming from the King of Kings, makes it an absolute promise.
He will NEVER leave me nor forsake me. I am NEVER alone.
Friends, I just want to speak to your NEVERS for a moment. To the hopes and dreams that are wrapped in fear. To the hopes and dreams that have already fallen to the floor and shattered.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that happened and I am sorry if that shook your idea, understanding, your concept of never.
And I want to remind you of the one who speaks, and parts waters, turns water into wine, and caused the blind to see and lame to walk.
I want to invite you to look towards his NEVERS, as the promises of not being alone, left behind, forsaken, or forgotten.
It doesn’t have to feel like an absolute to be one. Trust in his promises. They will NEVER fall and shatter.
Love you guys and pray the love of God all over you.
Until we meet back here again…
Goodbye for now, and we’ll speak again soon.