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Hudson pastor column: The suddenness of God

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to hang out with my youngest grandchild, who was about 10 weeks old at the time. What a blessing and what fun we had! All the memories of raising our own children came flooding back. For my wife, it's all good — she loves everything about babies! For me, I like it when they smile and sleep and cuddle — I'm not too thrilled about dirty diapers and the late-night crying! I was also reminded how demanding those cute little things can be! Whatever they want, they want it now! It can't wait a minute or even a few seconds. It doesn't matter that they are small and seemingly helpless—they rule!

It reminded me of my own shortcomings when it comes to waiting for things. Waiting in checkout lines at the store, waiting a few minutes in traffic, or having to wait for anything, I tend to act a bit like a newborn baby! Let's just say I've never been accused of being too patient.

I love it when things happen fast. I love it when things just come easy and don't require a lot of effort, but how many know, that's not usually the way things go? Usually good things happen because you made some good decisions and then put forth some effort.

The Bible talks about God doing some things suddenly. In 1 Kings 20:20 it says, "And suddenly the entire Aramean army panicked and fled." Why did the army flee? Because suddenly God showed up. Why did God show up? Because His people were engaged in battle. God shows up when we are doing what He directs us to do. When we are working and doing whatever we do for His glory, He shows up—and oftentimes He shows up suddenly. Sometimes it's when it seems it can't get any worse and trouble is all around that he breaks in and everything changes.

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit showed up suddenly. In Acts 2:2 it says, "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." The people were all filled with the Holy Spirit. What were the people doing when God showed up? They were gathered together praying. In Acts 16:25-26 God shows up suddenly and causes an earthquake. "But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening. Suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed." What were Paul and Silas doing? They were praying and worshipping God in the midst of their pain. In their struggle and through great adversity they chose to pray and to worship. And guess what — God showed up suddenly!

God is able to do what you can't do, but He won't do it without you! He is watching over the good thing that He began in you, and He is faithful to complete it.

It will take some effort on our part and we will face struggles and adversity, but God is in the midst of our struggle. He won't leave you or forsake you. Psalm 46 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Don't quit when adversity comes. Don't give up because you have to wait, or it's not happening as fast as you want. Don't complain about your problems, instead give them to the Lord and praise Him in the midst of the battle. Thank Him that He's with you. Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you! Be faithful and be ready to receive a "suddenly" from God!