As I knelt praying one morning, I was struck by how many people on my heart and mind were enduring deep physical and emotional struggles and pains. This realization didn’t dilute the challenges I face, but it did put them in perspective. For it seems the things I allow to frustrate me are small irritants compared to the wars some of my friends are facing. No doubt, we will all face ups and downs in life along the way. Yet, we always have hope when we have Christ. We have His promises that He can turn all things for our good. That He has plans for us and that He creates us with purpose. It’s during these phases of life we must maintain focus on who He is and that He loves us more than we can imagine. Even when we don’t understand our circumstances, we can be confident He is with us every step of the way:
Our Selections: We make choices and then face the consequences. Sometimes they are good and sometimes not. However, when we leave our choices to God, we always receive His best. The challenge is knowing which choice He wants us to make when it’s not exactly spelled out. For me, I have discovered as I seek His direction and then submit my decision to His sovereignty, the choices I eventually end up making aren’t always the easiest ones. Instead, they’re typically the ones involving sacrifice, facing my fears and taking a “leap of faith” (Proverbs 3:5).
Our Struggles: When we face challenges, we can either view them as obstacles, or opportunities. However, admittedly, this is easier said than done. Even the Apostle Paul admitted he and his fellow passengers onboard a ship caught in a storm had lost all hope of surviving. Yet, it was during this struggle, God reassured and restored Paul’s peace. As a result, Paul was then able to encourage others, despite their hardships, enabling them to also receive God’s blessing (Acts 27:20-26). Likewise, when we go through struggles, God is there to strengthen and bless us, but let us also remember who God has allowed to be “in the boat with us”. So that like Paul, God may use our struggles to bless them through us and our Godly response.
Our Sustenance: God promises to provide for all our needs. However, there are also times He may allow these same provisions to be taken away. This can leave us confused and questioning why God would give to only take back. However, God shows us in the life of Elijah when He led Him to a brook, gave Him food and allowed him rest, He cares for our needs, but He also never wants us to grow more dependent upon His gifts more than Him. Therefore, He allowed the brook to dry up and what He once gave freely, He took away so that He could encourage Elijah onward (1 Kings 17:6-9). Likewise, when God gives to us, it’s for specific reasons and seasons of life, and if He chooses to take something away, it too is for specific reasons. The question is do we trust Him more we do His sustenance?
Application: “Cling Free” – Isaiah 43:18-19
A friend of mine recently described a time he accidentally tipped over his canoe in some rough waters. As he struggled to save his canoe, fishing rod, tackle and cooler, he realized in doing so he was risking his life. It was only until he was willing to let it all go that he was able to swim safely to shore. He lost his stuff, but his life was saved. This is much like our walk in this life. We cling to our “stuff”, but it’s only when we are willing to let it all go for Christ, that we are truly freed to live