Have you ever felt like God was oblivious to the trials in your life?
You are not alone! Even Jesus felt like God had forgotten him. When he suffered on the Cross, Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46) God certainly had not forgotten Jesus, but instead took an active part in fulfilling his redemption plan. As Christ willingly laid down his life as a sacrifice for our sins, God the father stood by in anticipation for Jesus’s next words, “It is Finished.” (John 19:30) When Jesus faced that trial of a lifetime God remained silent. God’s silence does not mean that he was absent nor uninterested. Instead it shows strength of character that he allowed the cross while saying nothing.
If God allowed Jesus to silently face the cross, why would we believe that He would treat us differently? God is shrouded with mystery. His ways are infinite and higher than comprehension. Sometimes for reasons unknown to us, God allows us to walk through times of silence, moments when He chooses not to speak. Although He does not explain His every action to us, we can trust that His silence does not mean that He is uninterested, nor uninvolved in our lives. God loves us and sometimes he demonstrates His trust in us by allowing us to experience quiet moments in the midst of difficulty.
“The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”—it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).”
Excerpt From: Chambers, Oswald. “My Utmost for His Highest.”
Lord, help me be willing to die to myself, to my fear of the unknown. (As if I can know the future any way.) Help me to follow You wherever You lead, leaving behind the chariots in which I like to trust. Help me to face all seasons of life as an adventure, not a burden, knowing that no part of life is insignificant. May I always look to You as my peace and strength. As I rise each morning may my hope be found in You.
Increase my faith and resolve when You lead me in new directions. May my trust be found in You and You alone. For in You there is a time and season for everything.
May I never forget the love You have shown me. Lord in those moments when my faith is put to the test, let me not forget that You ALWAYS prove yourself faithful!
Without watching the news nor hearing a weather report we can always tell when there is a hurricane on the coast. Rainy season is characterized by sunny days and afternoon showers or beautiful days and overnight thunder storms that roll along the mountain. But when a hurricane is on the coast the sky is overcast, the weather is dreary and rain constantly drizzles for days at a time.
Our home, although lovely, is made from brick and cement inside and out. We have no insulation, no central heat nor air. At times like these the rain saturates everything. Moisture fills the cement on the houses and homes are cold and moist. The ground fills with water and that water begins to seep up the interior and exterior walls of the house making the cement walls erode in what’s known as salitre. We will need to wait until March when everything dries before repairs can be made. This is just part of the cycle of life that happens here in Mexico.
During the rains bath towels never dry on their own. They are cold and moist after hanging all day. We are fortunate to have a dryer. It will be 14 years old in December, most of its parts have been rebuilt and it runs like a charm. The repair man says I should not run it all day everyday, but with a family of six, it is rarely idle. A church group bought it for us our second Christmas here in Mexico. Before we had it, we strung clothes lines all over the interior of the house during the rains, but often our clothes would turn musty before they dried. I’ll never forget the first week we had our drier, it had been raining for days when the girls got a stomach bug and threw up on every blanket we owned. I was so thankful to the group who had blessed us with that dryer!
Today the rains stopped for a few hours in the afternoon. Years ago I would have ran home to hang out all our wet clothes with hopes that the few hours of sun would have been enough to dry them. And I would have forged the risk of forgetting them on the line as the rains started again tonight. (Something I have done a number of times.)
As the rains pour, our street looks like a river and the briers at the corner have sprouted up with such vigor that they almost form a dam covering the entrance to our street. I’ve asked the town if they would add our street to the list of those needing repairs, but the truth is, come spring when dry season arrives, and the briers die, we will have to cut them down and clean the several inches of mud covering our street which has been left behind from the rains.
Truth be known, these inconveniences hardly compare with the clean up, repairs and devastation my friends living in the hurricane’s path will face. As I see videos and photos of water waist deep in their homes and escapes made in kayaks and Jet Skis, I will gladly face my annual repairs and overcast days and say a prayer for those whose lives are being turned upside down by the storm.
“Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness.” Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest-June 25)
Through trials and sorrow I can either find myself and grow in my relationship with God or I can become lost, and bitter and turn my back on God.
It is in difficult moments that I must make a conscious choice of who God is and who I want to be. Will I love and serve God even when my way is difficult? It is up to me to decide if I will grasp the truth of Ecclesiastes 7:14. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other…”
We can not find ourselves in the midst of prosperity. In good times pride swells, but a humble man seeks God when life’s difficulties come upon Him. James speaks of drawing near to God and in return He will draw near to you. (4:8)
As you face adversities, do not forget that God is still in control. Cling to Him, humble yourself and learn all that you can. Don’t allow frustration and discouragement to draw you away from God, but instead look at them as unique opportunities to strengthen your relationship with Him.
I’ve been talking with the Lord lately about where we are now in life. About some of my likes and dislikes. And when I begin to complain about some portion that is not exactly what I would prefer, God gently reminds me that “it’s not about me”.
Serving God is NOT about me, nor should it be. Serving God is about Him. What does He like, what does He want from me, what are His standards for my life. In our increasingly narcissistic society we tend to think that everything should make us feel good. We complain when life is boring or not fun and refuse to participate in anything that we don’t find personally enjoyable. We have come far from seeking the common good and doing things because it is the “right thing” to do. And we don’t want anyone to step on our toes by pointing out some ungodly trait we possess or suggest that our thoughts and actions don’t line up with scripture.
Recently I came across this blog from Oklahoma Wesleyan President Dr. Everett Piper in my archives. He wrote this in response to a university student who was offended in chapel when the message from 1 Corinthians 13 “stepped on his toes”. The blog quickly went viral, which gives me hope that there are still some in our society who understand that it is NOT about us. I have included a link below to Dr. Piper’s blog.
“God I trust You. And I know you want my best. But I know that Your best is not easy and most often it is painful…that frightens me.”
A friend posted this quote on Facebook. Im so glad he did, because I have been trying for a while now to put this sentiment into words.
Have you ever been frightened by the path down which God leads you?
It is natural to desire the path of lease resistance, the easy way which will cause you little effort to endure. It is not so natural however to deliberately choose to practice discomfort.
By actively choosing to put yourself in difficult circumstances, you are helping to prepare yourself for those times which you will inevitably experience.
God knows that what is best for us is not necessarily the things which come easily. The best things in our lives are those for which we have had to work, strive and sacrifice.
The next time you are faced with an uncomfortable situation remember that God is molding and preparing you for your future. He is always working things for your good and is not thwarted by your complaints. He loves you too much to allow you to always take the easy road.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Truly getting along with others is a skill that few have mastered. Misunderstandings abound and oft times in their wake friendships suffer. At times the damage is so severe that the relationship can not survive. This leaves feelings of resentment, frustration and even loss on both sides.
Let's face it, there is no need to pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. We have all experienced this type of communication breakdown at one time or another. The question is how did we respond?
Oswald Chambers gives a suggestion on how to rise above our automatic response. He said, "A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus."
Are you revealing the sweetness of Christ to those who insult you? (For that fact, Am I?) How many times must we get the opportunity to practice forgiveness, patience and kindness before we will allow Christ's Sweetness to envelop those who offend us?