See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).
When God gives us a promise we expect that things will go well. However, that is not always the case and His Word and prayer is what we have to hold on to when our promise from Him seems threatened.
This was the case with Ashleigh who received a promise from God that she would have a baby girl named Mila. When she became pregnant through in vitro fertilisation, she and her husband, Travis, were ecstatic. However, eighteen weeks into her pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that her amniotic fluid was leaking. Her doctor told her that her daughter did not have enough amniotic fluid to practice breathing so her lungs would not fully develop and she would suffocate. She consequently advised her to abort the baby. However, in complete faith, Ashleigh refused to follow this advice. So, for the next five weeks, she went on bed rest while family and friends prayed for Mila. She also clung to God’s promise that she was not alone and was encouraged by Luke 1:45. She expected that God would keep His promise and that she would have a healthy baby. At twenty-three weeks her amniotic fluid was still low and she was admitted to the hospital where she received antibiotics and steroids to help in Mila’s development. They were not sure she would develop even if she made it to full term but Ashleigh was not worried. She expected that her daughter would have no deformities or abnormalities. Doctors also expected her to complete her remaining ten to twelve weeks in the hospital. However, a week and a half after being admitted, on her thirty-third birthday, an ultrasound revealed that her amniotic fluid levels were normal. She was able to return home for her birthday. She remained on bed rest and when the time came, delivered a healthy baby girl.
I have listened to this testimony a few times and every time I hear the part about her amniotic fluid levels becoming normal, tears fill my eyes. It’s a reminder to me that my God is able to do the impossible. Even when the experts give advice based on facts, God’s Word and promises to us have a way of refuting those facts.
I am reminded of Jeremiah 32:27 which says: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah had received a word from the Lord that Judah was going to be taken captive by Babylon. Yet, in spite of this, God told him to buy a field belonging to his nephew. It did not make sense because the Jews were about to lose their city to their enemies, the Chaldeans! Yet, God gave this instruction knowing that their land would eventually be restored to them. Jeremiah went to God with his doubts about what He had asked him to do but God encouraged him by reminding him that nothing was too difficult for Him to accomplish.
I believe this is God’s Word to us today, that nothing is too hard for Him to do. It is a reminder that has served to encourage me over the years as I faced various challenging situations. Luke 1:45 is, I believe, another word of encouragement to us today. It is a reminder to us to have faith, to hope in God because He will fulfil what He has promised us.
What has God promised you today - in your marriage, your family, your finances, your job, your health? Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing just because obstacles are presenting themselves. God still has the final say. His Word will not return to Him void but will accomplish what He desires it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). Be encouraged!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, please do so now. God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19), He is not slow in keeping His promises to us (2 Peter 3:9). If He says it, that settles it. He will fulfil His promises to you!
Sometimes in our effort to escape one problem, we jump straight into another one worse than what we ran away from. This was the case with Joy, a human traffic victim, who found herself trapped in sex slavery for twelve years.
She was adopted at a very early age into a loving, Christian home where she developed a love for the piano. However, in her teenage years, she turned to marijuana and alcohol in order to fit in with her peers. She also left home because she did not want to abide by her parents’ rules. During this time, in order to make money, she turned to prostitution and was subsequently introduced to crack cocaine. The latter helped her to mentally and emotionally survive her life of prostitution.
After several years she began to long for a normal life and one day, she cried out to God for help. God answered two days later. Her pimp was the target of an FBI human trafficking sting operation and when she was called to a hotel room to supposedly meet with a client, she was met by FBI agents who had come to rescue her. A female advocate for human traffic victims attended to her and told her that God had sent them to tell her that He loves her and that this was her way out and that if she would give her life to Him, He would set her free. She went on to tell her that she had worth and value and that God would take her out of her darkness. Today, Joy’s life has completely changed and she has returned to her music which she uses to worship God.
This testimony caught my attention because like so many stories, it is a story of hope. As dark and as long as Joy’s torment seemed, it did not last forever. Many times, it can be easy to feel as if our tragic circumstances will never end. In Psalm 13:1 David cries out to God in similar fashion: "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?"
David clearly felt isolated and alone. He longed for deliverance and did not know how much longer he could go on. Yet, he trusted in his God. Although God seemed to be taking long to come to his aid, he expected Him to rescue him: “But I have trusted in Your mercy, my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (v. 5). The answer had not yet come but he lived in hope that God would not fail him, that He would come through for him.
We, too, need to live in this hope. It’s not a hope in our ability to rescue ourselves but in God’s ability and in His desire to do so. God has promised to never leave us nor abandon us. Simply put, no matter what we are going through or how long it may take, God is right there with us and at the right time, He WILL deliver us!
When Joy cried out to God, she did not get an answer right away. And, when the answer came, it came directly to her and for her. That is what is so beautiful to me. Help came with her name on it. The FBI agents and the human trafficking advocate came just for her and with a special message from God just for her! God can be so personal and He knows exactly how to assure us of His love and care for us!
God knows where you are at right now. He sees and feels your desperation and your desire to give up. But, don’t you dare give up! Help is closer than you think. God will be there right on time! Don’t. Give. Up!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. God loves you so much and desires to rescue you out of every hurtful and painful situation you may have found yourself in. He is NOT blind to your tears or deaf to your cries. He sees, He hears, He cares and He will deliver you at just the right time!
While we are going through storms we don’t always see God at work. It is sometimes in retrospect that we are able to see that God’s hand was there all along, guiding us and keeping us.
This brings me to the testimony of two friends, Mark and Brad, who went mountain climbing on Mt Rainier in Washington, USA. Their ascent was event free and they were able to reach the top of the mountain without incident. However, on their way back down, the weather suddenly changed and they were faced with a blizzard. They finally realised that in order to survive the weather, they would have to dig a snow cave. They dug for seven hours with the help of the shovels they had brought. They remained trapped on the mountain for three days while prayer went out on their behalf. When the weather cleared they were able to make it down the mountain. They were rescued along the way and taken to hospital where they were treated.
During their ordeal, they prayed for wisdom. Although they had no clue they would go through this experience, God had them covered. They had all the supplies they needed; He directed them to dig a snow cave to shelter them from the storm; the signal they sent out did reach the help they needed although they themselves had no clue if their attempt was successful. One interesting thing that really showed God in the midst of their situation was Mark’s shovel. When he got off the mountain he discovered that, unknown to him while on the mountain, part of the shovel was broken thus making it defective, yet, this was the same shovel that had enabled him to successfully dig that snow cave for seven hours!
Psalm 46:1 says that God is a present help in trouble. God will be there for us when we need it and He can use anything to provide the help we need. I always like to refer to David because he faced some insurmountable challenges yet, every step of the way God was there for him and always brought him through. He spent years running from king Saul and there was even a time when God used the Philistines - Israelite enemies - to protect David because they believed that he was now on their side (1 Samuel 27). As I said God will use anything or anyone to help us in our time of need.
I encourage you today to trust God. We don’t always see His hand while going through challenges but it is there, guiding us, leading us, sustaining us. God knows exactly how to take care of us when we are in trouble and He will never abandon us in our time of need. So, take heart. Whether you can see it or not, God is right there helping you through. You are not alone.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I invite you to make that step now. God wants to be your Protector, Deliverer and Saviour. He will never fail you, He will never abandon you so, be encouraged!
I have chosen to continue with the song “Firm Foundation” by Cody Carnes. I gleaned so much encouragement and strength from it, I am choosing to pull as much from it as possible.
I love the entire song, but there’s a part that really spoke to me - the bridge. It highlights the reality of the challenges of life. We can’t always escape them but we can survive in the midst of them (Matthew 7:24-25).
Rain came, wind blew
But my house was built on you
I’m safe with you
I’m gonna make it through.
I was first introduced to this song during my own storm. I was scrolling through some worship videos on YouTube when I decided to listen to this one. It was new to me but one morning as I awoke I heard over and over again in my mind the words, “I’m gonna make it through.” I don’t think I even remembered immediately where I had heard that line but when I did remember, I pulled up the song and it became a great source of hope and encouragement for me during trying times.
I recall even now a testimony I listened to recently about Ryan, an eighteen-year old young man who suffered severe injury after a ski accident. His L1 vertebrae had been shattered and he faced the possibility that he might never walk again. He was scared but he prayed and trusted in his God. His family also rallied around him in prayer. To make a long story short, through prayer, therapy and sheer determination, he gradually regained feeling below his waist and was able to walk and continues to do so with the help of orthopaedic braces. He was afraid he might not have been able to cross the stage in his graduation on his own to accept his diploma … but he did!
Testimonies like Ryan’s of how God intervenes in impossible situations is a reminder to us that once we build our house on God, the rains and the winds of life will not be able to prevail against us! We are safe in Christ and we have the confidence that we are going to make it! This faith is usually NOT based on what the eyes can see or our feelings experience, but strictly on what God’s Word says and on HIS ability - not ours - to do impossible things.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now.You have nothing to lose when you choose to put your trust in God. We cannot get away from the storms of life but when our life is hidden in God, we are safe and nothing can prevail against us!
I’ve still got joy in chaos
I’ve got peace that makes no sense
I’m not going under,
I’m not held by my own strength
‘Cause I’ve built my life on Jesus
He’s never let me down
He’s faithful through every season
So why should He fail now?
(“Firm Foundation," Cody Carnes)
I love the second verse of this song. It speaks of resilience and hope. Imagine experiencing joy and peace when you are supposed to be experiencing sorrow and turmoil. Outside of Christ, this would be a difficult task but in Him … let’s just say that nothing is impossible! But it also speaks of the reality that time and time again God brings us through various trials and tests. While we are going through God gives us the strength to keep our head above water and to just keep going.
Psalm 34:1 comes to my mind. David was on the run from a very jealous King Saul. He escaped ironically to their enemies, the Philistines, and attempted to find refuge there. He went to Achish the king of Gath hoping he would not be recognized. Unfortunately for him, the servants of Achish recognised him (1 Samuel 21:11). He had to act quickly. He decided to pretend madness in front of them (v. 13) and scratched the gate and allowed himself to dribble down on his beard. His plan worked and the king drove him from their city (vv. 14-15). Because of this escape from his enemies he penned Psalm 34.
"I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in
my mouth. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved
him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round
about them that fear Him and delivereth them." (vv. 1,6,7)
David knew the many times God had delivered him from trouble, the many times God had kept and sustained him while he was being pursued by his enemies. He understood where his help came from and like the lyrics in the song, he understood, I am sure, that he was not held by his own strength and that he would never go under because his foundation was built on his God, a God who consistently did not let him down and who was faithful in his good seasons and in his bad.
I can relate to David in different ways. I have seen time and again when God has delivered me from impossible situations. I am so confident now that Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me that when times are tough that confidence is where my strength comes from - knowing that Jesus is right there with me, that I am not alone and that He will will never fail me.
I usually say that challenges are going to come whether we like it or not. However, God is our strength and shield. We CAN have joy in chaos, peace that makes no sense and the confidence that we will NOT go under because our God, the only true and living God will sustain us and keep us!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to make that step now! Jesus will never leave you nor fail you. He will always be there, giving you the strength you need to go through any trial and the ability to come out victorious no matter what!