For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
God is not slack concerning His promises. If He says it HE will make it happen. However, too many times we try to make it happen. Think about Abraham and Sarah. They tried to do it themselves. God told Abraham that he would make him a great nation (Genesis 12:2a) and because time was elapsing and his wife was still barren they decided that maybe God did not mean to bring it to pass through his wife after all (Genesis 16:1-2). When God seems to be taking long to fulfill His Word we start thinking the wrong things; we start trying to figure it out, to see how we can logically make it happen. This is where problems come ... when we, with our finite understanding try to “figure out” God’s infinite ways. But, His ways and thoughts are not ours, they are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). We can never figure God out but from since time immemorial, we keep trying to do just that.
Joseph never believed that God would bring his dream to pass the way He did ... but HE did. He went through hell before he finally got promoted. Yet, his attitude during this season was important. And as he faced trial after trial, his attitude was important during EACH trial (Genesis 39). God was more interested in what He wanted to teach him on his way to the palace than his actually getting to the palace. God is more interested in our character and will allow us to fall and get back up once we learn the lesson and we learn it well.
God was increasing Abraham’s and Sarah’s faith in Him as well. He wanted them to trust Him that if He gave this Word to a man with a barren wife, He knew what He was doing; he knew how He was going to make it happen; that wasn’t their concern. But waiting has always been our problem.
Years ago, a few years into our marriage, my husband and I decided that it was time to have children. I stopped taking contraceptives and the wait began but nothing happened. At one point, we thought I was pregnant but when we went to the doctor and did some tests, we found out that I had polycystic ovaries. I had never heard of that condition before. I wondered if I had done something to bring on the condition but that wasn’t the case, it was just one of those things... I was told that it wasn’t too serious and was put on a six-month treatment to help me get pregnant. There were times I would get impatient and then there were times I would simply trust God. It was a bit difficult at times knowing that my husband really loved children but I could not give him any as easily as I had hoped. During this time, I also began my undergraduate studies at University and towards the end of that four-year period of study I became concerned that I might become pregnant and have to interrupt and so prolong my studies. However, I was learning and choosing to trust God looking at different examples of barren women in the Bible. I learned that God is the One who could close and open a womb if He so chose. I was strangely excited because my understanding made me believe that I would become pregnant ... but when GOD was ready. That somehow gave me comfort because I realized that my children would come at God’s perfect timing.
That season was a season of great faith for me. I truly believed that God would do it and in His perfect timing. I did get concerned when my husband said that if I did not become pregnant by a certain time we would visit another doctor because by this time a few years had passed. I wanted to trust God completely without any medical intervention. And God did not disappoint me. I believe He honored my faith in Him. I completed my studies and graduated from University in October. Some weeks later I became pregnant. I don’t know about you but that was perfect timing for me. God knew I wanted to complete my Degree; He knew I did not want to go to another doctor and undergo more treatment. God knew and understood my heart’s desire to put my complete trust in Him. Now almost fifteen years later, I have not one but three children! I think sometimes God just loves to show up and show off!
God doesn’t work with our timing or our plans for how things should be done. He moves by His Word and His purpose. If things don’t line up with that then it won’t happen. God is not afraid to wait like we are because He knows timing and purpose are important. Isaac could not have come earlier; Joseph could not have been promoted before or in a different way; and I could not have had children any other way because it built my faith in my God.
God orchestrated everything, according to His timing, His purpose, His thoughts, His way of doing things. That’s why He is God and we are not. We may be created in His image but we are NOT Him. We will never be Him and that’s fine because we would never need Him and He created us to need Him, someone bigger, stronger, wiser, more powerful, more able ... GOD!
If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior I encourage you to invite Him into your life now and watch and see how His dreams, plans and timing for you will turn out to be even better than anything you could have planned for yourself.
As the story goes, the apostle, Peter, was thrown into prison by king Herod for no very good reason more than he realized that it would please the Jews. He had him bound with two chains between two soldiers with even more guards outside the door. During the course of the night, while he was asleep, an angel of the Lord came and touched him on his side prompting him to get up. Immediately his chains fell off. The angel proceeded to lead him out of the prison and into the streets where he left him. Peter then made his way to Mary’s house where he knocked on the door. Inside they had been praying for him consistently. As he continued knocking, a servant girl came to answer the door and when she heard Peter’s voice she was so happy that she hurried back inside without opening the door to tell everyone that he was outside. But they did not believe her... (Acts 12:1-17)
There are times when we may find ourselves in a prison of sorts, simply because challenges are a part of life and when you are a child of God, the challenges sometimes seem to be greater. But the thought that comes to mind with this story is that sometimes we may be knocking, trying to get people’s attention and no one seems to be taking us on. Peter was knocking on the door of the house where people were praying for his release from prison, yet, no one believed that he was actually there! Yes, they were praying but they expected him to still be bound, helpless ... and hopeless.
Sometimes, because people know you are in “prison”, that you are in a “mess” they don’t expect anything good to happen to you or to come out of you. Just like Peter was bound with chains between two soldiers, your future may not be looking very bright. When people see you, all they see is your handicap, your confinement, your sickness, your limitations, your job loss, your failed business, your failed relationship. So, when they look at you, they see your situation not you. That’s what the church was seeing, that’s why when he came to them, freed from prison and knocking on the door, they did not believe that he was actually there.
But here’s the thing: you may be “bound,” you may be going through what you are going through . . . but the GOD you serve is not bound with you! He is not in a mess, in fact He is in there with you to use you right where you are. You don’t stop being God’s child because of your situation; you don’t stop being blessed because you are in a mess; you don’t stop being worthy of God’s love because of where you are; and you don’t stop being a vessel God can use for His honor and glory just because of where you are and how people see you.
The wonderful thing with God is that HE is not limited by our limitations, HE is not confined by our restrictions and HE is not any less God or less powerful because we are dealing with what we are dealing with. It really does take perspective. God isn’t moved I think by what our challenge is . . . HE is moved by our faith and trust in Him in the midst of our challenges. He is moved by our choice to keep our eyes on HIM instead of doing like everyone else and focusing our eyes on our challenge.
I am reminded of king Jehoshaphat when he heard about the great army coming against him. Things did not look good for him and his people and I’m sure their enemies were looking at them as insignificant and incapable of fighting against them. They saw Judah’s defeat BUT they could not see their GOD. What they didn’t know was that while they were focusing on their defeat at their hands, Judah was looking to the God who could deliver them out of their hands ... and He did (2 Chronicles 20:1-12).
In my own life, yes there are times when others may look at my limitations, my challenges and so determine what they think I can or cannot do but I know that what they don’t always focus on is my God, fighting on my behalf and doing wonderful things in my life even while I’m going through. God has never waited for my challenges to end, He simply continues to use me right where I am no matter those limitations, shortcomings or challenges.
What are people seeing when they look at you? Are they looking at the problem or are they looking at the God who is able to do the impossible? I think though that the greater question is, what are you seeing, what are you focusing on when life hits you hard? This is what God uses many times to shift our focus back to Him. Are you following His lead or are you still in a pity party focused on what you cannot change by yourself? Let me encourage and remind you to stop seeing yourself in the negative way others may be looking at you. They don’t determine your destiny or your success ... God does. So feel free to let your eyes swing straight to Him. Your situation has not shifted HIS focus ... don’t let it shift yours!
If you have not yet shifted your eyes and your heart to the One capable of doing wonderful things in and for you even as you face life’s challenges, I invite you to give your heart to Him right now. Let Him come in and take the controls and do in and through you the wonderful things that your challenges, people and even you, say and believe you can’t!
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place, and there He prayed...(Mark 1:35)
For several years, this has been the verse that speaks to my heart and spirit. Every time I read it I feel a stirring on the inside. At the start of each day Jesus took time to spend with His Daddy. Right after that ... the action began!
And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (Mark 1:36-38)
Over the past several months the picture of Jesus and His ministry here on earth has come to my mind. I look at the fact that Jesus went through a lot of opposition because of all that He was doing. He had enemies for sure and it seemed as if in the end they were victorious over Him.
But that’s not where my focus has been really. I have been looking at the reality that every day Jesus got up, spent time with His Heavenly Father in the wee hours of the morning and then went about His business as usual. He didn’t miss a beat. They were opposing Him but He was doing His Father’s business, literally like it was business as usual. Even during the course of the day, He, at times, made time to spend with Him and even take some rest. I have been looking at His example intently because even as I face my own challenges – and we all do – I wonder at the fact that at times, when I feel stressed and bothered, I’m not motivated to simply live my life and do what I have to do. It can be so easy to become distracted and forget that you have "purpose."
Jesus never forgot. He knew He had enemies and every day He got up knowing that they would try to stop Him, hinder Him and even harm Him if they could. But He was focused on what He came here to do. In the midst of His challenges, Jesus still got up and did what He had to do.
I also think of Paul and Silas in prison. They could have sat there in their chains and complained and given in to discouragement, but they did not. Instead, they prayed and sang songs of worship to God and as they were doing this, the other prisoners were listening to them. Whether they were doing it intentionally or not they were evangelizing and letting all who could hear them know about the goodness of their God! They were occupying their time constructively, and in the process continuing to tell others about Him through their prayer and song (Acts 16:25).
The choices that we make in the midst of our difficult situation can make or break us; encourage or discourage someone. They can even give us the opportunity to lead others to Christ. It didn’t matter what Jesus faced, He still did what He had to do. In spite of the threat that the three Hebrew boys faced they still served and honored their God (Daniel 3:16-25). Joseph may have been separated from his family when he was sold into Egypt but he remained faithful to his God and served Him in a way that brought favor on his life, even when he was thrown into jail (Genesis 39 & 41). Paul and Silas may have been put in prison, but they still chose to glorify their God. Even Daniel faced the threat of being thrown into the lion’s den but he still did what he had to do for God and honored Him (Daniel 6:6-10). What are you doing in the midst of your mess, trial, challenge?
I think of my own life and as I have testified more than once it has not been perfect. I have had to learn to keep working, to keep trusting, to keep serving God in the midst of messy situations. I have been distracted many times by my circumstances, but God keeps reminding me to keep moving, to keep serving, to keep doing His will, to keep living my life His way. It has been easy many times to stop and complain, stop and give in to fear, or just plain stop. But, as I look back over my life I have seen where God has kept me moving, He has kept me serving Him, He has been helping me to keep focused. In the midst of my challenges He has taught me to keep preaching, keep teaching, keep testifying, keep encouraging, keep singing, keep worshiping, keep living, just keep going.
My encouragement to you today is this: do what God has called you to do from the midst of your challenging situation. Don’t wait for the trial to be over. Minister from the midst of the fiery furnace, blossom in the midst of your desert, preach in the midst of your lion’s den. Don’t let circumstances or whatever challenge you’re facing stop you from being and doing your best for God. They couldn’t stop Paul and Silas, they couldn’t stop the three Hebrew boys, they couldn’t stop Daniel, they couldn’t stop Jesus ... and they certainly can’t stop you!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior, I challenge you today to take that step. Life will send challenges your way – you can’t stop that. But watch and see if God won’t help you to keep going and to keep doing and living your best life for Him even in the midst of your challenges, trials and stress.
Some days ago I listened to a song sung by Dante Bowe and Amanda Cook entitled, “Be alright.” From the first time that I heard it, it caught my attention. It is dedicated to those going through different challenges – those who are lonely, discouraged, even those waiting to see the fruit of all their hard work and effort. The song transcends a variety of situations that any number of people might be facing and yet the end encouragement is the same – it’ll be alright.
I think many times we get fed up of hearing that seemingly “clichéd” line that is honestly meant to give encouragement and strength. When the situation you are in seems never-ending, and there is no finish line in sight it is so much easier to simply give up, stop hoping, stop praying, stop wishing, stop trying...
I once again think of my most written about Bible character of the last few posts, David. David had a promise. The prophet Samuel had anointed him to be the new king in front of his father and brothers (1 Samuel 16). Yet it took him several years before that promotion came to pass (2 Samuel 5). In the interim? He faced hell! The then king Saul became jealous of him and literally hunted him down to kill him. David was on the run for years not understanding why this was even happening to him, why the king was trying to kill him for no apparent reason. There seemed to be no end in sight to his trials, yet, David trusted in His God. And this is what this song is about. It’s not about trusting in yourself or your ability to deliver, that’s God’s job.
I can also think about Abraham and Sarah waiting many years for God’s promise of a child and having no clue how He would bring it to pass when Sarah was barren (Genesis 17:4-6, 15-16). What about Joseph? In a foreign land, rejected by his brothers and separated from his beloved father and younger brother, Benjamin. He had no hope of ever seeing them again and as if that wasn’t enough he faced further unfair treatment and was cast into jail. His situation seemed hopeless and the dream God had given him, totally out of his reach (Genesis 37 & 39). And let’s not forget Job. He faced a series of painful situations that didn’t make sense. And when his friends came to "comfort" him, they seemed to add salt to his wounds. Things were so bad that his wife in her own pain and despair told him to curse God and die ... yet he refused to do so (Job 2:9-10). He chose to trust his God and to not give up on Him even though it didn’t make sense to others.
I’m thinking of all of this as we are all facing a pandemic that seems to have no immediate end in sight. Yet many of us were in a pandemic” of our own even before this global one came about. It may have been labelled loneliness, rejection, financial strain, a broken home or marriage, drug addiction, depression, discouragement, health challenges, missed opportunities, broken relationships, and the list goes on. The chorus of the song says, “There’s a new, new day coming... just keep dancing.” That seems like a difficult pill to swallow. How do you “keep dancing,” how do you hold on to hope when every fibre of your being is screaming, “it’s over, forget it, just give up!”
Let me answer that with my own life. I can guarantee you that my life has not been perfect. I know discouragement and depression all too well. I know what it’s like to face insurmountable challenges way bigger, higher and stronger than me. I can understand Abraham’s and Sarah’s feelings of wanting a child and having to wait because I have been there and done that. My children came after some years of waiting because of challenges on my part to get pregnant. I can understand Joseph’s and David’s discouragement as they faced unfair situations all the while wondering when God’s promise would come to pass. We can all relate to one or more of these heroes in the Bible but for me, it was in and during these times of pain and uncertainty and fear that God taught me to truly worship and praise Him. That was my outlet, that was my weapon ... worship. God taught me to worship Him at the deepest point of my pain; He taught me to worship Him when it didn’t even make sense. I’m not going to tell you that the answer came right away or even at times the way I wanted it to, but the lessons I learned along the way were invaluable, the strength I gained could not and would not have been gained if my life were nice and perfect.
God has come through for me time and again and He continues to do so and if He can do it for me, He will most certainly do it for you. The waiting will come to an end; the difficult situation will come to an end. I have learned from my own experiences that tough times really don’t last forever, they do come to an end and when your eyes are fixed on the One who is able to deliver, heal, strengthen, cleanse, save, you will truly have the hope and the future HE has promised. As one part of the chorus of the song says:
This won’t last forever,
Baby it’s gonna get better,
It’ll be alright, alright, alright, alright, alright.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, please do so now. No matter how bad things look, He is truly able to deliver, He will make a way through an impossible situation, He WILL do it, He truly will...
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.