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
I’m looking back over my life and I’m realising I’m seeing a lot of growth and development. My prayer life, my praise and worship have all been overhauled. But how did I reach to this point of introspection and subsequently self-realisation? Well, the rain began to fall outside…
Okay, so what does the rain have to do with anything you may ask? As the rain began to fall, I got off my bed where I was resting - and I started to talk to God. Various thoughts were flowing through my mind and I got up and started talking to Him. I realised that indeed God causes the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust as well as the sun to shine on the same. What did that memory prompt? It was a reminder that God loves the unjust. He is concerned about them too, not just about me. I thought to myself that this is the reason why He commands us to love our enemies. They are our enemies because they have hurt us in some way but guess what God still wants to bless them, He still loves them. What they have done to us does not cause God to love them less. Think about it, we have done things to offend others also. We too have hurt others. But God doesn’t hate us, He still desires to bless us, to give us His best. You see with God there is always a bigger picture. He knows the power of forgiveness so He encourages it because it will benefit us more than holding a grudge, more than wishing evil against another. In fact, our growth depends on it. I also looked at Job. Job was about to be blessed by God but he had to do one very important thing - forgive His friends. His friends had been a thorn in his flesh instead of a source of comfort and encouragement in his time of need. Yet, God loved his friends. How do we know this? He told them to go to Job so he could pray for them (Job 42:7-8). It doesn’t sound as if God was interested in destroying them because of their treatment of Job and all the erroneous things they had said about God. He was willing to give them a chance … and He wanted Job to do the same. In the end, Job received amazing blessings (Job 42:10) and his friends escaped much deserved punishment. It was a win win for all concerned.
And this is the point where I realised how much I have grown. All the points in my life where there was conflict and pain, God had used the pain to bring out my best praise, my best worship. It’s easy to worship God when things are going good, but try doing it when your emotions are crushed, your mind is in turmoil, and life just seems so unfair. When you choose to worship in spite of, what you’re in essence saying is: “God, even though I don’t understand, even though it seems so unfair and painful, I’m going to worship You anyway. I’m not going to wait for the pain to go away, for the situation to change, I’m going to worship You right now as if my life depended on it.” Worship is more than just a feeling, it’s a choice. It’s a choice to honour God, to be thankful even when you feel like you have nothing to be thankful for. It’s a choice to praise Him for His goodness even though you can’t see it. I had finally learned how to truly worship God. Many times before it was just words but there was no understanding. Now I praise and worship with understanding and I know it’s more meaningful to Him as well as to me.
So that’s why I spoke at the start about my growth and development. Everything that had happened to me over many years - both good and bad - God had used and is still using to bring the best out of me. While going through I couldn’t always see it. I was blinded by the pain and anger and even at times shame. But in retrospect, I can see God’s hand on my life every step of the way. His Word is true: All things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Nothing with God is by accident everything has purpose behind it. So be thankful because He is using everything both good and bad to work out what’s best for you!
P.S. I don't ever ask this but please click on comments and share a testimony or give a few words of thanksgiving to God for His goodness towards you. Thanks for sharing.
“All my life You have been faithful…” This line from the song “Goodness of God” caught my attention this morning. The entire song ministers to me actually. As I listened to it, I remembered my backslidden season and my many failings over the years and yet God has been faithful to me. Even when my desires are more geared toward other people and things, God still takes care of me, He still loves me. You know, sometimes, we’re looking for someone to love us, to have our back and the people in our lives, even with their best efforts, just don’t seem to always make the grade. But God always loves, always covers, always protects, always takes care of us.
The Bible says that God causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the just and the unjust. In my backslidden state, I remember times when I would go to a party and pray that God would protect and keep me. Imagine!!! I should not even have been in the party in the first place, yet, God in His mercy and His goodness was pursuing me even in those parties, even when I went to places I knew God didn’t want me to go and had the friendships and relationships He didn’t want me to have. And believe me, I knew when the relationship was wrong. But God pulled me out and through each time. I don’t know about anyone else, but God has been faithful to me. And now as I look back and see where I was and where God has brought me to today, I am one person who can indeed “sing of the goodness of God.”
Look at David’s life. He messed up time and again yet was still considered a man after God’s own heart. No one could tell David that God had not been good to him. He had experienced God’s goodness for himself. Look at Naomi. She and her family left their home to go to the heathen land of Moab. There she lost everything and her life seemed over. She returned home with nothing but bitterness and a Moabite daughter-in-law. It seemed nothing good could ever come to her again. Yet, God was with her in Moab, He directed her back home and blessed her far above and beyond what she could have asked for or imagined. And she ended up being a part of Jesus’ bloodline!
What have you been through or are going through, what have you done or are doing that seems to disqualify you for God’s goodness? Nothing can separate you from God’s love . . . not even the devil himself (Romans 8:35, 38-39)!!! God pursues us because of love but also because of purpose. God is a God of purpose and His plans for you are to prosper you not to harm you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Yes, we may have to face the consequences of our actions, don’t get me wrong, but even in this God’s desire is to help us be the best we can be in Him. He is still good and sometimes we are too blind or distracted to see it. Sometimes, He even has to move and shift around people, things, situations to bring us to where He wants us to be. But it all boils down to His goodness. He won’t stand by and watch us destroy ourselves and He will intervene because of His intense love for us . . . even when we sometimes reject His love and His efforts to save us.
God is good. God is faithful. And there is nothing you can do to change that!