And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
For the past few weeks God has been using people’s testimonies to minister to me and to give me something to write about. One afternoon, I decided to sit down and watch the 700 Club because I enjoy listening to the various testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of different people. As I sat and listened to the program my attention was caught by a young girl who was unable to taste or smell. When she was born her olfactory nerve was not connected to her brain hence the inability to smell or taste. No one even knew she had this problem until around the age of five when her parents started to realize that something was wrong and when they checked with the doctor found out what had taken place. Unfortunately, the doctors were unable to fix the problem. So, the young lady had to live with it.
I thought to myself afterwards of life in general. So many times, we choose to live with it, live with situations, circumstances that we feel we can’t change. And so, we go through life “living with it.” But suppose there are those impossible things in our life that God wants to change, even can change. Suppose He is just waiting for us to look to Him instead of looking at the impossibility of our situation?
It’s so ironic that even her mother said that they were not even praying for that problem. They never gave it to God. Instead they chose to focus on her problem with asthma and that is what they were believing God to heal. You see, in their minds, the asthma was “do-able”, God could handle that but the other problem? That was just too big for God. Sometimes we do the same thing. We give God – without realizing it – the things we think He can handle but the other stuff we keep to ourselves and simply choose to “live with it.” It’s as if God isn’t big enough, strong enough, capable enough to handle this particular problem. Sometimes maybe, we have been going through that situation for so long we actually believe that maybe this is our lot in life. And maybe it is… But what if it isn’t?
I am reminded of Abraham’s father, Terah. He was on his way to Canaan but stopped in the land of Haran and guess what? He never completed his journey. He stopped and stayed right there in Haran and I believe he simply chose to “live with it,” to stay right where he was because he actually believed that that was where he needed to stay (Genesis 11:31-32). He was comfortable, too comfortable and never continued his journey and therefore did not receive God’s best for him. His son, Abraham, however, received “his father’s best” instead because he chose to follow God’s instruction all the way and finally made it to Canaan. He did not settle for less just because it was easier or more comfortable.
How comfortable are you with where you are? Your situation may be stressful, downright painful, but for some reason you feel stuck. You have actually started believing that maybe this is where you need to “stop and stay”; this is probably as good as it’s going to get so you may as well learn to “live with it.” We may feel so stoic, so noble with this attitude but in reality, this stoicism can cause us to miss God’s best for us.
In my own life, I have to be honest, too many times, I have chosen to settle, chosen to “live with it,” because that seemed so much easier to do. I think sometimes I get so discouraged that the situation is taking so long to change that I start to believe that maybe, that’s how it’s going to be and that maybe I just have to learn to make the best of it. But after listening to this testimony I realize that Jesus came so that I could have and live an abundant life in Christ. It is true that my life will not be perfect, but there are some things that I have chosen to “settle” for that maybe God doesn’t want me to settle for. Maybe He just wants me to be patient; my dream will still come to pass, my situation will change for the better, but I just have to trust His perfect timing and His ability to do the impossible.
So today, if you don’t have a relationship with the God who is able to pull you out of your stuck position, invite Him into your life and see the amazing things He is going to do for you. And if you do have a relationship with Him, please don’t believe anymore that the God who loves you so much would ever want you to settle for less than His best for you.
By the way, God did of course, supernaturally heal that girl without man’s help. Now she can taste and enjoy food and smell everything life has to offer. But that’s not all. Sometime after, doctors found a cure to treat her specific type of asthma. God even took care of that. That’s two for two. He healed what her family was believing Him to heal as well as what they were not even praying for. Only God!
Today I listened to an interview on the radio. One of the special guests was a friend of mine, Anesia Brebnor, who has written a book entitled, "When The Dust Calls." She was given the opportunity to promote her work and share her experience on writing it. As I listened I was blessed by what she shared, knowing some of the things myself as she had shared them with me. But I was also struck by one of those “look what the Lord has done” moments. She has been through a lot – pain, uncertainty, depression, discouragement - and to hear her testimony on the radio today and to know that out of all that tragedy, God has done and is truly doing some good things in her life is truly a blessing. But what if she had given up along the way…
There are so many characters in the Bible who went through fiery trials. What if David had given up along the way? He never would have become king over Israel, a position God had anointed him for several years before he actually became king. What if Noah had decided to stop building the ark because he listened to the unbelief of the people who did not believe a flood was coming? He and his family would have been destroyed along with everyone else and the world would not have been repopulated. What if Jesus had given up along the way because of all the rejection and persecution He faced from His own people and chose not to go to the Cross? The world would be lost, and we would all be heading to a fiery eternity. And there are so many other examples. But they did not give up. No matter how tough things looked or felt, they kept going, they kept doing what they had to do because there was purpose.
I am encouraged by my friend’s testimony because she could have given up along the way and I’m sure at times she did but guess what? God never gave up on her. He always brought her through the difficult times and out of all those challenges God has birthed a powerful and anointed dance ministry as well as a book with the promise of more books to come.
You see, with God, purpose and destiny are important. We never go through anything in life for no reason. Everything He allows is for purpose and to help shape our destiny. The people we meet, the opportunities that come our way, the tragedies and the challenges all play an important role in God’s masterplan for our lives. We often don’t see it as that because day by day we are just trying to live, trying to survive, trying to make it from one day to the next. But with God, everything that He allows to come our way always has purpose behind it.
In my own life I have faced many challenges. I would have loved to not have gone through many of them. But I have found myself learning to thank God for the challenges that I’ve been through at times. In retrospect, when I look at where I am now I know that I am who I am because of the very things I wanted to run from. I like to say that I was a jellyfish, I had no backbone but now because of the things I have been through I can honestly say that God has used those tough times to build some much-needed backbone in me. Had my life been easy and without challenges, I may have had nothing to write about, no words of encouragement or strength to share with someone else. So, I thank God for it all, both good and bad because I can see His hand in everything that I have been through.
The temptation will always be there to give up along the way. “It’s too hard!” “I can’t do this,” may be familiar cries from your very soul. But God hears, sees and knows and will equip you with what you need to go through. Don’t abort your destiny. Don’t abort God’s plan and purpose for your life. On the other side of the pain, the suffering, the oppression, the shame and guilt, may be birthed a book that will speak to someone’s pain, a song that may inspire someone to go on, a dance that will give someone the strength to choose to try again, a ministry – whatever that may be for you – that may help someone to know that if you can make it so will they. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ ask Him to come into your life and to take all the hurt, pain, struggle and to bring good out of it to inspire and encourage others. And if you are already one of His, keep your eyes fixed on your Source and let Him make a way. So, as tough as it is … Don’t. Give. Up!
Recently, this week, I was going through Facebook and saw a testimony given by a young woman about her experience with cancer. She shared her pain, her confusion about why she had to go through this and her feelings of defeat. It was not easy for her and there were days when she just wanted to end it all. Yet, she did not give up and she put her trust in God even when it was difficult to do so. Thank God, finally, a few months ago she found out that she is in remission and she gives God all the glory for seeing her through. One of the things she said that caught my attention even in the midst of her already awesome testimony was: “Oh to be kept by God!”
This caught my attention because it was a reminder of the reality that we are indeed kept by God. Sometimes, as Christians we tend to think that because we are serving God things should be great all the time. When problems come, therefore, we feel so discouraged that we may begin to wonder if God is there at all. But I’m realizing more and more that it is through tough times that we really get to see who our God is. As we focus our eyes and hearts on Him in the midst of our distress, we can feel His strength and His hope, keeping us from completely falling apart. I have never had cancer but I could sense this young woman’s pain during her difficult journey. She was not pretending that everything was okay and that the road was easy but she admitted that during her traumatic journey, God was there, her Rock, her Strength, her Hope. God was keeping her even when she couldn’t keep herself.
I remember even my own challenges in my Christian walk even to this day. After rededicating my life to the Lord, I remember finally understanding that Christianity was about relationship not religion. I was enjoying a truly intimate time with God, hearing His voice in ways I had not experienced before and experiencing His blessings in phenomenal ways. But I also distinctly remember that those initial years were bombarded with struggles in my flesh to the point that there were times that I thought my life would be easier if I were not serving God. But God never allowed me to give up on myself or even on Him. I remember times when I too like this young lady, struggled with suicidal thoughts and desires because I was so discouraged and felt like an absolute failure as a Christian. Yet, God kept me!!! He NEVER gave up on me and never allowed me to give up on myself either. He understood my struggles but continued to believe in what He had deposited in me. It wasn’t about my goodness, because I certainly felt far from good many times, it was about His goodness, His purpose for my life, His love for me that refused to let me go! It was amazing.
One of the other things she said that caught my attention was: “If it had not been for the Lord on my side!” Let’s face it, when we are going through, the battle can feel pretty lonely at times. Sometimes, no matter where we turn or who we turn to, there seems to be no answer to our problem. God seems and feels far away and very silent. But guess what? No matter how we may feel, or how things appear, God is right there. He hasn’t gone anywhere. Sometimes we just need to fill our minds and hearts with His Word. What is His Word saying concerning our situation? Sometimes we just have to consistently speak His Word over our life, our battle, our feelings. No matter how bad it looks God is on your side why? Because His plans are still to prosper us not to harm us, to give us HOPE and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). It is still NOT God’s will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b).
God is truly not interested in destroying us but saving us and while we are alive that opportunity for salvation is always there. What happens after we die and where we will end up – heaven or hell – is dependent on the decisions we make now. So, if you have not done so, now is the time to ask Jesus to come into your life and to adopt you as one of His own. Let’s face it, life will always have challenges, but how much better to go through those tough times knowing that you are in a relationship with and kept by a God who is always on your side!!!
My family and I were having devotions this morning. It was my son’s turn to share what he had read and he spoke about the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). God had told Abraham to take his son Isaac, go to a special place and offer him there as a sacrifice to God. Abraham obeyed and made the three-day journey to the designated place. His son asked him about the lamb for the sacrifice but the most he told him was that God would provide. When they arrived, he bound his son, placed him on the altar and raised his hand with the knife to kill him but the Lord stopped him and allowed him to see and use a ram instead as the sacrifice. God acknowledged Abraham’s willingness to give what he loved to God and consequently blessed him.
I had heard this story over and over again over the years but for some reason when my son shared it this morning something caught my attention. I had always been made to focus on Abraham’s willingness to give his only son to God and how difficult that must have been. After all this was his only son that he had received from God in his old age when neither he nor his wife could have children. He was precious to him. However, my focus shifted to Isaac. How did he feel? He was familiar with the religious ritual of offering sacrifices because he even asked his father where the lamb for it was. He knew what to expect so he knew that the actual sacrifice was missing. I asked my son to put himself in Isaac’s position and if his father bound him and put him on the altar of sacrifice instead, how would he feel? He immediately replied: “Confused.” And I agreed with him. The Bible doesn’t tell us how Isaac felt but he probably did feel confused. Yet, interestingly, even as he realized what was happening as his beloved father bound him and placed him on the altar … he never once protested or fought against his father! Why? He trusted him. Just as his father trusted God, Isaac trusted his father!
There’s a whole deeper level of trust that maybe God wants you to get into. Trusting Him in the little things is easy. Trusting Him in the big things is hard!
Recently, God has been bringing me back to that place of trust in Him and He is allowing me to go through challenging situations to bring me to that point of trust. The lessons are not easy, but they are certainly not impossible and with each lesson He has allowed me to come to the point where I either trust and rest in Him or be stressed and frustrated. When I rededicated my life to the Lord in 1992 and before I got married in 1999, God had helped me develop a relationship with Him whereby I was willing to give up anything and anyone for Him. No one and nothing could compare to Him and that was both in theory and in practice. I wanted Him, I was sold out to Him, I enjoyed spending time with Him and in very difficult times, financially and otherwise, I had learned to simply trust Him … and He NEVER failed me. I have since continued that relationship over the years but with less intensity than during those precious times. Now, once again, in recent years, I realize God is bringing me back to that place of intimacy with Him. It is a place of trust that is amazing and He is teaching me once again to keep my eyes focused on Him, to trust His best for my life even when it doesn’t make sense and to let go of everything and everyone so that they are no longer more important to me than He is. Is this easy? A resounding NO!!!! But it’s not impossible and I’m being reminded by Him more and more that it’s worth it.
What are the situations that God is using in your life to bring you to that point of trust in Him? It may not seem to make sense, it may even be painful or uncomfortable, yet nothing in our life is wasted by God. God uses everything, both good and bad, to perform His best for us. The Bible says that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
If you want to experience this relationship with someone you can trust without question and who will love you even in your imperfection, just invite Jesus to come into your life, to forgive you of all your sins and to help you to become your best you. And for those who already have that relationship with Him, maybe you too need to get back to that place of intimacy with Him, a place where you feel secure and loved. It’s not as hard as you might think. Just ask for His help and He will walk with you every step of the way.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.