And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
I was listening to some music recently and came across a song I had heard some time ago. I had been watching a movie and this was one of the songs that was playing during the credits. It’s a song by Melissa Otto called “It’s Alright.” I had never heard the song before yet for some inexplicable reason as I heard it while doing some work in the kitchen, I got emotional and started to cry. I felt as if God was just reassuring and encouraging me that in spite of what, it was alright. He was taking care of me and I didn’t need to worry because He had me covered in His care.
Maybe today someone needs to know, "It’s alright." The first chorus simply states:
It's alright, He's by my side
And He'll take good care of me
It's alright, He's on my side
And He knows my every need
Sometimes we may feel all alone in our situation. Yes, people may be aware of what’s happening or maybe no one knows what in the world we are going through but God does.
The woman with the issue of blood was going through a tough time. She was faced with a condition that caused her to be unfairly rejected by society. The Bible doesn’t share with us her feelings of rejection, depression or neglect. We just know that according to Jewish law her constant bleeding rendered her unclean (Leviticus 15:25-33). I’m pretty sure this meant that she could not interact with people as she may have liked, she probably couldn’t attend festive gatherings, in short loneliness was probably her closest companion. Yet, God knew. God saw. God understood. God loved her anyway. And, when the time was right He healed her (Luke 8:43-48).
When you think that God isn’t listening and watching, He is and, at just the right time, when you least expect it He WILL show up! He will give you that extra grace, that extra cushion, that extra comfort to keep going, to not give up and He is doing that for you today. He may not be ready to take you out of that situation just yet, but He is giving you some strength to move forward, to keep going until that season finally comes to an end...
His Word says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Just like we feel many times, the apostle Paul was desperate for God to remove a negative situation from his life. So, he prayed about it three times and this was God’s response to him (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). Sometimes, it’s not about getting out as quickly as possible but about learning to survive and thrive while we are making our way out of a situation. We can’t always tell God when to rescue us, sometimes we just have to trust His timing and that while we are waiting He is doing some important things in us. I can honestly say that I am more and more learning to pray for the grace to go through for as long as God needs me to go through. Is this an easy choice? No! But, I am in a different season where trust is not only about, “Lord let it end” but “God give me Your grace as I go through.” I would like to think I am growing and maturing ... I hope I am. But, it is a season and a new level where trust in God is key ... it’s my lifeline!
We really do tend to forget that although Jesus asked for His cup to be taken away from Him, He still chose God’s will over His own “fleshly” desires and fears. I would like to believe that He too trusted in His Heavenly Father’s grace to give Him the strength He needed to go through with His mission here on earth. It’s nice to know that when He was human like us, He faced situations that helped Him to understand our hurts, our fears, our feelings of rejection, our discouragement. So, at the end of the day God really does know and understand more that we can imagine.
So, as God has been encouraging me, I would like to encourage you. It’s alright! Even in the midst of the storm, God is saying “It’s alright” not “It’s going to be alright” but “It’s alright.” With God we never have to wait for the storm to end to feel His love, His covering, His protection, His care. God is so awesome that even in the midst of our situation He is taking care of us. I think the greater testimony isn’t about getting out but about how God is helping us to prosper, thrive and survive in the midst of the storm. I end here with the second chorus which says:
I'm by your side and I'll take good care of you
It's alright, I'm on your side
And I know all that you go through
If you have not yet made a commitment to give your life to Christ, I encourage you to do so now. In Him, we have all the grace, strength and support we need to make it and to be our best for Him even while going through!
I recently listened to a testimony by Gospel singer Travis Greene that really got my attention. Maybe, like me, many of you have heard of his testimony when he was young and fell from a building and although initially doctors pronounced him dead, God miraculously saved his life. This other testimony that I heard recently I had never heard before and it truly caught my attention because I look at his ministry now and am amazed at how awesome our God is.
It turns out that one day, at the age of four, he bit his tongue so badly that he grew up with a speech impediment. He had a really difficult time pronouncing “s”. They tried putting up different words beginning with “s” to see if he could pronounce the “s” but he just couldn’t. They gave up hope on him ... but God didn’t. Years later, he walked into music company, Sony RCA in New York, and was asked how much money he wanted them to give him to be there. Even though they told him that what they liked about him was that they could always tell it was him, alluding to his speech impediment, he didn’t take offense, he simply thanked them choosing to take it as a compliment. What was seen as a limitation, a hindrance God chose to use to bring honour and glory to Himself. Today, he is a renowned gospel singer and pastor. Clearly, his “accident” as a child has not prevented him from using that same “messed up” tongue to do great things for God.
As I compare the story from last week about Jessica Long, the successful Paralympic swimmer, I note a difference between the two. Jessica Long had done nothing to cause her handicap. She was simply born that way. God chose to let her be born without her lower leg bones. Travis Greene, on the other hand, accidentally bit his tongue so badly as a child that he developed a speech impediment. He was responsible for his “handicap”. The interesting thing is it didn’t matter to God. He chose to use both of these individuals to do great things for Him. God is not interested in punishing us for all of our flaws or mistakes. In fact, He will use them to bring honour and glory to Him.
I think of the story of Abraham and Sarah. Sarah had done nothing to be barren. God was the One who chose to close her womb. On top of that, He gave her husband a promise of a child that only a fertile wife could fulfil (Genesis 15:2-4). Had God made a mistake? No, He had not. What doesn’t make sense to man makes sense to God. You see, at the end of the day, God was going to be the One to fulfil His own promise to Abraham. Both him and his barren wife would be the parents of many nations (Genesis 17:3-4,15-16). Their inability to have children could not stop God’s promise to them. I don’t know about you but to me that speaks of the awesomeness of God – accomplishing something in us that ONLY HE can fulfil. It would seem that God loves to speak impossible things over our lives knowing that He alone can fulfil them.
The other story I think of is the one of the apostle Paul, originally named Saul. Prior to his conversion, Paul had persecuted Christians sure that he was doing God’s will. When he finally had an encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus where he hoped to persecute, even murder more Christ-followers, his entire life was transformed and he became one of Jesus’ most avid followers, preaching the same Jesus he had been so fervently against (Acts 9:1-22). Did his activities before serving Christ disqualify him from being used mightily by God. No, they did not. God had a purpose and plan for his life and his crusade against Jesus could not change God’s mind about using him.
My own life has not been perfect. When I made the choice to turn away from God, that was my choice, my doing, my mistake. Yet, when I made the move to return to Him, He didn’t see me as washed up, as disqualified. In fact, He has instead chosen to use me in ways that I never would have dreamed or imagined. In His eyes I am not disqualified, and He is actually using the negative areas in my life to bring honour and glory to Him. I would not have had a testimony had I not been through a trial. I would not be able to comfort and encourage others had I not been through hurt and pain. I would not be able to be used by Him had it not been for the lessons learned through my mistakes as well as through things that happened that were not even my fault. As I will continue to say, I thank God for the negatives in my life. They have made my life more fruitful and more blessed and just as God has and continues to do it for me, He will do the same for you. If nothing can separate you from God’s love, nothing can truly disqualify you from being used by God either. Even though we are not perfect, He is, and He is quite capable of doing the impossible in and through you.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Saviour I encourage you to do so now. No amount of fixing on your part can make your life perfect, that’s God’s job. Let Him take you just as you are and do with you what only He can do ... the impossible!
I was encouraged by the testimony of champion Paralympic swimmer, Jessica Long. She is a 13-time world record holder and has won many Olympic medals. Yet, with all of these accomplishments you would never believe that she was born without her lower leg bones. It was in a Russian orphanage that her parents, Steve and Beth Long, found her and decided to adopt her and another little boy. At eighteen months, they decided to amputate her lower legs and this was the first of 25 painful surgeries she would have to endure. Her parents, however, impressed upon her that God had a special plan for her life. Yet, this was difficult for her to believe. She couldn’t understand or accept why God had made her this way, she couldn’t understand why God chose to make her different. She was angry and didn’t want to have anything to do with Him.
Many times, I think, when we are facing challenges, when life isn’t quite going the way we hope or expect, it can be so easy to become angry with God. We question Him wondering why He has allowed these things to happen to us especially when we may be trying to do everything right. Jessica had done nothing wrong to deserve being born without lower leg bones, that was just how God chose to create her. In the same way, God may choose to allow us to go through things that are painful and that may not make much sense. Yet, as I like to say, with God there is always a bigger picture, even a bigger plan, a bigger purpose for what we are going through.
Jessica discovered that she had a love for swimming. At the age of ten she joined the local swim team. She thereafter went on to compete in various world championships and win many gold medals. Unfortunately, swimming became her identity when she realized how much she was able to accomplish and achieve on her own. She didn’t even want to rely on her parents let alone a God she could not see. However, after winning over 50 gold medals and numerous world records she realized that something was missing. In spite of all her accomplishments and fame, she still felt empty. She was also tired of being angry, tired of carrying the weight of it. Finally, she surrendered her all to God, to the One she had been told could fully satisfy her.
Here’s the thing: God made Jessica that way for a reason. Sometimes we may think that we have to be perfect, that everything has to be perfect for God to use us and create something beautiful out of us. Jessica, for a long time, did not feel worthy and could not see the special plan of God for her life that her parents had told her about. All she could see was her handicap. Many times, all we see is our handicap, our brokenness, that flaw or imperfection that seems to disqualify us from ever becoming something special. We may even look at other people’s “perfections” and believe that if we only had what they have we could accomplish great things. But the nice thing with God is that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). God doesn’t see our imperfections as a hindrance but rather as an opportunity to accomplish great things for Him. Our identity is still found in Christ and based on what God says about us ... in spite of our imperfections! God’s thoughts about us existed even before we were created and they don’t change when our flaws – in our body or in our character – begin to surface. God is not moved by our limitations but by His Word which doesn’t change.
Think about Jesus’ disciples. They were chosen not because they were perfect, in fact they were far from it. They were chosen because of God’s purpose for each of them. No one was better than the other.
God may not have given Jessica whole legs when she was born, but that did not stop Him from using her to accomplish all those achievements with the shortened legs that she did have. He did not see her as broken but whole, a whole vessel that He could use. She didn’t need whole legs, she just needed God! God still had a beautiful plan for her life and she did not need a perfect body to be worthy of that plan – she just needed GOD! We don’t need a perfect body or a perfect life to accomplish great things for God – we too just need GOD! His Word NEVER said that without a perfect body or without a perfect life we can do nothing. In fact, He sees us through perfect eyes. His Word says that without HIM we can do nothing (John 15:5b)! Let’s keep it in perspective. He will fix what needs to be fixed, He will leave as is what He chooses not to change, but when we put our trust in Him we can and will do ALL things through Christ (Philippians 4:13) who will enable us to do special, beautiful, wonderful things that our eyes, mind and hearts could never dream or imagine.
If you have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior I encourage you to do so now. God is not interested in perfect people to do His perfect will. Rather, He specializes in using imperfect people to show the world that He alone is able to do great, mighty and wonderful things in us no matter our limitations, imperfections or flaws.
Last week Tyler Perry’s story reminded us that God is our air traffic controller, ready to guide us to safety during turbulent times. This week, I am going to stick with this a little longer.
Even as Tyler Perry was begging the pilot to land the plane panic had set in and he just wanted it to be over and done with. I am thinking here of two different voices. There was the voice in his mind – the voice of fear – very loud and very clear telling him that it wasn’t worth it, that he didn’t want to die because it was certain that they were going to die if they didn’t land that plane immediately. Then there was the voice of the air traffic controller telling them to go in exactly the opposite direction – up!!! Here was this person who was not in the turbulence with them but telling them to go up, to climb! In life there will always be voices directing us to go one way or the other, to do one thing or the other but this is where we have to be discerning enough to know which voice is which; which voice we should listen to and obey and which voice we should ignore.
The story of Jesus comes to mind. When He told the disciples that in Jerusalem he would be killed and raised again the third day, Peter rebuked Him declaring that such a thing would not happen to Him (Matthew 16:21-22). In Peter’s mind Jesus was the Messiah and Him being killed just did not make sense. He was not intentionally trying to stop God’s purpose for Jesus’ life but that was exactly what he was doing. What Jesus prophesied about his death seemed too turbulent, too disturbing, too horrific to Peter and the disciples and if they could stop it from happening they would. They couldn’t see the victory on the other side of that horrible fate.
We too will encounter voices, people who cannot see the good, the purpose that God has for our turbulent situation and who will try to get us to land our plane before time. These voices will come into agreement with our fear, with our own desire to handle our situation in a way that God doesn’t want us to. The voice of fear always makes sense to our human understanding yet that does not necessarily mean that it is the voice of God.
On the other hand, there are those voices, those people who will encourage us not to land, not to give up because somehow God has given them the spiritual eyes to see what God has put in us. Those voices will encourage us not to abort God’s purpose but to keep going, to keep climbing, to keep being the best we can be in spite of the turbulence. Jesus chose not to listen to the voice of Peter but to the voice of His heavenly Father who had put Him in this position in the first place. He understood and came into agreement with the Father’s purpose for His life understanding that He had to go through this terrible time and submit Himself to death on the cross so that He would sit at the Father’s right hand and receive a name above all names; a name that would cause demons to fear and tremble; a name to which every knee would bow. He knew that salvation for the world would come through His submitting to that terrible fate ... and that that “turbulence” would not last forever, it would come to an end.
Again, this is why I like to thank God for turbulent times, especially when I see the good He brings out of it for me – the valuable lessons I learn, the strength I gain, the experience I receive so that I can encourage others in their time of turbulence.
None of us likes to submit to that voice that tells us that we can’t land just yet, that we have to go through, that we have to climb instead of land, that we have to keep going forward instead of turning around and going back. But our God always has a purpose for every trial, every test, every hurt, every pain, every suffering, every confusing situation, every turbulence that comes our way. Some things He will prevent us from going through but some things we just cannot avoid. Either way, it’s about God’s purpose for our lives. What God wanted to do in Tyler Perry’s life required him to go through that turbulent plane ride just for him to learn to face his fear and conquer it so that he could keep doing what he had to do for the Lord.
What are the voices in your life saying to you now in the midst of your turbulent situation? God will never lead you wrong and once it is His purpose for you to go through that situation, He will lead you the right way and guide you safely to His purpose for you.
If you have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, please do so now. We all need direction especially as we navigate the challenges of life. You can trust God’s leading because it will always be about guiding you into what is good, what is best for you.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.