“…The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17 NIV
Life is full of surprises – and not always the pleasant ones. In fact, life can get downright mean at times. During these rough periods, many of us want to blame God, or at least complain to Him about how unfair our lives have become.
It should be just the opposite. In these trying times we need Him more than ever. Amidst life’s difficulties we need to trust in Him more than ever. When chaos reigns, we need to learn from Him as never before.
While God is big enough to handle our complaints and venting our feelings can be helpful, there comes a time when it’s best to look inward and simply say: “Lord, I don’t understand, but I do trust you.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV.
Joy? During the difficult times? The only way to face our trials is to trust that a greater good will come from them when all is said and done. We may never understand fully the reasons we experience what we do; however, worrying won’t undo them. The only choice is to trust that God is in control. As we begin to do that, we develop the maturity and completeness the Lord is looking for in us.
While we may still have the ‘why’ questions, and struggle for answers, we realize that some day we will ultimately understand. Probably just not on this side of heaven.
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I Corinthians 13:12 NIV
When we keep eternity in mind, it can lessen the impact of the unpleasantness suffered in this life. God does not always take away the pain, but our time here on earth is but a drop in the ocean compared to eternity.
“But we have this treasure (Christ Jesus) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body…Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18 NIV
Life can be difficult, there’s no doubt about it. Life can also be beautiful, there’s no doubt about that, either. For most of us, we experience life at both extremes during some point in our lives. There rest of the time is spent somewhere in between. Regardless of the season of life you find yourself in, don’t ever forget that the Lord is the one in control.
Enjoy the good, the bad, and all the other points in the middle. Just remember that we don’t always understand the ‘why,’ but we do trust in the One who knows.
“Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (or will direct your paths).” Proverbs 3:5,6 NIV
God has proven Himself faithful in my life in both the good and the bad times. And I have learned that the bad times are much easier to bear when I am holding His hand and leaning into Him, rather than struggling against Him, complaining to Him, or demanding that He make things better.
As always, we pray; and we can even ask Him to remove the thorns. But always we must be willing to receive His answer, whether it be: "Yes," "No," or "Maybe later." His ways are not our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts.
But this we know for sure: He has plans for us, to give us a future and a hope. And He works all things together for our good. Wonderful devotional! Blessings, Cheri