My last post was a month ago. I wrote on endurance because that was the word that God gave me and it was the process I was in.. learning to endure. I am still in this situation that requires endurance… and since I wrote about it, I experienced the need for it at a deeper level. That is often the way it is.. we can be aware of something that God is teaching us and before we know it.. we are forced to go deeper into the process. So what comes after endurance? I am not sure but my best guess is more endurance..perseverance..trust…faith…longing…doubting..hoping..returning to Him over and over again as things continue to be difficult.
The biggest challenge to me is my own negative thinking.. will God really come through? or will things continue to move in a bad direction.?. in reality sometimes things do get worse before they get better. In the past I have experienced that.. a period when it seems like all is lost and then suddenly God does something unexpected and changes things.. often this happens at what appears to be the last minute.. Who really understands God’s timing anyway? If you were to ask me about my circumstances.. I would say that the last minute has already happened. Apparently that is only my perception and not God’s. He sees the bigger picture that we cannot see and when we feel like we cannot continue.. He enables us to move ahead and to persevere.. in His strength, not our own. He is working deeply in our character.. making us more like Him and removing those things that prevent us from staying on the path.
All of this leads me to believe that we really don’t understand the ways of God. His plan is a mystery and so is His timing. We are to wait and pray and trust even when it seems like all is lost.. I have to admit that I used to think that my most difficult days were behind me.. that this season of my life would be easier than the things that happened when I was younger.. I know better now.. the word easy is not in the Bible and He does not promise us an easy life.. But we are promised an abundant life.. Now there is food for thought.. We are to live fully in the kingdom of God here knowing that someday we will see more clearly.
Eugene Peterson puts it this way in the Message:
“Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”…….. John 10:10
Every day when I turn over my devotional book.. I see those words and my heart takes them in. Do we truly believe this statement? If we do..everything looks different. Suddenly the most difficult circumstance is not punishment..the challenging relationship is not because we are failing. Everything that happens will be used by Him to bring good into our lives. We may not see it at the time, but we can certainly choose to believe it.
It took many trials and years of difficulty for me to land here. I did not accept this in an instant..in fact I had many doubts until the last decade of my life. Was He punishing me? Had He forgotten me? What kind of God was He? My image of Him was distorted by the way I was raised and the things I heard from those who claimed to represent Him. My point is that God did not leave me there. He has used every single circumstance in my life to show me His character and His love for me. He has pursued me through every means possible.
He is doing that for you..right now..at this very moment. He is capturing your attention through something that is happening to you. He is revealing His character through the way He is taking care of you. He never grows weary of showing you His heart and longing for relationship with you. He is building a history for you to fall back on. If you look at your life, you will see the many ways He has rescued you..come for you..provided for you..sheltered you and saved you.
Take time today to rest in this..to allow it to sink into your heart. He loves you and He is pleased with you. He longs for you and He will do whatever it takes to bring you to Himself. Receive all of this from Him..He wants to bring healing and restoration to you..to enciricle you..to give you everything that you need. He intends good for you.
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.