Talking with a friend a while back, a comment was made that "Life is hard but God is good and therein lies the battle."
Oh, is this not true? God IS good. We know that. We cling to it. We rely on it and place our hope in the fact. We know, in our heart of hearts and with every fiber of our being, that there is no mistaking it. God. Is. Good. But then, enter stage left: life. The hard, messy, difficult, tear-inducing, maddening stuff. Lost jobs and lost children, money problems and hospital visits, war and destruction, banished hopes and demolished dreams. Life.
Life is hard. But God is good. The two facts are sometimes seemingly irreconcilable. Because how can God be good in the midst of such heartache, trial, and difficulty? How can God be good when life gets hard? How is He good when we find the things we hold dearest or long for the most extinguished or left unanswered? Simply this: He is good because He is there.
In the midst of our hardest situations, in the middle of lost hopes and difficulties, He is there. He will never leave us or see us lost, but will be with us every single minute and each step of the way. He creates beauty out of the ashes in which we sometimes find ourselves sitting. He enables us to rise and continue on. If that weren't enough, He is our refuge and shelter, the strong tower into which we can run for safety. He is perfect, holy, and has a plan for each of His children. He has given us full and complete access to the throne of grace which we can boldly approach and from which He will hear our cries. He loves us with love that cannot be fathomed and He is trustworthy.
So yes, life is hard. But God is good "and therein lies the battle." Fight to hold onto Him in your time of need, dear friends. He will see you through!
Whatever the circumstances, whatever the call... His strength will be your strength in your hour of need. - Billy Graham
Whatever the circumstances... whatever the call. Do you realize how immensely powerful this is?
The Lord does not call us to do little things nor does He want us to live a nominal life of unimportance. He calls us to radically live for Him. Radically obey Him. Radically trust Him. He calls us to seek Him, long for Him, acknowledge Him, and strive to become like Him. This is not little nor is it easy. It is a striving in the midst of a fierce battle being waged every day all around us. It is step after courageous step to do the harder thing and walk toward Him rather than away. It is literally dying to ourselves and crucifying our sinful flesh, putting away our petty hopes and secret dreams in favor of God's great plans and mind blowing purposes. Sitting here thinking back to the day I got saved, I would never have been able to imagine what He would have me doing today let alone two years ago or two years before that. He is the God of the impossible, the God of the unimaginable and I know personally that whatever the circumstances and whatever the call... His strength will be your strength in your hour of need.
The Lord will never, ever call you out to walk out on the ocean of uncertainty without walking alongside you. He will never call you to do something He is not a part of. He will never call you to walk alone, without Him, on this journey. He will ALWAYS be with you! He will NEVER leave you! He will NEVER forsake you! No matter your failings, no matter your flaws, He will never leave you as you are. He will change you, He will transform you, He will work in you and He will give you His strength in your hour of need. Our God is a GREAT God, dear friends. Know Him! Know Him and let his fierce love wrap around you, transcending any problems, any worries, any concerns, and any obstacle that might be staring you in the face. NOTHING is too great or too small for our great God. For He will be with you! And He will see you through!
...not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof." Joshua 23:14
While I know and am well aware that Joshua is speaking concerning the promises of God for His people Israel, the same verse can apply just as well to us - His people grafted in. His promises for us abound and He will see each one fulfilled! Here are just four such promises:
1. The Lord has started a good work in us and He will see it finished - Philippians 1:6. Not one plan He has for us will be passed over, not one gift will be set aside.
2. The Lord's plans will be for our good - Romans 8:28. He is our Father and as such, He always has our good in mind.
3. He will guide and direct us in the way we should go - Psalm 32:8. The Lord is not only our Father, but also our King. As our King, He will ensure we know His plans and what He has for us.
4. He will establish the very thoughts we think - Proverbs 16:3. When we seek Him and commit all we do to Him, He will not just guide us, but will establish our thoughts, making clear our way and obvious the path on which to walk.
In no one can we have more confidence, more assurance, and more hope that our future will be ultimately good and blessed than in the One who has planned it all. Give it all to Him in trust, for not one thing will fail of the plans He has for you!
I have joyously discovered that [God] is always up to something in my life, and I am learning to quit second-guessing Him and simply trust the process. - Gloria Gaither
I love this because it is so very true! God is absolutely always up to something and it's always something for my good and His glory. When life is viewed through the lense of God at work, it's really quite exciting. But that is where the second half of Gaither's quote comes into play. Along with that excitement is a much needed foundation of trusting - trusting that the LORD truly is at work, trusting that His plans are good, and trusting Him with our lives whether we can see beyond the next footfall or not.
There is a huge element of trust as we walk forward in the Christian life and it all centers around what we really believe about the One we serve and worship. If we truly believe and cling to the fact that God is good, holy, trustworthy, righteous, just, and loving, we will be able to fully trust Him. Yes, storms may buffet and uncertainties can abound, but our God will never leave us nor will He be surprised by any of it. Instead, He will see us through it all and work His wonderful plan! Just as Jesus called Peter to walk on the roiling sea, so He calls us, at times, to walk through the tempests of this life while clinging to His hand.
He is indeed at work in our lives, dear friends, and often in ways we cannot possibly fathom. Let us trust Him with the work He is doing and praise Him for the outcome!
For the last week or so, I've been on vacation with my family. It's been a wonderful time of laughter, staying up late, talking, reading, exploring, and thoroughly enjoying each other. I am so blessed to have this sweet time. I know many cannot pick up and leave their lives for a couple weeks to unplug from the world and enjoy their God-given families.
There is something about unplugging for a while. Getting rest. Stopping the frantic pace of life and hitting the pause button. It provides much needed rest. It bonds us as a family. It physically restores. And in many, many ways, vacation does something unexpected. It makes me long to "begin again." Begin working again, begin getting back to my home church again, begin the regular everyday life in which I am privileged to live and dwell again. It makes me long to see God's awesome, powerful, redemptive hand at work in the every day normal again.
As much as I absolutely love and enjoy vacation, I think perhaps the most incredible thing to do on a daily basis is just live - live the "normal" life God has given us and watch as He redeems it. Watch as He redeems the drunken man's life from the gutter. Watch as He redeems the sinner's sorrowful soul and replaces shame with glorifying joy and peace. Watch as He saves the dying child and the drug abuser. Watch as He reaches down into commonplace, normal, often soul-achingly empty lives and fills them to the brim, full and overflowing with His redemptive power and joy. Watch as He fills lives with peace and soul-satisfying contentment in Him and His work. Watch as He redeems. Because He redeems, dear reader, oh how He redeems!
Yes, I have thoroughly enjoyed vacation. But I am looking forward to getting back to life, ministry, and beginning again to testify of the sweet work of Jesus in our common, ordinary, every day lives!