Crawling comes before walking. Planting comes before harvesting. Starting comes before completing. There is an order to things, and for followers of Jesus… Praying comes before doing. You and I often handle things backwards from how we should handle them by acting and then seeking God when we should seek God and then act. The best thing we can do to handle what we face in life is to seek our Heavenly Father before we do a thing more. We ask. He answers. We act. He assists. This is the only way to live happy, holy lives. Turning to Him shouldn’t be our last resort; it should be our first line of defense.
Others need us to point them to where they can go for help in hardships. Others need to believe us because they see us going there ourselves. The people in our lives need to see us suffer well, handling hardships with hope because we have Jesus in our lives. They need to see and hear our joy-filled, hope-filled, peace-filled confidence in this: He will get us through every test, trial and tribulation until He gets us home. As we walk through seasons of suffering, let us testify to the faithfulness of Jesus in walking with us so others can know, that because grace is available, they never have to walk alone either.
Health will thrive and decline. Leaders will come and go. Portfolios will gain and lose. Relationships will flourish and break. Careers will advance and falter. Pleasures will intensify and fade. Only the steadfast love of God for us in Christ will remain forever. It stays with us through the good and bad, the highs and lows, and the gains and losses of this world. Let us anchor our lives to the unchanging, unending faithfulness of God’s love for us, knowing this: It will never decline, go, lose, break, falter or fade, but will endure to the end of this life and extend into the life to come where it will thrill us forevermore.
It’s easy, common and right to feel and say how good God is when the trouble was avoided, the trial has ended or the treasure is received. Oh, how good He is to us! But when we don’t get what we want, or when we get what we don’t want, God is still good, and God is still good to us. His goodness doesn’t disappear when hard things appear; it shines ever so brightly as He works for us to provide all the help we need to endure life’s disappointments, detours and disasters until we get to the other side to something better. Praise Him! For truly… God is good all the time. And all the time God is good.
Jesus is not only a doer of good to you, He is also an un-doer of bad done to you by people. They hurt your heart; He heals it. They distance themselves; He draws near. They sting you with their words; He soothes you with His. They overlook you; He pays attention. They cheat you; He blesses you. They intend you harm; He works it out for good. They judge your sins; He dies for them. We all do each other wrong, but Jesus begins to make things right in us when we turn to Him, and He will someday make things right in all of creation. Until then, let us seek His grace when others wrong us and when we wrong others.
There is often a tension between belief and doubt when things become difficult. It would be plausible to lose hope and lose heart when facing things that are too much for us to handle if we were forced to handle them alone. But Jesus has promised to never leave us alone, always supplying the grace we need for the needs we face. The more we trust in Him, the more we will rely on Him during the unexpected, uncertain and unpleasant difficulties of this broken world. He will work it out for good as we work out His purposes for us. With faith all things are not made easy. With faith all things are made possible.
No matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done. No matter how big your need. There is grace for you! God’s grace is sufficient for every situation, every location, every imperfection, and every opposition. It. Will. Never. Run. Out. Even though there are moments when your sin, your struggles and your situation may get the best of you, if you are trusting in Jesus, it is simply impossible for you to out-sin, out-run, out-last, out-need, or out-hope God’s grace. It is always there and always enough! You will never find yourself in a place where God has not already plastered, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
God wants us to be happy. When He tells us in the Bible to do, say, correct, believe, feel, think or share something, it is not to take away our happiness; it is to take away the things that are in the way of our full and lasting happiness. We must trust that God is after our happiness, that He knows best how to bring about our happiness, and that what He tells us in the Bible is designed to lead us into happiness. Doing what God tells us is not always easy, popular or instantly gratifying. But it is always for good, always better in the end than sin, and always the best option for making us truly, ultimately, and eternally happy.
You can talk yourself into just about anything. Other people will try to talk you into something. Only God will talk to you truthfully about everything. There are many voices that speak into our lives such as family and friends, news and social media, advertising and entertainment, and especially ourselves … but the loudest (most influential) should be God. We are being shaped by influences all around us which is why it is essential that each day we read God-breathed words in the Bible and listen to God-sent voices who speak His truth to us. When we listen to Him… He won’t just tickle our ears; He will delight our souls.
God is near us when we have broken hearts and broken spirits. Whether we are struggling with our own sin, the sin of others, or the result of sin’s fracturing of our world, He is never distant even if seems that way. He hears our cries. He comforts our hearts. He meets our needs. Though the result will not always be when we want it and how we want it, we have His promise that we will lack no good thing. This is true because God did not spare even His own Son from suffering. Jesus is our ever-near Immanuel, who lived, died and rose so we can taste and see God’s goodness. Mingled with tears now. Free from tears later.
Defeat doubt by preparing for battle in advance by filling your heart with the truth of God’s Word. In advance, because doubt appears without warning. With the truth of God’s Word, because doubt arrives with lies. The enemy will attack you in times of darkness because it’s hard to see him coming, and it’s hard to see the situation for what it really is. So, start your day in the light by saturating your heart with a good and accurate picture of God’s graciousness and faithfulness so you can remember those truths and promises when darkness falls. Never forget in the dark what God has shown you in the light.