June 24, 2010
There are times in life when we feel stuck, trapped in a catch-22 or so paralyzed with uncertainty that we don't move forward in life. In those difficult times we are tempted to feel like failures, useless, depressed, angry, or afraid. None of these responses are good. God did not give Christians the spirit of fear. Jesus Christ did not die so that we would hide ourselves away in self-pity. He died so that we could have life and live it!
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
We have to understand that living an abundant life does not necessarily mean we will have lots of money, or have our "dream job," or get married, or have kids, or own a house instead of renting. Living an abundant life may not even mean you will be physically healthy. Jesus never promised us riches in this life.
Now, that does not mean He will not provide for our needs. God has promised that we should never worry about our absolute needs (Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6: 25-32.) He knows them better than we do. He will provide friends, counseling, encouragement, shelter, etc. when we need it.
So the real issue is not whether-or-not God will be faithful but whether-or-not we will be faithful. How can we do that? How can we trust Him and obey Him when our circumstances seem so hopeless or impossible?
We have to realize that our feelings, our emotions lie. We cannot look at the waves as Peter did and expect to feel joy and happiness.
'"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water.""Come," he (Jesus) said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"'
So if we can't trust our feelings and we can't see beyond our circumstances what should we do? Well when Peter cried out to Jesus for help he was saved wasn't he? Jesus reached out and caught him. He will do the same for you and I every time we call out for help in prayer.
" And Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to loose heart." Luke 18:1
We need to remember not to put all our trust in people or even in ourselves. And that's not easy. But honestly, how can anyone know what is truly the best course for our lives? Only God can see the future! Only He can really know which way to go.
There are three main things we need to do when we don't know what to do. They are:
1. Pray. Pray even if you don't know exactly what to ask God to help you with. Just cry to Him for help and believe that He hears you!
2. Share. Don't just sit in your room and pray and do nothing else. If you want something different to happen you have to be willing to do something different. After praying go and find people who are walking with the Lord, what the Bible calls "seeking wise counsel." Share with these people what you are going through and ask them to pray on your behalf.
3. Start walking. After you know you are praying earnestly, and others are doing the same, start exploring your options. Start walking in faith. You will not have all the pieces but that's okay! God will open and close doors according to whether-or-not you are going in the right direction. But He won't make a move until you do.
There are many examples in the Bible of how walking in faith changes lives. But one that I remembered recently had to do with the following story found in 2 Kings 7: 3-8.
In a time of war there were four lepers who were starving to death outside the city. They knew that their circumstances were bad and that death was ready for them at every turn. But they came to a point of desperation and realized that they didn't want to die sitting around doing nothing. They didn't feel it was right to not try something. So, on faith, they chose to walk to an enemy camp in hopes of receiving some scraps for food. They knew there was a great risk that they would be killed but they figured, they were going to die anyway so what harm could it do to try.
So they got up and started walking, hoping, believing that things would work out. The Bible says that God saw their faith and went ahead of them to prepare the way. To the point that he caused the enemy troops to hear what sounded to them like a huge army! They were so terrified that they fled, leaving behind everything but what they were wearing! When the four lepers arrived they found the camp empty and food and wine and gold and all manner of riches just laying around. They were blessed for their willingness to step out in faith.
Now I'm not saying that we will win the lottery. I'm not saying that you will be completely healed from a disease but I am saying that God will never leave you and if you walk by faith He will prepare the way. He will open doors and create circumstances and experiences just for you that go over and beyond anything you were hoping for. That is a fact. The story above was just one example! The Bible is filled with God's goodness to His children!
So if you are really struggling today I urge you to get on your knees and pray. Then find other people to do the same for you and get serious about your walk with God. Start looking at options. Talk to all your contacts: family, friends, neighbors, church members, co-workers, and start doing something. Stay close to God through all of this and He will begin opening and closing doors.
" For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Chorinthians 13:12
God bless each of you this week. Taste and see that the Lord is good!