(Beginning August 1, the content of my blog will be completely different from the Girlfriends in God devotions. So if you are not signed up for my blog at www.localhost/sjold, please do it today…and invite all your friends. We’re going to have more give-a-ways, more personal interaction, and more inspiration than ever before! Now, on to today’s post!)
“In all their distress he too was distressed,” (Isaiah 63:9 NIV).
When bad things happen we may never understand the why. God tells us, ‘’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Dr. James Dobson said: [tweetherder]“Trying to analyze His [God’s] omnipotence is like an amoeba attempting to comprehend the behavior of man.”[/tweetherder] It’s simply not possible. But there is one thing we can be sure of. “All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful,” (Psalm 25:10) whether we understand them or not.
When we encounter difficulties, it is easy to jump to conclusions. We may think God is mad at us or He is punishing us. We wonder if God is not blessing us because we’ve disappointed Him in some way.
But all through the Bible we see that some of God’s closest friends experienced the darkest nights.
The disciples suffered.
Mary (Jesus’ mother) suffered.
And each one of these men and women were smack dab in the middle of God’s will. The ordinary pabulum of popular religion, of health and prosperity, just doesn’t line up with the suffering we see among some of the most godly men and women in Scripture.
The abundant life that Jesus came to give does not come without struggle any more than a butterfly can soar without a struggle from its cocoon. We would never slice open a cocoon and expect to find a butterfly ready to fly. Without the struggle, the butterfly could not grow strong enough to take flight.
Jesus warned us that we would have struggles in this life, and yet struggles always seem to catch me by surprise. “Consider it all joy,” James said, “when you encounter various trials…” (James 1:2, NASB). Notice James said when and not if. Honestly, I wish there were some other way.
Come to think of it, Jesus wished the same. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will,” (Matthew 26:39). The cross. There was no other way.
Take a look at the names given to the Holy Spirit:
The very nature of those names lets us know that we are going to have difficulties this side of heaven, and thankfully God did not leave us to struggle alone.
Jesus wept. The Holy Spirit groans. And God’s heart aches. In one beautiful sentence, we catch a glimpse into the heart of God as we go through tough times: “In all their distress he too was distressed,” (Isaiah 63:9). [tweetherder]We may not see God’s face during the difficult days of pain, but you can be sure He is there, and many times His face is streaked with tears.[/tweetherder]
Sometimes life is tough. As we practice Acts 17:28, In Him we live and move and have our being, it does not mean that we will walk down a path void of treacherous twists and turns. It does mean that no matter where the road may lead, we are not alone.
So many times I’ve cried out with King David, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” only to discover that He was right there with me all the time. None of us knows what the future holds. Sometimes we just need to put our hand in God’s and walk around the next corner with Him—even when we don’t understand. In that journey of the unknown, we’re apt to experience moments of sudden glory in well-placed nuggets of gold.
Father, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, which is about the scariest place I could ever walk, I will fear no evil…because You are with me. I am placing my hand in Yours and walking around the next corner with You. I don’t know what is around that corner, but You do, and that’s enough for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Isaiah 43:1-7. What does God say about His presence when you go through difficult times?
Describe or think of a time when you passed through an emotional fire or river of difficulties.
In light of Isaiah 43:1-7, where was God during that experience? Say it out loud. Leave a comment and share your answer. It will do your heart good.
Sometimes the brightest moments of Sudden Glory, moments when God makes his presence known, are seen on the black backdrop of difficult circumstances. We simply need to look for them, expect them, discover them. If you long for more in your relationship with God, if you long to experience His presence on a daily basis, then check out my book A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. Click here to read the first chapter.