|A stunning ceiling mosaic of Jesus in Turkey|
Challenges, storms, trials, wilderness experiences, conflicts, rough patches, winter seasons, adversity, hard times, bad days – months – years…
There are so many ways we can describe difficult times in our lives…
For example, if you were to ask me how I was today, to answer truthfully I’d have to reply that I had a challenging morning with my kids, and that I am in a period of my life where I am having to face many challenges that seem to keep bombarding me one after the other.
Yet God is encouraging me to place my focus elsewhere…NOT on the issues themselves which fluctuate, and change all together over time…rather on Him who is unchanging and my response which should also IMO remain unchanging. If you’re not sure what I mean by my response, let me explain…
When the trials come, and yes they do come for us all, I believe I have a choice as to my reaction.
I can let the storm toss me about and react according to my anxiety or spend time with The Lord and focus on what is unchanging – that which He has done for me! This is my anchor and governs my response.
You see, my response, regardless of my circumstances is to continue to tell others HOW GOOD GOD IS and HOW HE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE…for this is unchanging…and this is how we mature in our faith.
NO, it is NOT being naïve, or supressing my feelings…because yes, I do express my emotions, and truthfully we are grounded deeper in God when we place our resolve in remaining faithful to Him.
Others may wonder or even mock saying, "If God loves you so much, why has He allowed this to happen to you?” Or perhaps, “Where is your God now, and why hasn’t He come back yet?”
However let me encourage you, as no matter what the challenge you are facing, God is faithful and unchanging – so go forth and tell others of His faithfulness to you – regardless of your situation or daily challenges – YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY IS POWERFUL! And by doing so, you’ll be encouraged and strengthened in your faith and also mature more as a Christian.
Here are some scriptures to encourage you with this response…
‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’
‘Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deep and makes me tread upon the heights.’
When feeling low, perhaps take encouragement by the forefathers of our faith – by forefathers I mean the Saints, both men and women who have remained faithful to Jesus…Regardless of their persecutions or challenges. I know I do.
When Jesus lovingly healed the demonic man, what did Jesus tell him to do… Wasn’t it…Now go and tell others what God has done for you? Can you imagine, what a challenging life that man would have had, and what challenges he would have faced, returning to the community he had not been a part of for so long? Yet, he knew what God had done for him, so he obeyed Jesus!
You and I know what Jesus has done for us…so regardless of our current circumstances, let’s keep telling everyone how AWESOME God is because that never changes…Let us do this, not only when the blessings come, for that is easy and doesn’t require much faith…But even in the hard times, the challenges, the winters, the wilderness experiences that come to us all AND not for an expected reward…BUT because it is the TRUTH…and it is real hope in a world that is in such desperate need for the truth and real hope.
Take courage, Melanie J
P.S...If you need some extra encouragement, here's a wonderfully encouraging song by Jesus Culture - 'Your love NEVER fails'...