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I know, that I know, that I know, that God is up to something good in my life. I don't fully understand all He is doing and I don't comprehend why He has to do it the way He is doing it, but I know that God only wants His best for me and I can't settle for anything less.
As I sit here reflecting on the song above that we sang yesterday during service and meditating on the words of the sermon, I know that God is stronger and able to do anything.
I won't and can't lie that these times have been hard, but I can say that through all of this, I am learning so much about myself and even more about my God.
He loves me with an unfailing love. When I am doing things He would not like for me to do or in a way He would not like me to, sometimes His Holy Spirit will speak to my heart and correct me; other times, He allows me to continue going forth, knowing that I must experience the repercussions from it to expand my growth and trust in Him.
A dear friend asked me recently how do I do IT? How do I go on trusting, having faith in, and walking with a God that would allow all that has happened to me? How do I not get angry? How do I not walk away? I've been chewing on those questions for days now and God has been formulating a response, because I never adequately answered that question.
I can say that I DON'T do it. I DO/HAVE gotten angry. I HAVE walked away. My trust has faltered, my faith has deteriorated, my walk is/has been shaky. I cling to this....that God knew me before I was even conceived. He knew everything about me before the beginning of time. There is NOTHING about my life that catches Him by surprise. Yet He still loves me. As parents we can tell our children something over and over again and then we know that after telling them so many times that sometimes they will just have to experience what we are saying to fully understand. Take for example, a hot stove. You tell your toddler don't touch, it is hot and yet he doesn't comprehend what that means. Then one day you are not in the room and he touches that hot stove and screams out in pain. You run to his rescue because that's what you do as a parent. As you are comforting him, you say gently, lovingly, that's hot. That's why mommy told you not to touch. Well, we are not any different. Sometimes we have to go through things because we are basically thick skulled and don't get the picture at first. What about those things that we think are just a bit harsh, like a husband walking out, or struggling as a single parent to make ends meet, or the loss of a loved one? He allows those things to happen to build your character and your walk/trust in Him.
Stop and think about Esther or Joseph (Pastor Evans talked about these two yesterday). Let's start with Joseph. He was the most loved by his father. ALL was going right in his world. he was dreaming big dreams and rubbing it all in his brothers faces. They hated and despised him. They wanted nothing to do with him. It was so great that when they saw him coming, they began to plot to kill him. Then they devised a plan to throw him in the pit, then to sell him. They thought they were rid of him forever. But keep those dreams in mind. How was God going to pull that off? He already had the plan going before He gave Joseph the dreams. So he's sold not once, but twice and ended up in Egypt. HA right smack dab in the middle of where God wanted him to be.
Notice, in Genesis 39:2 it says that THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH!!! (Remember Heb. 13:5)
He's now Potiphar's right hand man. Second only to Potiphar himself! Potiphar's wife accuses him of rape and he's sent to jail. He becomes the jailers right hand man. He later becomes Pharaoh's right hand man and is put in place to be able to feed his people and be reunited with his family!!! Now if we could ask Joseph if he enjoyed all the different valleys he had to travel through, I don't think he would say he enjoyed them one bit. I don't think he would say oh, being put in the pit was fun and being sold into slavery by his own brothers was an amazing experience, or that being accused of rape and going to prison was the highlight of his life. HOWEVER, He NEVER EVER lost His focus. His focus was not on those two dreams, his focus was on His God!!!! Genesis 41:16, 25, 28, 32, 51. He mentions God at all times!!! And though his focus was not on the dreams, those dreams did come to pass!
Esther was a beautiful Jew! She was placed in the kings palace and became his wife. Haman was planning to kill every Jew he could get close to. The king was unaware of his wife's heritage or Haman's plans. Queen Esther basically tells her uncle she can't go to the king and tell him who she is, he'll have her killed....after all, she was livin' large and really enjoying things as they were. Yet her uncle says to her don't think more highly of yourself than you ought, just because you are in the palace, you are still a Jew and you too will be killed with the rest of us. You weren't placed in that palace for your own pleasure, but for a time such as this...to save your people!!! To which she says, you know, you are right! I gotta do something and if I perish, I perish. Now we know Haman gets hung on the very gallows he had erected for Uncle Mordecai and that God's will was still accomplished.
My point is that GOD in His wisdom and power, orchestrated every minute detail of Joseph and Esther's lives for HIS WILL and GLORY!!!
What He did for them, He is doing for me as well! He's doing it for you too. We HAVE to go through the valleys of life to get to the next mountain top. HE promised us in His Word that we would have tribulations. HE also promised that HE would walk with us through those times. Yes, there are times when we can't see His hand nor feel His presence. There are times when we truly don't understand, but that is also because we don't know what the end result is. And we make the mistake of thinking the end result is for US!!! It is not!! Joseph's end result was not for his fame nor prominence, but for God's people. Esther's beauty and queenship was not so that she could be lifted up out of the horrific life of the Jews, but for God's people. Your trials are not solely for your growth, but for the testimony they will leave behind for your children and family, and for those that are watching you and you don't even know it.
Does that make any of it easier to walk through? By no means, but then He also said if we keep our focus on HIM, HIS WAYS, HIS WILL, He will remove our burden and carry it for us.
God promised us He would provide our needs, but He never said it would be what we wanted. Our needs....Food, Clothing, Shelter. That food may be oatmeal for what seems like eternity when you really would like to have a steak. Clothing may be from the thrift store when you would really like to go to the department stores in the fancy mall and buy brand new. That shelter, well, it may look like mine. It may be run down and beat up, and each room may not be usable, and the pipes may leak, and you may long to be in a nice brick home. He didn't PROMISE things would be rosy, but He did say to be content [satisfied and at ease where you are in spite of your circumstances].
That contentment doesn't come easy nor automatic...it has to be learned and the way He teaches contentment is by allowing us to go through the positives AND the negatives of life. Your focus will determine your contentment!
Is. 40:31 Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
WAIT for the Lord
Gain new strength.
Soar over and through the trials of life depending on God.
You will run and not get tired.
You will go from running to walking but you won't get weary!
He said it, count on it, lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths (Prov. 3:5-6)...even through the valleys!