Somehow our expectation is that we should have no problems and life should always be smooth sailing. But life is not all fun.
Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope? Stressed out, tired, irritable?
I ‘ve been under a great deal of stress over the last year, and especially over the last 3 months. It’s as though the devil has thrown everything he’s got at me.
I have to wonder, “WHY?” Is my Heavenly Father disciplining me as a father disciplines his child? Has Satan outwitted me in some way? Is God pruning the branches?
If God is teaching me, what am I supposed to learn from this? As I always do, I looked for answers in God’s Word. Here’s what I found.
What Does God Say About Trials?
They make us strong, able to endure whatever comes our way.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV
Steadfast: dependable, unwavering, implies a sureness and continuousness that may be depended upon.
After we are afflicted, we can be used by God to comfort others.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV
Suffering builds Godly character.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4
God Is With Us
The other day, Jen Life Beyond #Blessed commented on my re-post from May 5, Ruffled Feathers and Unanswered Prayers by Mitch Teemley. She said, “I, too, often focus on Philippians 4 and praying as Paul instructs. One thing I’ve found particularly helpful is going back to verse 5. Our very ability to be anxious for nothing is grounded in God’s nearness. Focusing on the gift of His presence in any and every circumstance sometimes makes all the difference.”
When I read Jen’s comment, I knew what God was teaching me. I am supposed to remember that He is always with me, in everything – He is with me! Simple, yet profound, and for me at least, sometimes easy to forget.
When we’re at the end of our rope, do we stop and think, the Lord is with me? From now on, when I’m stressed out, frustrated, or afraid, I will remember that God Himself taught me that I am never alone. He is with me.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 ESV
“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:10 ESV
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23: ESV
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23 ESV
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 ESV
5 Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. 6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 AMPC
Lord, May your nearness be my greatest treasure.
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
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P.S. This post first appeared in May, 2019, but seems more appropriate now than ever.