May 20, 2013
In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Job who found himself in the midst of struggling to understand why. His vibrant, fruitful world came to a crashing halt when God allowed him to suffer the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to him as he had been a noble and upright man.
God lovingly responded to Job’s unsettled questions of the heart. Instead of explaining the reasons Job suffered, God kindly directed Job back to an authentic trust in a God he could not understand. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” God led Job to a deeper understanding of his almighty power and omniscience. Job finally declared to God, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. . . . I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”
We must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God even though we don’t understand his ways? It’s hard, I know. Direct answers would be much nicer. How do we grow to the point of trust? How can we rest in the arms of a loving God when we can’t understand why he allows certain difficulties in our life? Certainly we cannot know all the answers, but as we draw close to God, we begin to get to know who he is and what he is about. We develop a trust for the God who loves us.
Job was able to put his trust in a God he knew, not just in one he had heard about. The same is true with us. We can find people’s opinions about God from books, commentaries, editorials, and even sermons on Sundays, but we must get to know him for ourselves. A search for the truth about God will lead us to an understanding of his trustworthiness. It’s one thing to know about God in a distant sort of way; it is another thing to experience him up close and personal. As we get to know him, our heart is drawn into a love relationship with him.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer; and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into . . . loving God, not for our own sake, but for Himself.”4 We can fall into the arms of a God who we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally. In your search for understanding, draw close to the God who loves you and experience His unfailing love even in the midst of your trials.
Excerpt from Karol’s book, “Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive.”
May 11, 2013
This past week, my friend Tammy sent me the picture you see on this blog. She took it while out on a walk and counted it as one of those sweet gifts from God. The thing I appreciate about Tammy is that she is always looking for those precious sightings and pictures of God’s goodness and glory. What about you? Are you looking for the blessings God grants you each day? It’s easy to get focused on what is wrong in our lives, and overlook the beauty He brings each day.
The Psalmist wrote, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Just as we want to notice God’s glory in creation, we must also open our eyes to the wonderful ways God reveals himself in His word. Let’s continually look to the Bible to learn more of the power of His majesty and the magnificence of His unfailing love.
As we consider keeping our eyes open to what God wants to show us each day, I want to encourage us also to be aware of the needs around us. Each day as we praise and thank God, let’s also ask Him to help us see how we may reach out and encourage others. May our daily prayer be, Father, open my eyes to see your blessings in the world around me. Help me catch a glimpse of your glory and goodness through reading your word. And help me see the needs of others, so I may glorify you as I serve them.
April 28, 2013
You are not alone. Your Shepherd is close beside you. He protects and comforts you in the midst of your darkest valleys. Do not be afraid for you do not walk your path by yourself. It is a great comfort to know that when we face the scariest times in our lives, He is there with us. The Bible doesn’t say that we will never walk through dark times, but it does reassure us that we won’t walk through them alone.
What great assurance we have in knowing that the Lord our God will not leave us. Do not fear about things that may happen or the possibility of valleys in your life. The “what ifs” need not linger as long as we remember that our good Shepherd will protect and comfort us in the midst. Let us walk in confidence and not fear for the road ahead. Although it may be dark, He is One who lights our paths eventually leading us back to the green meadows.
Devotional thoughts from Pursuing God in the Quiet Places, by Karol Ladd 2012
April 24, 2013
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
There were times when the prophet Jeremiah thought there was no possibilities for redemption. God reassured Him with words of hope that speak to us today. There are times in our lives when we cannot see the sunlight, and there may be no glimmer of hope in our circumstances, so we think all is lost. God can turn mourning into gladness and bring comfort and even joy, to replace our sorrow. He brings light and hope to the darkest pit.
Do not lose hope. Although you may not be able to imagine how joy could come from your difficulties, turn your eyes toward God who turns mourning into gladness. Sinclair Ferguson reminds us, “The fact that we cannot see what God is doing does not mean that he is doing nothing.” Trust His redemptive hand which can do far more than we imagine. He brought joy from the sorrow of the cross, and He can bring joy to your sorrow as well.
April 14, 2013
As a young girl, our teacher taught us the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers.” Just as it is true in nature, it is true in the experiences of life. The showers of difficulties that tend to dampen our spirits and tempt us with the dark clouds of despair, are often just what God uses to eventually bring beauty in our lives in unexpected ways. As you know if you have been reading my blogs, I’m a big fan of C. H. Spurgeon. He wrote, “I willingly bear witness to the fact that I owe more to my Lord’s fire, hammer and file than to anything else in His workshop. Sometimes I wonder if I have ever learned anything except at the end of God’s rod. When my classroom is darkest, I see best.”
The difficulties in our lives are what prepare us for greater service, deepen our faith and refine us to use the beautiful gifts He has given us in a fruitful way. Do not despise the difficult rain storms of life, rather look at them as the tools God uses to enrich our color as we glorify Him and bring beauty to this world.