July 11, 2017
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
If it were up to me, I would have scripted some of life’s stories differently. So many tragedies have struck people near and dear to me that if I were the writer, they would have been changed.
Fortunately, I’m not the author, because each of these women impact thousands upon thousands of women all over the world with her powerful stories of God’s redemption. God turned their pain into purpose, their misery into ministry and their devastation into anointed messages of hope and restoration. Sudden glories fill and spill from each of their lives.
Their journeys have led them through dark valleys and back out into the light on the other side.
But if I had to decide?
My second child would not have passed away before she was born. Carol’s son would not be in prison. Linda’s daughter would not be a quadriplegic. Barbara’s daughter would not be bipolar. Patty’s 21-year-old daughter would not have been in a fatal car accident. Jennifer’s husband would not have succumbed to a brain tumor.
Difficult times are pregnant with glory moments — moments when we see God’s plan just waiting to be birthed in the lives of those willing to labor through the pain. The key is not to allow bitterness and anger to make our hearts infertile to God’s gifts.
One way to avoid the darkening of the soul is by constant communication seasoned with thanksgiving — a continual acknowledgement of God’s presence.
After my husband and I graduated from college, we moved to Charlotte so he could open a new business. But after we moved, the man who was to be his business partner changed plans.
“Sorry, Steve,” he said. “I’ve changed my mind. Good luck, son.”
I was so upset. OK, I was flat-out angry. Angry with the potential partner. Angry with God. We had prayed, fasted and felt this was where God was leading us. We had no money. No job. And school debt.
Three months later, a situation opened up that was far better than our original plan. It was Ephesians 3:20 in action: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us …”
Well, why didn’t God do that in the first place? Why didn’t He lead us directly to that second opportunity when we did all that praying and seeking? He could have.
But He is far more interested in developing our character than in doling out a life of comfort and ease. C.S. Lewis notes: “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable. Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”
That’s where Proverbs 3:5-6 comes in: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
We are ever the students. He is the teacher still. Trials rip away the flimsy fabric of self-sufficiency and become the raw material for God’s miracles in our lives. And those miracles are moments of sudden glory.
Oh that we would trust Him even if the twists and turns never make sense this side of heaven. That’s what trusting God is all about. As we live and move and have our being in Him, life’s dark places are simply opportunities to trust that God knows the way — and the perfect time to hold on tight.
Especially since He’s still writing the story.
Father, thank You for always knowing and doing what is best for me. Forgive me when I don’t trust You but think my way is best. I know that You have wonderful surprises in store for me when I simply trust You in all things. Thank You for being the Teacher. Help me to be a good student of Your Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!” (AMPC)
Check out Sharon Jaynes’ book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Let go of everything that holds you back from living the mountain-moving faith God intended, and take hold of all that Jesus has promised for you. Say goodbye to insecurity and hello to the confidence of knowing who you are and what you have as a child of God. The book includes a Bible study guide.
Visit Sharon’s website for a free printable of 10 verses to help you trust God in difficult times.
Are you going through a tough time right now? If so, leave a brief description in the comment section. Then pray for the name above yours. Sharon will pray for the first one.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that God has forgotten us during difficult times. How do we see that in David’s words of Psalm 77:1-9?
Now read the rest of the Psalm. What did David do to remind himself of the faithfulness of God?
How does trusting God change the way you look at difficult situations?
© 2017 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 11 July 2017.