Encouragement for Today
“Seeing God in Everything”
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Hebrews 3: 12-14, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had a first.”
I was discouraged. In two month’s time, my life went from being wonderfully fulfilling and clicking right along to completely topsy-turvy. My computer went on the blink and some very important documents disappeared. A big book deal I was counting on fell through. Our well broke, and we had to go several days without water. A diamond fell out of my wedding ring. I was caught in a whirlwind of emotions.
Then on top of that, my husband blew out his knee and had to have major reconstructive surgery, leaving him bedridden for nearly five weeks. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. A friend of mine hit the nail on the head when she said, “Lysa, I think when you go with God to a new level you get a new devil.” While I’m not sure about the exact theological correctness of that statement, I believe it is worth considering.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Your life is going great. Your family is doing great. Your finances are right where they need to be. The health of loved ones is stable. Your faith and confidence in the Lord is unshakable as you see His blessings all around you, and then WHAM!!! Out of nowhere, everything goes wrong. Today’s key verse reflects the response that the Israelites had to this type of situation and I believe it is applicable to us as well.
After years of being slaves in
When Art hurt his knee, we prayed that the injury was minor and surgery wouldn’t be required. We just knew that God was going to go before us and make the way smooth. However, when the test results came back, we faced one of the worst knee injuries the doctor had ever seen. Simply looking at the circumstances and the doctor’s report, we might have been tempted to get pulled into Satan’s lie that God had not answered our prayers and that He was not trustworthy though His Word told us otherwise.
So what do we do with the fact that my very athletic husband is out of commission for several months? What about my feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed with three small children when my husband needs constant attention and unconditional love – even on days when I’m too tired to give it? Honestly, I started to get a little frustrated with God. The confidence I previously had in trusting He would meet all our needs was gone – and Satan was having a field day.
Satan hates the radically obedient soul that trusts God even when things aren’t looking so bright. He hates it when a person jumps off the fence of complacency and into the center of God’s will – even when it doesn’t make sense. He wants to deceive us into thinking that we can’t fully trust God’s heart or put our confidence in Him. I am convinced that Satan wants to keep my perspective in a place where my heart is discouraged and my mind is questioning God. Yet God’s Word calls me to rejoice in all that He is doing in and through me during the difficult times. If you are currently going through a time where it doesn’t seem that God is coming through for you, I challenge you not to allow Satan to deceive you into unbelief. Keep that confidence you had in Him when things were going well, and believe Him for big things to come!
My Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, forgive me if I have had a sinful, unbelieving heart in the midst of struggle. Help me to remember all that You have done for me in the past, so that I can trust You with my future. May my confidence in Your goodness and sovereignty be unshakable. Amen.
What do you do when your life gets totally interrupted by unexpected changes, challenges, and/or hardships? If you have a tendency to react as the Israelites did – confident at first, then slowly losing perspective, forgetting God’s faithfulness – then I challenge you to write down today’s prayer on a note card or something that you can keep with you or in your Bible, and pray it each morning before you start your day.
Many times, it’s appropriate to simply confess your sin of unbelief as needed and ask God to give you just enough faith for that day.
What do you do with your feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed? I highly recommend worship as medication for these illnesses. Sometimes the only way to combat the devil is to take our eyes off the struggles and put them back on the only One who can help up – Jesus. Keep some praise music in a convenient location in your car or home, or simply write down a Psalm and recite it to yourself regularly throughout the week. (Check out the worship CD, “Show Me the Way,” by Gwen Smith, at the end of this devotional.)
Spend some time in your journal reflecting on a time when you walked through a hardship and lost faith and confidence in God’s ability to come through.
- How did you react when you first heard the news?
- Did you try to manipulate the situation to your advantage or do things your own way to eliminate the problem?
- Did God discipline you in the midst of it, or were you able to find peace through the Word?
Romans 5:3-5, “But we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (NIV)
1 Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (NIV)
Psalm 22:24, “For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
Show Me the Way (Music CD), by Gwen Smith
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst
Originally published Monday, 13 March 2006.