R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

 This is something that I posted on another forum in mid-February as a note entitled “Something on my Heart”.   I have edited, added content, and revised this piece, and pray God touches your heart as He desires.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO, what a ride”!!! I do not know to whom this quote is attributed, but I love  it!  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love fun and adventure, and that I’m a glass-half-full, happy, and very blessed girl.   Most of those that know me however, also know that my life has not been without painful trials and heartache.  Maintaining joy, peace, and passion for life has been a journey of resting in the arms and trusting in the heart of the Comforter.

 The tragic death of my father, and older brother (and only sibling), at very young ages (50 & 32 respectively), enduring an extremely painful miscarriage, a four-month season of intense spiritual battle with deep darkness, self-destruction, oppression, and despair, and numerous times of trials, loss, situational depression, temptations, and battles, ALL WITHIN THE LAST 8 YEARS, has served to teach me so much about my Heavenly Father’s love and care. Still, my experience often pales in comparison to what many others have had to endure!

 But there is something that Satan is using to further his only true purpose – to kill, steal and destroy – in the lives of God’s people. It is the epidemic of Christians becoming comfortable with expressing irreverent anger at the One that they have committed to trust with their lives, and the only reason being that He saw fit to bring or allow trials, difficulty, and heartache into their lives along with His goodness, love, blessings, forgiveness and mercy.  “God allows tough things to happen in our lives and only He knows why. But that doesn’t mean it is something He willed or planned.”, Stormie Omartian writes, “even if it were, indicting God for our circumstances is out of the question. Blaming God shuts off the very avenue through which His redemptive process flows into our life.”   Jim May writes, “In the darkness we learn to stop worshiping our experiences of God and come to God Himself. We cease to be devoted to what we think He wants, and…become devoted to Him.”

Often times we can become angry if our prayers are not answered in the fashion we prefer or expect. The prayer of the believer is to bring God our hearts and all that is in them with the knowledge that He alone is Sovereign over all and He alone must be trusted with the outcome. If we pray “Thy will be done” and then become angry with Him for bringing His will to pass, we show lack of faith and unbelief in His knowledge and care.  If our highest aim is as it should be, that is the glory of God, dare we become angry with how He sees fit to accomplish that?  The eighth chapter of Romans provides comfort in the twenty-eighth verse saying that all things will work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  This is a powerful, exciting, and unequivocal promise!  Yet when adversities arise, doubts abound among the very ones to whom this promise was made.  Why is this?  Has God not shown Himself to be faithful?  Has the righteous ever been forsaken?   Is the hand of Jehovah-Jireh shortened that He cannot save, His ear deaf that He cannot hear?  

 As I have come through the trials that have been allowed in my life, I have learned that if I can figure out what God is doing, if I can hold Him back from allowing pain, if I can force my will upon Him, and if I can wrap my human mind around or “get” Him, then I have a God I don’t want, a God that is weak, a God that is boring, a God that cannot be trusted.  If His agenda makes sense to us, then He is no bigger than us!  I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future, and that is all I need to know!  

  Matthew 5:45 says that God makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. “Shall we accept only good from the Hand of God and not misfortune?”, Job asks.  “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord”.   Job received a real lesson in trusting God through extreme misfortune.  He began to question God extensively and harshly after truly horrible and traumatic events God had allowed to happen.  And in the thirty-eighth chapter of Job’s story, we find the Lord’s response to irreverent anger, 1. “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: 2. “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? 3. Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” 

 Charles Spurgeon spoke the following words to a grieving mother at the funeral of her young son,  “When once we know that God has done anything…It must be right because He did it…He may not tell me the reason; but He has a reason, for the Lord never acted unreasonably…Infinite wisdom dictates what absolute sovereignty decrees.  God is never arbitrary, or tyrannical.  He does as He wills, but He always wills to do that which is not only most, for His own glory, but also most for our real good.” 

 We also need to look the  necessary balance within this subject.  We as lovers and followers of the Lord, are in relationship with Him.  We hear Him, talk to Him and learn from Him.  We are guided by His Eye, governed by His Spirit, and kept in His grace.  We are never forbidden from crying out to our Father and granting full and total access to our hearts, our frustrations, questions and anguish.   This is part of a relationship.  To not do so is another form of not trusting in Him.  The often neglected lynchpin of this subject is respect.  Reverence for Jehovah God and His Omnipotence.  Respect for His will above ours.  Bowing before Him and acknowledging His infinite wisdom and perfect love. 

 Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are.  This would by necessity mean that He was tempted to become angry with God.  Jesus asked His Father to allow that He not have to endure the cross.  The cross!  Pain, suffering, death.  “Yet,” He continued, “Thy will be done”.   And He meant it.  He reverently deferred to His Father’s will.  Satan has duped many into believing that God is far away at times of hardship, loss or disappointment, when the exact opposite is true. God has never been closer!   Learn to bless the Name of the Lord in the giving and in the taking.  We have, after all, not endured to point of the cross!

 “If some tragic crises, loss, or failure has happened in your life, embrace God in it!! Knowing the answers will not give us the peace we want. Refuse to let your sorrow silence your praise, and you will see how He sustains you.”  This quote  was taken from a precious book that I recommend for every believer.  “The Prayer That Changes Everything”, by Stormie O’Martian is a mind and life transforming look at the power of  praise.  Learning to worship our God, regardless of circumstance, is key to falling in love with our Lord, trusting that He knows and does all things well, and victorious living in Christ.

Scripture is full of examples, teaching, and comfort regarding suffering.   Read the love letter your Lord has written you and be encouraged dearly beloved!  Do not let Satan steal from you one of the greatest miracles in your life, for God inhabits our praises, and as we offer up the sacrifice of praise we see Him up close, we feel Him breathe, and experience His love and sufficient grace as ours.  Praise Him, exalt Him, worship Him, and do not allow the suffering of this life to cause you to miss the restoration and redemption God has planned through your trials.  He has dealt wondrously with you!!  Seek not only God’s Hand in your life, seek His Face and His heart!

 

 

 

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