Waves of Difficulty

rock of agesSeveral months back I went to a leadership conference with two of my co-workers. Towards the end of the conference they closed with a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I absolutely loved and it goes like this: “I have learned to kiss the wave that has thrown me against the Rock of Ages.”

Living within a mile of the ocean, I have the privilege of frequenting it quite often.  Whenever time allows, it’s usually one of my favorite things to do.  I’ll get a coffee (of course) and then go park by one of the many bluff’s we have to choose from.  There are times when I like to do some reading, but often I just love to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds and do some reflecting.

As I watch the huge waves pounding and smashing against the rocks I am often reminded of this Spurgeon quote.  I am reminded that none of us like things that are difficult or painful in life, yet we need to accept that they are a part of life.  We live in a fallen world that is ever in a state of change and as believers we are not promised that the journey will be easy.  When we identify ourselves “In Christ,” we also share in Christ’s sufferings.

I like everyone else, do not enjoy difficult things.  Some examples of difficulties might be as simple as when my car breaks down unexpectantly, or I may be struggling financially or with a child that has a disability.  Perhaps it’s when I’m having relational difficulties with my spouse or a neighbor, or dealing with serious or life threatening health issue for myself or someone else in my family.  Let’s face it, none of these things are fun or pleasant, but difficulties are inevitable.

Difficulties are a part of life for all of us, some may be far more serious than others, but we all must go through them. We don’t get to pick and choose the waves of difficulty that come into our lives by way of circumstance, but the thing we can do is choose how we react to them.  We can either let difficulties break and embitter us or we can turn and cling to Christ the solid rock and let these things wash, strengthen and refine us.

God’s word needs to be our standard for how we deal with difficulties. When I’m going through something particularly difficult, I remind myself of God’s faithfulness and rely on the promises in his word.  One of my favorite promises that usually comes to mind is the second part of Joshua 1:5 that says . . . He never leaves us or forsakes us.  God is always with us through trials and difficulties and sometimes we tend to forget how close he is.  We can either turn towards him or away from him.  But as a loving father he is always there, waiting with open arms to strengthen us and to help us endure.  He is the anchor in the time of storm.

I am so thankful that every day we have an opportunity to turn our difficulties over to God and that he will not give us more than we can handle or bear.  I see from my own life, that some of the most difficult things are the very same things that God has used to strengthen me and to teach me more about himself .  As the great potter, God continues to use the waves of difficulty to mold, refine, and to strengthen my character and make me more like himself and therefore I am learning to kiss the wave that leads me to the Rock of Ages.

Father God thank you that you paid the ultimate price for us by dying for our sin.  Because you endured much suffering for us, help us to daily live for you.  Give us the strength to faithfully endure the trials of life knowing you are with us.  Thank you for your amazing love and faithfulness.  To you be the Glory both now and forever. AMEN

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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. Romans 8:28

Truth and Choice

Glasses on Open BibleI was reading the following passage in the book of James the other morning it was from the first chapter, verses 23-24. . . Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

What truth that spoke to my heart and yet what a struggle I sometimes find it is to walk in the truth.  When God’s word reveals truth to us, it is then up to us to make a choice.  We can either walk in the truth of his word, or be led astray by our feelings or our desire to hang on to something that God wants us to give to him.

I believe we learn to walk in victory when we side with the truth regardless of how we feel.  Sometimes our feelings will lead us astray, but God’s word never will.  It is in times like this we have to come before God and express our hearts to him.  He already know’s how we feel but he wants us to bring our issues to him and honestly let him deal with them.

We serve a big God and it is only went we let ourselves be washed in the truth of his word that we become clean and vessels that he can use for his purposes.  Sometimes making the choice for truth can be painful, but God rewards us when we choose obedience.  It is the ever constant battle raging within us and as God’s children must always choose to stand for the truth.

We know the enemy of our souls is a liar and he will try to make a lie to appear as if it is the truth.  This is how Eve was deceived in the garden.  That is why as believers it is so important for us to know the truth of God’s word.  And like the Bereans, we must test everything by the word of God to see if it is truth.  The same way the Bereans did in the book of Acts.  It says they . . . received the word of truth with eagerness and they examined the scriptures to see of what they heard was true.  God honors our search for truth and he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him and seek to know the truth.

One thing we can be certain of is the infallible truth of God’s word.  His word NEVER contradicts itself.  It says in 2 Timothy 3:16 . . .  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

As believers of Christ it is my prayer for myself as well as for others that we can be people of truth.  That we can be honest and open enough before our creator to stand up for what is right and not let the enemy gain any territory in our lives.  To advance the kingdom we must become warriors for truth.  Jesus states in John 14:6,  I am the way, the truth and the life no man comes to the father but by me.

Father God help us to live by the truth, and when it is hard, help us to at least be honest and open before you and to let you deal with our hearts.  I want to be like the Bereans and eagerly receive the truth!  Thank you God for your Word!  Help us to love the truth and to obey it! In your precious name! AMEN