12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NASB
When hard things happen sometimes they produce hard questions. Questions that we have of others. Questions that we have of ourselves. And questions that we have of God. Hard questions have to be asked. They have to be asked in order to grow. We have to summon the courage to face the things we don’t understand or even just don’t like. Sometimes we go through seasons of change that are painful. Sometimes they are longer than we would like. They test our faith. They test our courage and our endurance. They test our patience. Our love.
We may throw in the towel. We may fall down. Sometimes we have to start all over again. And that is the beauty of it. We can. The price has already been paid by Jesus. He gave us the do over. As many times as we need, He still stands there with open arms.
Through it all we have the opportunity to learn and grow. We have the opportunity to ask for what we need and trust that it will be given. Sometimes not in the way we think but in a new and different way.
Father, thank you for always being there with as many do overs as it takes. I pray I always get up and come running back to You.
“So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.” Isaiah 41:10 The Voice
When I keep my eyes on Jesus it is much easier not to be afraid or anxious or worried. Sometimes distractions come along that pull my attention elsewhere. It can knock me off-balance and create confusion. When I feel that way, I know I need to recalibrate. In those moments I have to count on His word. That it is true and that He is faithful. I have to believe that He never leaves me even when my attention wanders. He is still there. I have to trust that His strength is greater than mine.
Just like Peter, if I get distracted by a storm, I have to trust that He will reach down and pull me out of the water.
Father, thank you for Your Holy Word that is living water for my soul. Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to step out in faith. Help me be like Peter and walk on water knowing You are there to catch me if I fall. Just don’t let me stay in the boat!
“10 For as rain and snow can’t go back once they’ve fallen, but soak into the ground and nourish the plants that grow, providing seed to the farmer and bread for the hungry, 11 So it is when I declare something. My word will go out and not return to Me empty, but it will do what I wanted; it will accomplish what I determined.” Isaiah 55:10-11 The Voice
When my niece was little she was afraid of storms, especially the thunder. So when the thunder would start we used to tell her “Thunder makes the flowers grow.” It seemed to comfort her in that moment. I think of that as I read this scripture. Sometimes we look at rain and snow as scary or a nuisance instead of the precious life-giving water that nourishes the earth. God always delivers.
So then, what about my life? Are there things around me that I view as a nuisance? Is there something making a lot of noise that I would like to just shut out? Or are they necessary for me to receive the life-giving nourishment that God has for me? It makes me realize that sometimes I have to step in a puddle to get to the Spring in my life. Sometimes I have to put on my boots and wade through drifts of snow to get to the warmth of God’s love. It’s all a part of the journey…and maybe helps me appreciate the destination even more.
Thank you Lord for always delivering. You are always by my side. Thank you for Your never ending love. Give me the patience and wisdom to complete the journey You have designed for me. I pray I see Your beauty along the way, appreciating every season.
“2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV
Well-meaning people speak into our lives. Sometimes out of concern. Or fear. Or a need to control or influence. Some will scoff at faith. I think of Peter walking on water to Jesus. Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. He became distracted by the storm and waves around him and he began to sink. The beautiful part is that Jesus took his hand and rescued him from the waves and helped him back in the boat. Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat. He had the faith to do the impossible, making it possible. Jesus still extends His hand to us today.
In order to be delivered we have to turn off the noise in the background that distracts us from God’s voice. Then we have to be obedient and trust that the Lord is faithful. Not put our faith in what we see. Instead put our faith in what God says.
Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your strength and protection. Help me hold fast to Your promises and keep my eyes on You!
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12: 11 NLT
I have been in storms. Just about every kind you can imagine: weather, emotional, relationship, work, family, and financial. None of them are “enjoyable.” I can say that after the storm is over, there is a big sigh of relief. The realization that the struggle has ended. Peace. Peace on the other side of the conflict or challenge.
The peaceful harvest in this verse refers to the fruit of righteousness that springs from faith on the other side of correction. As we practice our faith we will need correction on occasion. God loves us too much not to redirect us. However, we can count on the peace from the victory on the other side of it!
Father, please give me Your strength and wisdom to navigate through any struggle with Your grace and mercy.
“1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 NIV
Today is a snowy day here in Michigan. There is a Winter Storm warning predicting snowfall of 1” per hour later this afternoon. As I was watching the snowfall pick up this morning I had this thought: “I lean into you Father as the storm rages.” There are storms in our lives. That is a fact. I have found that sometimes God gives me an inkling of what is to come (if I am listening). Sometimes, a storm gives me pause to press close to God in prayer for direction. Storms have purpose in our lives. We have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our Father loves us, stand on His Word and not let them shake us. Sometimes they serve to get our attention so that he can tend to a “heart” problem. It boils down to trusting Him with our heart, first and foremost. He is our refuge in the storm. Count on it.
Father, thank you for always being a rock that I can always lean on, a refuge in any storm!