I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I have asked God for help since becoming a Christian. However, I vividly remember the ones when my heart was pounding, my face was in the carpet and through tears of desperation I pleaded with the only One I knew had the power to help me.
Do you find yourself in the hardships of afflictions, injustice, pain or sorrow? Are you struggling in a difficult situation, wounded from enemy or friendly fire, faced with a desperate need?
My pastor recently shared an illustration that I would like to share with you. He said that at West Point he was required to fight several rounds in boxing for training. He said during the third round an Italian built like a fire hydrant with fist like stones pummeled him. He described the fight as blow after stinging blow to the head, face and body. When you are getting beat in the face your vision becomes cloudy, you get disoriented and your thinking becomes unclear. You are reeling and spinning. Your thoughts become muddied; clarity leaves you. Drooping hands and weak kneed, you fall to the ground.
Have you ever been there? I have.
Lying on the floor face down, unable to move and barely able to breathe, he was almost knocked out. His trainer broke a smelling salts underneath his nose to revive him and bring him quickly back to his senses. What a great illustration! When you are getting pummeled by the world, the flesh and the devil, strong clarity comes by cracking the smelling salts of God’s word beneath your nose and breathing it in deep. Even in the most chaotic of events, God is in complete control of everything. Praise His sovereign name.
Isaiah 46:9-10, “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’”.
We believe in God. We believe that He does all things well. We believe that He orchestrates all events for our good and His glory.
If you are on a train, and you go through a dark tunnel, you do not let fear cause you to disembark the train while in the tunnel. You keep your seat and trust the Engineer. Light will come. We know God can be trusted. The tunnel is only part of your journey and necessary to get you to where you need to be. He teaches us trust by bringing us through the fire time and time again. With each trial He is refining us.
Romans 8:18 and 28, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us…and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Through hard afflictions we become intimately familiar with the same God who parted the Red Sea. We come to know the voice of the One who calls each star by name and keeps all our tears in a bottle. He is the lifter of our head, and after a time we see His great purposes in all that He has brought us through. We see Him as conductor, designer, sovereign, purposeful and loving.
We experience His merciful graces in the midst of our sufferings and see the greater good and glory that results. Humbly, we praise Him.
1 Peter 1:7 “So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Isaiah 48:10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” 1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” Psalm 28: 6-7 “Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my please for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield; in him my heart trust, and I am helped…”