13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. - Psalm 107:13-14
And when they cried out to Him, He delivered them. The beautiful part of this passage is that when we get to the end of ourselves, when we’ve abandoned all trust in our own wisdom, when the light has finally revealed our chains and we’re ready to surrender to His wisdom, He is there, waiting, ready to redeem us. He’s not standing there with an “I told you so!” or a “Hey, you got yourself into this mess.” No, our God is waiting to graciously deliver us from the sin that had us in bondage all along.
It can be so hard to see that truth when we’re wrestling with what He is trying to reveal to us, but He has a plan. God’s ultimate purpose in all the pain of our trials is to see that we need to trust in Him with our whole heart. No matter what we’re facing, no matter how dark the challenge, God is in control. He is sovereign over our most difficult moments, and He can be trusted because He has a plan that is beyond what stands in front of us. It may not make any sense to us right now, but we can know with complete confidence that He is working all things out for the good of those who love Him - that’s what His Word promises, and that is what’s true.
Moving on from our challenges can be hard, though, let’s be honest. We may be able to get to a place where we know that God is in control and He is ultimately working all things out for good, but the daily grind of our challenges can pull us back into an attitude of discontentment pretty quickly. When we are dissatisfied with something in our lives, when things aren’t going as expected, when something comes along to disrupt our plan for our lives - even when we’ve surrendered our plan to Him and accepted He is sovereign, there are still those days we wake up and find ourselves simmering in self-pity or a pool of discontent. Staying on top of negative or fearful thinking in a trial takes work on our part - it requires us to be intentional about capturing our thinking and making it obedient to a Christ. God knows that - He knows our heart and He knows our daily struggle, so He not only shows us how to break free from bondage in scripture, He instructs us how to stay on top of our thinking in the very same passage - Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! - Psalm 107:15. We are to give thanks to Him - for all things, in all circumstances. An attitude of gratitude not only replaces a heart of discontentment, but it shrinks our fears and reminds us that He is good all the time.
Be purposeful about your gratitude. Let them thank the Lord is an active verb. We need to be intentional about thanking Him. Do something that effects a change. Instead of starting your day with a list of all the things that are wrong with your life, start your day with a list of all the things that are right. Stop waking up in that pool of discontent - be intentional about changing your attitude. Grab a notebook and make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for, whether it’s the fact that you have a roof over your head or the reason you laughed yesterday. Write them all down. Then pick it up in the morning and review it before you step into your day. Change your prayer life - instead of listing all the things or people you want God to fix in your life, simply thank Him for all the things He has blessed you with today. Try a prayer of praise only today. Throughout the day, when the anxious or angry thoughts start creeping in, stop them. Be intentional about switching those thoughts off, and choosing to focus on the list of things you are grateful for today - get your list out if you need help remembering. Then, at the end of the day, instead of reviewing all the things that went wrong today, add at least 5 things to the list that went right and for which you are thankful. It’s all perspective, isn’t it? Two people can live the same day, but one can walk away feeling like it was the worst day and one feeling like it was the best. What’s the difference? What they choose to focus on. Choose to be grateful and watch how God will use that in your life for good.
I woke up this morning with the virus I was hoping I wouldn’t catch from my grand babies. So frustrating for me because I only have 3 days to feel even remotely like myself, to enjoy my time with the babies, to be outside, to go to small group and now I can’t. Not only frustrating, but fear producing as I know how dangerous it can be to get sick while receiving chemo treatments - what is this going to do to my white blood cell count? What if I can’t fight this infection on my own? What if this delays my treatments? It would be so easy to give in to the frustrations or the fears, it would be so easy to walk the path of discontentment. But I won’t let that happen because I know that road has potholes in it. Instead I will choose to be thankful - I’m thankful for yoga pants, fuzzy socks, and comfy blankets today, I’m thankful that I have a job that allows me to be home through this illness, I’m thankful I am fortunate enough to be able to sit on my couch today, I’m thankful I have a medical team that checks in on me constantly and who’s first priority is to keep me well, I’m thankful that I have a husband who will run to the store to grab me whatever I need, I’m thankful that I have family and friends who continually check in on me and diligently pray for me and will serve me at a moment’s notice...the list goes on and on. But most importantly, I’m thankful for a God whose mercies are new every morning, who loves me with a steadfast love, and who gives me grace for this moment and all those moments in my future.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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