Journal Entry ~ 11/02/17

29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.  - Psalm 107:29-30

In this section of Psalm 107, the sailors begin to struggle when the waters rise. They realize in their weakness that they are powerless to navigate the storm, so they cry out to God and He delivers them safely to their desired haven. When we encounter trials, God promises the same rescue to us.  Someone encouraged me with the words of Isaiah 43:2 this week: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. I just love the truths found in these verses - He promises to not let our trials overwhelm us. 

The thing that I've learned over the years is that we never just suffer the thing we're suffering - we suffer through the temptation that the suffering brings into our lives.  We suffer all that we bring to our suffering, which makes the suffering so much worse than it needs to be. Our trials cause us to doubt God's goodness, they cause us to worry and not trust Him, or they cause us to be angry that God has allowed this trial - these are the tempting thoughts that suffering brings into our lives, and the places where the enemy wants to destroy us. 

Our trials are our trials because of how we choose to view them, not necessarily because of what we’re experiencing. We suffer our suffering. Think about it. When we get the phone call, what do we do?  We begin to imagine the worst. It’s not the phone call from our child’s school that causes our deepest suffering. It’s where our mind goes when we get the call that causes our suffering - what does this mean for his future? What will people think of him? If he continues on this path, where will he end up?  He’ll never get into college, he never get a job... We suffer our suffering. We get the phone call with a cancer diagnosis and immediately our thoughts go to worst case scenario...what if I have to have chemo? What if my hair falls out? What if they don’t catch it all? What if it comes back? What if I die? What about my family?  You get the point...how we view our trials, the perspective we take, all determine how we suffer. If we take a horizontal view, if we begin to imagine our future, our trials will be magnified. All those questions floating around in our brains are asked from a horizontal perspective focused on tomorrow. If we have a vertical perspective, and we focus on today - even just this moment, we see our trials as God sees them and they are minimized. 

Have you ever looked at someone you believe to be a strong person endure a difficult trial?  You may also know other people who’ve endured similar, or perhaps even less, and their wheels come off easily. The difference in that strong person has a solid foundation in the Word of God. We need know the promises He offers in scripture well, they must be written on our hearts if we are to minimize our suffering in our trials. We need to go the the word of God because it is the very will of God. It is everything we need to know about how to live our lives as Christians, including how to endure suffering. 

Here’s a truth that we need sealed to our hearts:  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16. He knows what you're up against and He has given you the grace to face what you need to face today. Our anxieties rise when we fear a future that hasn't even happened yet. We worry how we're going to make it through something difficult we've imagined is going to happen, and we're not even there yet. We need to remind ourselves in those anxious moments that God gives us grace for today, He gives us enough grace to handle what we're facing in this very moment right here. When we get into the next moment, the next day, or next year, He will give us the grace in those moments to face whatever we have to face there as well. If you live this moment knowing He is here with you, trusting He will walk with you in future moments, you will find His peace in your trials.

Or how about these truths:  21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."  - Lamentations 3:21-24. Each day is a new day, fresh with His mercies. Every morning we wake, His mercies are new and form fitted for the day in front of us. We have nothing to fear, He's already got everything under control. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in the future, specifically for my children. I fear the decisions they will make, and the future those decision will bring. Now, with the cancer diagnosis, fears about my own future can well up inside me. But this verse reminds me to call His truths to mind, to take over my anxious thoughts and remind myself of His promises for my future. He's already there, He already knows our future, and He's got mercy for that day we fear. We can get so wrapped up in how we will deal with the future, fearing the worst, when the reality is we're operating on today's mercy...and today's mercy is only for today and what we're dealing with right now. It isn’t for tomorrow. When it is tomorrow, we will get new mercies form fitted for that day, and we will be able to walk through it. I will be able to face whatever life throws at me tomorrow because I will have His new mercies. I have to keep my thoughts in today. Don’t borrow troubles for today from tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:14. My thoughts can sometimes go in the opposite direction as well - I can go to bed with the weight of the world on my shoulders, replaying all the wrong decisions I've made.  It can be overwhelming as I think about things I've said or done, wishing I'd done things differently. But I am reminded here that every day is a new day. He has already wiped the slate clean and wants to start fresh with me. 

Satan wants nothing more than to catch us at a time our faith isn't firm, when we're vulnerable. It makes sense that the very thing he wants to destroy would be the means of our resisting his effort. We need to learn to stand firm against the temptations in suffering, and to trust that God has a plan - that's how we resist the enemy. Stop asking why or when it is going to be over, stop imagining a future that doesn’t even exist, and live in the moment, resting on the faith that He loves and protects us in our trials, and He will see us through. Cry out to Him with all your fears as the sailors did, and He will deliver you to your desired haven. 


Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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