Journal Entry ~ 01/31/19

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. - Romans 8:28-29

When suffering enters our lives, it can be so hard to remember this truth, but everything He allows into our lives is for the ultimate good. Every single thing. Every blessing, every challenging moment, every difficult person, every heartbreaking loss, every deep trial. It's all for our good. 

As sinful people, we have such a tendency to point our finger at the situation or the other person when trials come. We want Him to heal our loved one, fix the other person, mend the relationship, make our lives easier. But that's not the good God has for us in our trials. 

Suffering is a call to put our trust in Him and not in the things of this world. It's an opportunity to grow our faith in the one true King who stands sovereign over all.  It is a time for us to repent and turn from treasuring anything on earth above God. It's an opportunity for Him to refine us and grow us to be more like Him. 

When suffering enters our lives, we so often think that God has abandoned us, but that’s not what’s happening at all. God allows the storms to come to reveal the strongholds in our hearts. Our strongholds are deeply rooted ways of thinking about the world that are wrong, and they are so engrained in our DNA that we have a difficult time seeing them. Sometimes they are the result of the way we were raised, sometimes they are the result of an experience, most are the result of some coping strategy we’ve learned while living in this broken world. We all have them, but we rarely see the bent perspective they give us on the world, and we don’t see the way they cause us to sin against Him. Our strongholds dictate our behaviors and our responses. 

God will allow the waters to rise and the storms to crash in our lives as a way to reveal those strongholds to us because we just won’t see them on our own. We don’t see them until they start to cause problems. There comes a day when the full weight of the choices we have been making over time will crash down upon us. Our God is full of grace and mercy, but He will let the trials come to reveal our strongholds. What causes you the greatest suffering, what causes your heart to ache the most - that’s where your stronghold lies, that’s what you need to release to Him. 

When those challenging moments in life come, don't simply pray them away. Lean in and ask Him how He wants you to grow. Far too often we get in the way of that work by focusing our prayers on how we want the situation resolved - our plan gets in the way of His plan, our plan blocks the good He has for us. Praying He does His mighty work in my life and in those I love, and that I stay out of the way. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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