Have you ever wondered how you will respond to certain situations in life? A broken friendship that you are being blamed for because of things you did not do. An unexpected death in your family. An illness that forever changes you physically.
I have always wondered if I have a relationship with Christ that will stand up in hard times.
Will I trust Him when I don't like the answer? Will I love Him when the hurt is more than I can bear?
I am so unbelievably thankful that I can say yes. Our family has faced a few of the hardest weeks ever. I prayed all night that God would bring healing but He didn't. I pleaded for a positive morning but woke up to things worse than the night before. I asked for a staff that would hear our concerns but was questioned instead. For the first time in my life, I had to think about losing a family member and what that would mean.
It was devastating and so painful, but not once did I curse God or lose my love or trust in who He is. I am His child and He will always be present in my life. He will take care of me. He has plans for me that I know nothing about. As a parent and grandparent, I only want the best for my children. How much more does my Heavenly Father want for me?
The world seems to be so lost but I can still love others, invest in others, and be present in lives that simply need someone to listen. In our small neighborhood, a wife is dying, a husband just received a life-ending health report, a mom in her sixties died, a baby has had four heart surgeries in a week. But these families have shown such amazing faith and love in their Lord.
How is this possible? I believe it's being in His presence daily. While cleaning our homes, cooking our meals, taking the kids to school, going to work, and paying our bills, we can allow God in every aspect of our ordinary everyday lives. We need to make time for Him each day to listen for His voice, read His word and know Him so well that we understand the nudge only He can give to call that person, drop groceries off for the neighbor, or talk to the stranger that looks lost.
When we are present with Him every day, when the hard days hit, we will not be able to miss His presence with us. We will know Him so well we won't need to question His plans. We can honestly say if this situation does not turn out the way we want, God is still God. He is still good and He still loves us more than we will ever understand.
I started reading Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table by Loui Giglio around the time things started getting hard for our family. It's about the difficult truth that life is hard, yet Jesus invites us to follow Him anyway. It's knowing that God's long-term plans are so much better than our small immediate issues.
The Devil wants nothing more than to crush you. He wants to steal everything you value. He wants to kill everything in your life that's good. Ultimately, he wants to destroy you. If he can claim the victory over your mind, he can eventually claim the victory over your life.
So don't give him a place in your life or at your table. Keep your mind on God, His goodness, His plans, His salvation, and His presence in your life.
The Lord is my Shepard; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me:
God is always with you. When it doesn't feel like He cares, like he has forgotten you, even left you, remember the everyday, ordinary times you have talked with Him, praised Him, learned His promises. He never leaves you. Praise Him in the hard times as well as the good!
Take in every single moment of this amazing fall season. Love your God, your people, and those He places in your path.