Parenting is not for the faint of heart.
God is the answer to all life’s problems, right? Or is He?
He says He is the Prince of Peace. Our redeemer, our sustenance, our reward and inheritance. Our provision.
So, if He is all He promises, how come we struggle so much? Why is there such a lack of hope and joy in the Christian community? Smiling facades, but no inner peace.
Why the daily struggle to just survive our circumstances? Why the weariness, the back pain, the digestive issues?
What prevents us from living from a place of peace, rest and joy? Why are they just words in the Bible for so many of us, but not a way of life?
We read the scriptures, but do we activate them? Have hope in them? Believe them for our situation? Why is there no power in the body of believers? Where is the Holy Spirit when we need Him?
Perhaps it’s because we are so used to living by what our emotions or our thoughts are telling us, that we don’t really understand how to walk in the freedom that is for us.
Maybe it’s because we’ve never truly encountered the power of God. Maybe we’re not comfortable with a God we can’t control or don’t fully understand, so we tie His hands, in a sense. Faith and belief are the activation components necessary to walk in fullness and power (Matt. 13:58).
I’ve seen miracles. I’ve experienced miracles. And I’ve been a conduit for the miraculous to happen.
Belief Leads to Power
It comes down to what we believe. Do we like the structure and formality of going to church on Sunday, singing a few songs, listening to a message and then going back to our daily struggles? Where we lift up our troubles to God, are grateful for His answers and His provision, but we don’t truly live as victorious conquerors (Rom. 8:37). We don’t live in peace and our joy is fleeting.
We may read about the power and authority He’s given us, but we don’t understand it is our right and honor to live in it, to wield it, to set the world on fire with it.
I’ve seen people brandish verses, repeating them as a mantra for the pain of their situation. Working so hard to squeeze comfort from them. My heart breaks to see such effort and struggle to feel better. They know there is truth in the word of God, but they have no break through.
It’s like trying to desperately turn on a lamp that isn’t plugged in. How many times do we do that before we lose hope? Before we start secretly believing that God is not powerful, or that He just doesn’t care enough to help.
It breaks God’s heart too.
He’s speaking, but are we listening? Do we know how?
Do we read the scriptures as a manual for our freedom or as a story to encourage us? I believe it is both.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4).
Graham Cooke said that when difficulty arises, the dumbest thing we can do is go to prayer.
I know, it ruffled my feathers the first time he said it too. But he explains that when we are squeezed by a challenging situation, the first thing we often do is pray from our fear. We go from fear to fear, shooting up prayers like a human pinball.
Thankfulness As A Weapon
What if the wisest course of action for any challenge that enters our lives is to thank Him for His goodness, for His presence, for never leaving us? For whatever comes to your heart.
If we wait to feel better before praising Him or declaring His goodness, we will likely continue to slide down a slippery slope of hopelessness and helplessness.
Sounds crazy. Crisis hits, and we’re to be thankful and praise Him? Yep. Not for the crisis, but for how big He is. That He knows the way through. That He’s on our side.
Do you know that praise, even if it starts out rusty and lacking in conviction, will begin to change how you feel? The more you practice speaking declarations of truth with authority and conviction, the more darkness will retreat (James 4:7) and Presence will come (Psalm 22:3).
We don’t get joy by continually reminding ourselves, “The joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the Lord is my strength.” When I was little and laying in bed scared, I would get out of bed, find my Bible and crawl back under the covers holding the Word of God tightly against my chest. Willing it to give me strength and comfort.
I had the right idea, but went about it the wrong way. Scripture by itself does not heal us, comfort us or restore us. It’s the living power of the One who breathes life into it that sustains us in difficulty.
What I mean is, repeating scripture as a mantra from a place of fear, in hopes it will give us the joy it promises, is what a beggar does. A child of God speaks the same scripture from a place of intimacy. Knowing Papa God has good and delightful things for us.
So when we trip and fall into a hole, we can look up past the muddy walls into the sunshine and declare God’s promises, knowing the power of heaven is behind them. We speak them, already believing we have the fulfillment. Our prayer, our faith is hastening the answer to us. We are not pleading for help. We know we have help.
Being able to do that starts with getting to know Him personally. Plugging the light cord into the source. Discovering His power and learning how precious you are to His heart.
When you know His goodness and how warm and delightful His thoughts are toward you, there is no fear in approaching Him.
Lord, open our eyes to deeper revelations about your power and authority and your love for us. Let us encounter your love in new and healing ways. Let your word become alive to us. Let it become a banquet to our souls. Draw us deeper into your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thoughts . . .
Have you ever read the Bible as an invitation to an encounter with Him?