"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
God is continuing to work on me about trusting His will and answering my prayers. He continues to lead me to verses about trust, as today's verse shows, and yesterday's message at church had alot to say about faith.
God answers prayers. However, it may not always be when or in the way I expect or how I want it to look. But, whatever the answer God gives me - yes, no or later - it's always, ALWAYS, what is best for me. I may not think so but that's just because I want to be in control, I want things to be MY way. Not happening! And, it's a lesson I'm learning slowly but surely.
Yesterday's message was from the first chapter of Luke. Yes, we are getting close to Christmas and we all know Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. And the beginning chapters of Luke are all about the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Christ. So, what does this have to do with faith and trust? PLENTY!! As the pastor pointed out, there are lessons in this chapter that apply to OUR time and OUR faith in God. I'm just going to repeat to you what those lessons are.
The first lesson is this: God often shows up in our deepest disappointments. I'm going to add: if we let Him. If we're not in a close relationship with our Lord, our first reaction to deep disappointment is usually anger and bitterness. "God, why did you let this happen?! How could you allow this?! I'm so mad at you!" Instead, we should be leaning more on Him during these times, trusting Him more, allowing Him to comfort and heal us. There is no one who suffered more than Job, yet He never turned away from God. Job 36:15-16 NIV says, "But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food." TRUST!
The second lesson is this: God will always bring His promises to pass. It's so easy to forget God's track record. He has answered so many of my prayers in the past; I have so many things He has blessed me with. Yet, when faced with a new challenge, my faith wavers. Why?! His past proves the future. He's been there with me through thick and thin, good and bad. Just because He's not answering a prayer RIGHT NOW doesn't mean He's not keeping His promises. Look at Zechariah & Elizabeth and Abraham & Sarah - they prayed for years for a child and God blessed them with sons in their old ages - OLD AGES!! As the pastor pointed out: delayed blessings are often the sweetest blessings. We appreciate them so much more. Numbers 23:19 NIV says, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?" TRUST!
The third lesson is this: God often reveals His intentions before the fact, become attuned!! In other words - shut up and listen!!!! Quiet time with God is a must. Time spent praying, meditating, studying and listening for God is important for me to grow my faith and become closer in my relationship. It's so easy to allow the chaos & noise of this world to interfere. It's up to me to set aside the time each day to spend time with the Lord and to listen for His leading throughout the day. "For God does speak - now one way, now another - though man may not perceive it." - Job 33:14 NIV. TRUST!
The fourth lesson is this: However bleak it looks, it's never hopeless! Luke 1:37 NIV tells us, "For nothing is impossible with God." NOTHING! God can heal cancer that a doctor says is hopeless. He can provide whatever we need when we think everything looks hopeless. It's only our limited understanding that makes us think something is hopeless. It's all normal to God! TRUST!
The last lesson is this: When God blesses, never allow yourself to forget. Be thankful for all He has blessed you with. As I said before, as humans we tend to be forgetful of all that God has done for us, of all of the prayers He has answered. Take the time to remember and thank Him. Did you ask for a job? Did you get one? Thank Him. Did you ask for healing? Did it happen? Thank Him. Whatever you asked for - did He answer? Thank Him. Remember the ten lepers that Jesus healed on His way to Jerusalem? Only one came back. "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then He said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well." - Luke 17:15-19 NIV. Don't forget to thank Him for all He's given and done for you. TRUST!
"Often I have made a request of God with earnest pleadings even backed up with Scripture, only to have Him say, "No" because He had something better in store." - Ruth Bell Graham
Dear Lord, continue to grow my faith in You. Let me learn these lessons that Your Word teaches and use them to trust in Your answers and Your timing. May I find time each day to spend in quietness with You. Your way is perfect and I know You work for my good. May I trust You in all You do. In Jesus' precious name I ask, Amen.