August 22, 2012

It's going to be Okay!


“I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”
by Minnie Louise Haskins

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy.

A friend painted the above picture for me a few years ago.  At the time, I did not believe anything was ever going to be ok again, but guess what?  He was right.  Things are looking brighter. 
We all struggle.  We all suffer.  There are periods of darkness in everyone’s life at one time or another but in the end, it's OK. I think of the verse in Job that says, "But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold." (23:10)
We go through the fire.  God places us there.  He knows where we are headed and He knows where we will end up.  I have come to learn that the world remains a dark place as long as He is refining me.  As long as there are changes to be made in my life, there is suffering I must endure but as I grow closer to being where He wants me, the light begins to appear and things begin to be okay. That is where I am now.  I have been through a lot but I did not give up.  I did not lose heart and I did not lose my faith!  And now, I can see the sunrise.
You may not be able to see it yet but I promise you it is coming!  I promise you that the best is yet to be.
As we are dealing with our struggles, we should keep in mind that there are reasons that we are called to suffer.
We suffer because:
·       God wants to show us how much we want what He wants. "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." James 1:3 
·       God wants us to be a comfort to one another. "Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer." 2 Corinthians 1:6
·       We are then able to point others to how truly amazing God is.  "But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!" 1 Peter 4:16
·       It causes our faith to grow stronger. "In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10
·       It motivates us to follow Him. "Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered." Hebrews 5:8
·       It allows us to identify with Jesus a bit more. "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death." Philippians 3:10
·       Others will see a life lived out in faith and will be compelled to follow us to Jesus. "So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen." 2 Timothy 2:10
·       We are made an example of what a life entrusted to God looks like "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them". Romans 8:28
·       It trains us to go to God first for help. "When I was prosperous, I said,
    “Nothing can stop me now!”
Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.

    Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered." Psalm 30:6-7


When we find ourselves in the midst of suffering, we only need to willingly put our hand in God’s hand and walk with Him into whatever He allows or has planned.  No matter the reason we suffer, we must choose to walk by faith and not by sight.  It means we embrace God’s sovereignty.  We recognize that He sees the end from the beginning and all the spaces in between.  He sees the entire path that our life will take through the deepest valleys all the way to the highest mountaintops. And as we trust Him and walk His path, we will encounter a life so full of joy and a life few ever truly experience.   

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