Sunday, April 23, 2017

In Dire Straits...

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Psalm 119: 71-72

Dire straits is not such a bad place to be. Hard times stretch our unworn spiritual muscles, make us cling to the Word of God for dear life. God shows me His faithfulness in these times, times where I am being stretched beyond what I think I can take.

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years complaining and grumbling. Then, they did not even get to go into the land, after all that. They died in the desert and their children got to go in instead.

Paul told us in I Corinthians 10 that their story was written for us, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. So I began to think about my life and my own wilderness journey. I have been a Christian for most of my life. But I think nearly forty years of my own have come to pass where I spent a good deal of the time grumbling and complaining.

Grumbling and "venting" feels good for the moment. But it never gets me anywhere, never gives me any solutions, except to commiserate with others who are also struggling. It doesn't build me up, it doesn't build them up either. 

Did you ever think "if only" something was going the way you wanted, you could then be happy? I know I have believed that lie so many times. If only so and so liked me, if only I had done this instead of that, if only I hadn't made that mistake way back when, or was "there" instead of in the place where I am now.

You know what? The list of "if only's" could go on forever. Here is a shocking revelation: I don't have to have any condition outside of myself in which to be happy. Happiness comes from a source way beyond myself, if only I will avail myself of it moment by moment. It comes from one constant unchangeable fact: that God of all Gods looked down from eternity and saw us in our misery and decided to do something about it by taking all of our sins and guilt onto Himself at the cross. He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loved us by dying for us on the cross.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

I need to spend the rest of my time here on earth just going and learning what all that really means, unwrapping this wonderful gift of salvation and walking in fellowship with my blessed Lord and Savior. It makes my life worth living. It is the only thing that does. 

If I love Him, then I can I trust Him that He will take the hardest and most trying times of my life and work them together for my ultimate good. It is to this simple fact that I am clinging.

Lately it seems that so many of God's children are going through difficulties. Are you trying to lean on your own understanding? You will never understand why all these bad things happen except that to see that they are the only way that God can get our attention, wake us out of our spiritual stupor and cling with all our might to the Lover of our souls.

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