I once knew a man who did not pray for patience… hated the thought/idea of it… strictly because of God’s promise that came along with patience; ‘…that the trying of your faith worketh patience‘. Quality traits in our lives are always good things, but none if them are just ‘there’ in your life, none of them can be purchased, none of them come from just living ‘a good life. Anguish, difficult times, stress-n-strain are all experiences we encounter… it’s how we handle them, how we cope with them, and even how we embrace them that shapes our character, motivates our hearts, and especially separates the sheep from the goats in our spirit.
The devotional today reminds us that our Faith Walk will always include tough choices through our day, challenging struggles in your heart and mind, and even simple tempting and irresistible encounters of life… but, our Lord is tried and true to His word; Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Regardless of your ups-n-downs, He is faithful and true. That solid foundation, that consistent presence, that predictable promise is our anchor, our guide, even our basis of trust in Him. Psalms 102:27 even states; “But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.“, which is to say that His promises and presence in our lives is His commitment to us… that steadfastness can have quite a bolstering impact on your soul! See… as you face anguish, as you experience trials, as you approach (or are in the midst of) overwhelming challenges, we know that He will guide us through, He will empower us to glean from this experience, and He will comfort, nurture, and support us… always. We are NOT out there on our own, or alone… unless we choose to be (see the Peace at Stake, Piece of Cake devotional).
Seriously, once you actually hold the Lord to His word and promises, you can focus your attention and energy to the task at hand. Acts 17:28 reminds us that; “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.“, which is a clear indication that as His child, we have a great support system in place, and His is a reliant one, too.
Like you, I dislike what appears to be a challenge coming on (say, a windy cycle-commute home, facing medical uncertainty, an aggressive task at work), but we can boldly embrace this encounter by His grace and promise, and ultimately learn to Appreciate Anguish!
|G.W. Bill Elliott, Jr. MDiv