Monday, 22 August 2016

Finding Purpose In The Storm

Why Are All of These Terrible Things Happening? Am I being punished? Will this ever end? 

Many people ask themselves these questions many times, especially during the most turbulent times of their lives when things just don’t make sense, especially when things appear to be growing worse, and when God feels distant and seems silent. As a small child I remember my mother rising early and ending the day with the Lord on her heart. Jesus Christ was her mentor, her example, her friend, her companion no matter what she faced. The anointing was evident in her face, her countenance, her tenacity to continue, and the time she took each night to teach me about the Lord through Bible readings, songs, and games we played. This was the first time I learned that no matter what we have to face in life or how egregious the circumstance, God still sits on the throne and has a wonderful plan for all of the struggle. 

When the storms Increase in Velocity so does God’s Mercy. 

There are times in our lives when we are doing all the right things, when we’re trusting and believing that the same God who brought us through hard times in the past, will deliver us as quickly as He did before, or in the same manner. We cry, we wait, we pray, and we trust, but still there seems to be no relief, no answer. As the storms increase in strength and seem to never end, we begin to wonder if we are being punished, targeted, or forsaken, and many of us begin to doubt the true existence of God because we fail to fully understand beyond the five senses why a loving God would allow seemingly unbearable pain. It is hard to conceptualize how God could suddenly turn His back and walk away during the darkest moments of our lives leaving us to fend for ourselves in very painful moments. We may feel abandoned, but we are not alone in our sufferings, the Lord Jesus felt this exact way before His crucifixion. He felt separated from God like we often do when we feel pressured or uncertain. He felt anxious and forsaken after having an oneness with God, but continued to be obedient in spite of how he felt. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) 

If we rely on our feelings we will often be misled, because feelings change for a variety of reasons and therefore have nothing to do with obedience. Jesus went to the cross anyway. Furthermore, God doesn't always promise us that things will turn out the way we planned, expected, and anticipated, but He did promise that no matter what we have to face He will always be there with us, even when we don’t feel His presence. He knows every situation, sees every teardrop that falls from your eye, and He has a resolution and a plan to bring you out, in His time. God is the solution to every problem, and has a time limit to every trial. 

Trials and tribulation arrive to strengthen, test, and teach, and the only choices we have through the inferno process, are to either become bitter or better. 

The purpose of trials as painful as they are force us to higher ground, otherwise we would remain stuck in the valley and never reach the mountain top which is God’s intended destiny for us. Sometimes God will allow pressure to force us out of our comfort zone, and we must be willing to stand a little discomfort in order to receive what He has in store for us. Storms in the form of adversity, persecution, job loss, a nasty divorce, bereavement, a wayward child, a broken relationship, a sick loved one, and persecution in any form, is the stretching process we must endure in order to move into God’s intended destiny for our lives. Like a skilled artist, God creates a masterpiece. He never makes mistakes, nor does He crumble His work and toss it into the trash. God continues to build on what He started until it is just right, because only He can see the finished product. Therefore, storms are designed to bring us into a new dimension and transition us to another spiritual level. You may be saying, “Well, I just can’t take another thing right now.” God is saying, yes you can. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. God knows when and how to stop the pressing block before it fully crushes you. If you feel crushed right now, just know that it is God’s way of squeezing you hard enough to reveal your true character, the real person you are on the inside and what you need to work on. It doesn't always mean that you are being punished or chastised, but there is a great lesson to be learned in every trial. Storms cause us to reflect on any sin that may be present in our lives, any bad attitudes we have, or any grudges we continue to harbor. Storms do not dim the way, but produce light in the path of darkness, and there is a light at the end of every tunnel, and it’s not always a train. You can and will survive your storm. 

God’s Mercy is Renewed Every Morning 

As I rise in the morning hours drinking my morning coffee with God, and before I begin my day, I ask for a heaping portion of the renewed mercy He has stored for me this day. God is merciful and full of grace especially during the times we need it the most. He promised to never leave nor forsake us. He promised that no weapon formed against you will prosper, and if God said it then He meant it! Nothing that you are facing at the present moment is a surprise to the almighty that is in control of ALL things, and He has a perfect outcome for you if you remain steadfast and continue to persevere through the torrential storms. Many of us give up and throw in the towel when we fail to see things changing, but God is always up to something and always working every situation out on your behalf. “God’s thoughts for you are thoughts of peace and not evil.” Jeremiah 29:11. Intensity of pain means you’re getting closer to your breakthrough. For example: Right before a baby is born, the mother’s pain is greatly increased, and the physician doesn’t tell her to stop or give up, but coaches her to push harder until the baby is born. Whatever God is trying to birth through you, will bring you great joy if you keep pushing through it. Now, is not the time to stop, you’ve come too far in your journey to throw in the towel. 

God never said that perceived weapons of mass destruction would not be formed; He said they would not prosper. 

The enemy is never going away, so it is a waste of time stressing over every negative thing that comes our way. Satan will do anything and everything to distract you from God's purpose and plan. His goal is to stress you the point where you have no strength to even utter a simple prayer. Don't waste time fighting people or thinking about things you have no control over. Whatever it takes, your biggest fight is in keeping your mind on God at all times, and not trying to put out the little fires the enemy starts. Let the captain handle it all. God is the greatest fire fighter and while you continue to trust Him, He will fight on your behalf. Furthermore, for the sake of Christ, we will have trials and tribulations and we will encounter and suffer many afflictions. However, this period may be a testing time and only temporary, a time when you really need to dig your heels in prayer, fasting, thanksgiving, and praise. God wants to talk to you. He wants your attention. He is using the floods you are presently facing to move you to higher ground. How else could He get our attention? It is hard to hear that gentle sweet voice of God when your mind is cluttered with problems. Whatever you focus on will become bigger and more powerful. Make sense? 

Then why so much pain? Haven't I been through enough? 

The real questions are....Is God setting me up for something beyond my wildest dreams? Is He orchestrating His mighty plan and using my suffering for my good and His glory? Could it be that the most painful and difficult afflictions be a sign that the enemy, that negative intelligence, is scheming to stop the promise through the process by wearing us down and sucking out our energy? Be aware that persecution, afflictions, disappointments, heartache, and set-backs are designed to strengthen and bless you in more ways than you could ever imagine. While trials never feel good, they all work together for your good. Stay the course and never give up. Victory is near to those who continue to trust in God's wisdom even when it seems like nothing is changing. God is always at work. Keep praying, keep believing, keep praising Him, and keep trusting. 

I want you to visualize the firm hand of Jesus gripping tightly to your right hand and walking right beside you through the fire whenever fear rears its ugly head. Picture the Heavenly Father sweeping you off of your feet and carrying you, whenever you lack energy to carry on. 

Be blessed and keep living with your purpose in mind.