4/27/05

Encouragement for Today

 

“Divided by Discontentment”

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

 

Psalm 17:14-15, “O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life.  You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children.  And I – in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

1.  Maybe for most, a 35th birthday would be a day of celebration and excitement…but not for Jackie.  Like sand through her fingers, her hopes of getting married and having children were slipping away.  Unable to comprehend God’s timing, she resented every wedding invitation she received, every baby gift she bought for a friend, and every comment that Mr. Right would come along soon.

 

2.  Janet sat on her bed and wept.  Another negative test meant another month of counting, timing, waiting, worrying, pleading, and crying.  Her arms ached for a baby to hold and her heart longed for a baby to love.  Why was it so hard for her to get pregnant, and why had God let her experience the tragedy of miscarriage the few times she had?

 

3.  Patty’s eyes longed to stay shut, but the scampering about of little feet and the baby’s cry demanded her full attention.  Another day was about to begin, though her yesterday seemed to never come to a close.

 

Isn’t it ironic that each of these women has something the others long for?  One can sleep in, have lunch with her friends, and be responsible for only herself, but she longs for a husband.  The one with the husband longs for children.  The one with a husband and children longs for the kind of time the single life affords.  Can you identify with any of these women?  Are you distracted by some kind of longing today?

 

Discontentment is Satan’s distraction meant to lure you away from the patience that is rightly yours when you accept Christ as Lord of your life.  Satan calls you to resent where you are and distract you with things that could be.  Don’t get me wrong, goals and visions for the future are necessary, but discontentment is different.  It is being unable to be at peace with where God has you now, blinding you to all the good that surrounds you in your present situation.  It pulls the longings of your heart further and further from God, rather than drawing you closer to Him.  And it steals the patience you need to wait on God’s perfect timing and accept His perfect will. 

 

Things like a spouse, a child, financial security, friends, or a different job are all good things and desirable, but it seems we have to wait for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time for them.  Let us not forget that God does not work in a human time frame . . . but one that considers the eternal perspective.  Sometimes God answers, “No,” to what you’ve asked of Him.  In that case, acceptance is necessary to gain emotional peace and we must trust that He has our eternal best in mind and exercise patience to wait on His timing and accept His answer.  We must also realize that whenever God says, “No,” to one thing, He says, “Yes,” to something else that aligns with His good and perfect will.

 

God is our Father with the most tender care and compassion.  Being a child of the One who sees and knows all means that just as earthly parents must sometimes say no to protect and care for their children, so must our Heavenly Father.  And just as earthly parents see and understand things their children don’t, God directs our steps in the same fashion. 

 

Sadly, we have all at one time or another refused to wait and have traded in God’s best for what we reasoned to be good.  All in the name of discontentment, we hear Satan’s call to get what we desire now, now, NOW!  What better way to paralyze our effectiveness for Christ than to make us ungrateful for what we do have and distracted by longings for all we do not have!  Yet in the midst of this call there is another voice, a calmer voice . . . that of Patience.  It calls us to, “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with one another, so that you do not do what you want.” (Galatians 5:16-17, NIV)

 

Yes, yes, go on, you plead, your ears straining to hear this amazing truth.  “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

 

That is the secret.  The same God who sent His Son to die in your place for love’s sake gives you strength.  The same God who gives unshakable joy gives you strength.  The same God who gives unexplainable peace gives you strength.  Now, in one amazing passage of Scripture, He explains how to be content, how to rest in the arms of patience, for He will give you strength.

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Abba, Father, I declare this day that I am going to trust your provision over my life and my circumstances.  I am but a child who only sees what is in front of me, but You see the greater scheme of things.  Today I choose to make the right decision, which is to wait on You.  I pray this would be an opportunity to discover Your best rather than settle for what might seem good to my human eyes.  May You receive glory regardless of how I feel about things today.

 

Application Steps:

 

In a journal, record your thoughts on the following:

 

Are there any places in your life where you feel discontentment’s pull?

God is our Father and we are His children whom He chose and dearly loves.  Do you really believe this about yourself?

Record a time in your life when you have refused to wait on God’s best and traded it in for what you reasoned to be good.   How did this decision affect you?

Waiting can be the very tool God uses to make our patience grow.  What are some things you are waiting for now?  How is God using them to grow your patience?

Write out Philippians 4:13 on a piece of paper that you can carry with you throughout the day.  When you encounter your area of struggle where patience is concerned, pull it out, read it, and write this wonderful promise on your heart.

 

Reflection Points:

 

Review the verses listed throughout the devotion and then read the “power verses” that follow.  What was your favorite passage of Scripture?  How will this verse affect you personally?

 

Power Verses:

 

Isaiah 55:8-9, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (NIV)

 

Ephesians 1:4-5, “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html

 

Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/dreamswoman.html

 

Water from the Rock, by Donna Gibbs, Becky Garrett and Phyllis Rabon

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/waterrock.html

 

I’ll Hold You in Heaven Remembrance Book: Words of Comfort, Peace, Healing and Hope, by Debbie Hydrick

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/inheaven.html