October 13, 2009
Between Faith and a Hard Place
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28-29, MSG)
Friend To Friend
C.H. Spurgeon wrote, "God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you?"
Like C. H. Spurgeon, the Bible tells us hard truths. It doesn't paint a rosy picture. It actually paints a thorny picture. It promises hardship. It assures us that in this life there will be troubles…times when we find ourselves caught between faith and a hard place.
Christianity is no free lunch. Faith in Christ doesn't shield us from troubles but it does help us through them. There are natural tensions here. Questions that beg to be asked:
Is God really all loving? Yes.
Is God always good? Yes.
Will we each find ourselves caught between faith and hard places? Yes.
Many television preachers, churches and groups will tell you differently, but the truth remains: faith is an anchor of hope for the believer. Jesus spoke of the hard times we would face. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, NIV, emphasis mine).
I don't have all the answers to life's hard questions, and I don't know why His hand brings healing to some and not to others, but I do know that when we take our burdens to Jesus, we can experience peace in each hard place. God is always faithful, whether we are delivered from our hard places or through them.
As Christians, we have faith in a person, God. Faith in and of itself is meaningless, but faith in an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, loving heavenly Father means everything…because - though our problems come and go - He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
I'm not sure what hard places you face today, but God knows exactly where you are and what you're facing. When you find yourself between faith and a hard place, even in the times when you don't know what to pray, turn to the Lord. God hears every cry and loves you deeply. He's placed two Scriptures on my heart to share with you:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
"But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3a
Dear Lord, Thanks for the reminder that I never have to walk through a trial without You. Help me to trust You in everything...even when I don't understand. Today, I bring _____________ to You and ask that You would move powerfully in and through this burden of my heart.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
What verses spoke to your heart? Write them down, speak them out loud, commit them to memory and journal if you like to journal.
More From The Girlfriends
Are you hurting? You aren't alone. Let's pray for one another today. If you want to be encouraged and interact with other GiGs (Girlfriends in God) - visit my Facebook page at: http://www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic. Today will be set aside to intentionally bless one another through sharing Scripture and praying for one another. See you there.
God delights to transform lives…including your own. In her book, Broken Into Beautiful, Gwen Smith invites you to experience how the unconditional love of Jesus can change your life and then stand back and watch the wonder of grace at work. He is willing to eternally forgive and forget and to transform your life into something beautiful.
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