I confess. I've done it. More than once I've done it. I believed. I believed with all of my heart that God would spare me of a painful situation. I was sure things would be as I envisioned, as I believed. The problem was, I believed the wrong promise.
Why is it that as Christians, as humans, we seem to think tough things shouldn't come our way? Why do we think we should be protected, shielded, untouched? Where did this belief come from? How is it that we latch on to this as the promise to cling to?
There are many verses that lead us to see otherwise. "In this world you will have troubles" (John 16:33). "When you pass through the waters... When you pass through the rivers... When you walk through the fire" (Isaiah 43:2). "We are hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
I don't notice a maybe, perhaps, if, or possibly in these verses. No, instead, I see words like will, are and when. I've had it wrong so many times. I've wanted the promise to be that "it" would not, could not, happen. I was believing the wrong promise.
But even if the dreaded "it" happens, we have promises we can rely on. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17)
In his book It's Not About Me, Max Lucado says the following of Paul's words to the Corinthians:
The words 'weight of glory' conjure up images of the ancient pan scale. Remember, two pans, one on either side of the needle. The weight of a purchase would be determined by placing weights on one side and the purchase on the other.
God does the same with your struggles. On one side he stacks all your burdens. Stack them up, and watch one side of the pan scale plummet.
Now witness God's response. Does he remove them? Eliminate the burdens? No, rather than take them, he offsets them. He places an eternal weight of glory on the other side. Endless joy. Measureless peace. An eternity of him. Watch what happens as he sets eternity on your scale.
Everything changes! The burdens lift. The heavy becomes light when weighed against eternity.
If you look back at each of those verses, he offsets each of those situations with Himself. "You will have peace. Take heart! I have overcome the world"(John 16:33). "I will be with you. The rivers will not sweep over you. You will not be burned" (Isaiah 43:2). "We are not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). These are just a sampling of the promises found throughout Scripture.
We are not promised a life of ease and comfort. We are not promised escape, rescue, tearless, pain-free living. We are guaranteed quite the opposite. BUT, we are promised, beyond the shadow of a doubt, God's presence, peace, joy... His very self through it all. We are promised the heavy will become light when weighed against eternity.
So often I find myself believing the wrong promise. But as Natalie Grant stated so well in her song Held: "The promise was... when everything fell... we'd be held".
That is the promise. It is one worth clinging to. That is the promise to clasp for dear life. The promise that when everything feels as if it is crashing around you, that you will not survive, that it so very dark and more than you can take... you will be held. Held in the very palm of the Heavenly Father's hand. Now that is a promise worth believing!
Friend, what promise are you believing today? Are you believing the wrong promise? Or are you believing, in the midst of it all, that you are being Held? Are you believing that regardless of what is yet to come, you will be Held?
Donnetta Cole has learned that if life's "mountain" doesn't move, then God helps us to climb it. She is a wife, mother of 2 and works part time as a registered nurse. She also serves in various ministries of her church from working with the youth, ministering to young moms, leading the music and being a girl's soccer coach for the Upward Soccer league through the church. Sharing Christ through friendship and relationships is a highlight for her. You can visit Donnetta's blog, "My Quiet Corner," at www.momrn2.blogspot.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.