Have you ever been so distraught by life’s circumstances you thought the anguish might actually sweep you away in a tidal wave of grief? The situation is out of your hands; there is nothing you can do to change the direction of the path you are on.
However, you are aware that we serve a mighty God. You stretch your hands to heaven and pour out your sorrows to your Heavenly Father as the tears flood your pillow. You pray for days, months, even years for God to bring a warm southern wind to change the direction of your sails to leave this cold winter season. After what seems like endless conversations with the Almighty; you hear a very clear answer: “No.”
I’ve been there. I begged and pleaded with God to save my first marriage. I knew God hated divorce; I did (and still do) too. It was coming at me like a freight train, and I didn’t have the power to change it. Through it all - the betrayal, the pain, the heartache, the fear, the lawyers, the children, the moving truck, the click of a door closing and an ex-husband on the other side - I prayed for the Lord to restore this marriage. His answer: no.
God says “no” sometimes just like every loving father does. Here are some things to remember when God chooses to say “no.”
Remember His Goodness
Difficult circumstances have a way of turning our eyes from heaven to what’s going on around us here in the world. When we become self-absorbed in our pain, we tend to lose focus on the goodness of God.
Jesus tells us in Mark 10:18 “… No one is good—except God alone.” God, in and of Himself, is goodness. Let this blow your mind: goodness exists because God created it. It's not in His DNA it is His DNA. Remembering His goodness allows us the freedom to place our trust in His ever-capable hands because we know His ways are good, even though our situation is bad.
Remember His Authority
Psalms 115:3: “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.”
God is God and we are not. He created the universe and everything in it, we didn’t. Can you imagine the sheer chaos life would be if people were in complete control of their own destinies? Craziness. In reality, there are parts of our lives that are out of our control: sickness, death, the weather, a hungry 2-year-old… all we can do it control our responses to what’s going on around us, and remember He’s got us. He sees us in our pain, but He also sees us as victorious over our situations.
Remember His Promises
We are not alone when we walk through our trials. God is with us every step of the way. The Bible is packed full of the Lord’s encouraging words. Here are some promises to keep close to your heart when you feel overwhelmed and abandoned:
- “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.” (Isaiah 43:2)
- “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:14)
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Remember The Purpose
Trials are not punishments (although many times they feel that way), but seasons of growth. This is the opportunity where our struggles become the very thing that glorifies the Lord. 1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
When we remember there is purpose in our trials, the growing pains ache a little sweeter. Just like most rare and breathtaking diamonds are made with years of extreme pressure, you, my friend, are worth more than a million diamonds.
Written by Shannon DeGarmo; speaker; author of The Bounce Back Woman; Featured Contributor of Keep the Faith radio; Contributor of LifeWay’s HomeLife Magazine. Check out Shannon’s website (www.shannondegarmo.com) and visit her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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