“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.”
Psalms 145:18-21 NKJV
This whole week has been one where I have found myself reflecting on the many trials I have had, and the constant presence of the Lord through it all. My weekly prayer lists are a constant reminder of the struggles of life, on a planet groaning and and weighed down by corruption. There are so many suffering, so much sickness, and so many people living on the razors edge, balancing between survival and catastrophe.
I pray with empathy, as I am one of those dwelling on the sharpness, balanced precariously, with razor thin margin cutting into me. If not for Jesus, I would be one with no hope, no option, one truly pitiful.
But my God is able.
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.”
Psalms 34:4-6 NKJV
One thing that I pray for those in the throes of suffering and filled with doubt, is that they come to know the faithfulness of God, of His endless love. I believe that the Lord has given me a life to serve as an an example. Much like I wrote yesterday, He has made me a spectacle. In my grief, He has seen fit to supplant it with the most profound joy, as His glory sweeps away the pain.
If I were given the choice between health, wealth and prosperity and His presence in my pain, I would choose the latter. In it, I have fellowship with Him, renewed daily. I am not encumbered by my own ability or my own past glory, all of that has been stripped away, but I see only Him. I understand what Paul meant when he wrote in Philippians three:
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:8-11 NKJV
Paul had seen all that he had accomplished fade against the backdrop of Christ’s glory, and found something far better in his deep intimacy with his Savior. Pain and sickness is a clarifier, as I have learned what is truly important to me, and those things that have faded in value, drift away.
Brothers and sisters, remember that God is there. Be mindful that you can call out to Him, and He will hear you. Even if you are in the darkest hole, He is there, in the most grievous trial, He is present and walking with you through it.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalms 139:7-10 NKJV
This confidence that I have in God is not brought by some religious faith, but by the conversion of my soul. I have learned that very few people who profess to be Christians are actually “born again”, and indeed there are whole denominations that don’t even teach and preach of the need.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.””
John 3:3 NKJV
So many go into life not knowing the Lord, having had a religious experience. When bad things happen, they doubt God and fall away. In reality, they never knew the Lord, or His power manifested in them through the Holy Spirit. The follower of Jesus, must abide in the Lord, as grapes on the vine. It is only by natural being synched with the supernatural, that we can endure the tests and temptations of this evil world.
Our pride stands in the way. Self is often the obstacle that keeps us from surrendering and trusting. We think we can do it ourselves.
Let us call out to Him in truth, in complete surrender, knowing that we are sinners with no strength of our own. May we all be born again, made new.
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
Ezekiel 36:25-27 NKJV
Trouble is coming, my people, that is assured. Let us be focused on Jesus, leaning on Him for our solutions, seeking Him daily in His word, praying for each other, and worshipping with all our hearts. We will quickly know that the the joy of the Lord exceeds whatever the evil one can bring.
Happy Friday! Sunday’s coming!