DEVOTIONAL: Oh Yes! God Cares! | Pr. Titus Kuruvilla
There often comes a point in your life when you feel you have hit rock bottom; but as I always like to point out, God will often let us hit rock bottom so that we will discover that He is the Rock at the bottom. Hopelessness is often born out of difficulties, discouragements, and defeats. While these things are painful, there are seasons when the Lord uses our suffering to grow and strengthen us. These are the times when He sees fit to strip us of our self-sufficiency.
We shouldn’t run from difficulties or try to cope our way out of the lessons to be learned. It is not pleasant, and it is not happy, I understand. But it will produce in you a better life than you ever imagined if you let it and don’t resist the growth. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:3). Those who are spiritually broken will be blessed because they will see God in a way, unlike most others. They will experience His reality and presence flowing through their lives in a uniquely personal manner.
Scripture promises that God remains close to those who are broken, and He makes them stronger than before. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Isaiah 61:3 teaches that God would give those who mourn and are broken “a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So, they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
We’ve all seen restored furniture. Restoring furniture involves stripping away old varnish or paint with strong chemicals. This reveals all the nooks, crannies, and original spots on the piece of furniture. The sanding takes place next where the wood is rubbed with coarse sandpaper to level out its imperfections. Then the furniture is ready to receive a new stain or paint colour – it’s ready for a new look. New glory can be given to old furniture. And God can do the same thing with you. He can put new glory inside your old life, but He must first strip away the blemishes while also sanding away the strongholds to bring you to a place of purity and dependence on Him.
The Lord longs to bless and restore you, but He also wants to transform you in the process. Sometimes the greatest path to healing involves embracing the hurt while understanding God is after your greater good. Just like an athlete experiencing pain in taking him or her to the next level of strength, God often uses the painful times in our lives to make us stronger. Today I want you to thank Him for what He is doing and can do through the trials you face. I’m not asking you to thank Him for the trials as that may be too hard to do right now, but I would like you to thank Him for the good He is producing through them.
Have you ever felt blown about or battered in the middle of doing exactly what you believe God told you to do? I know I have. I wish I could tell you that following Jesus means you will never have to face any storms. I wish I could tell you that it means the waters of this life will always be calm. But I can’t because the Bible says otherwise. The Bible is full of stories about people who faced hard times while doing exactly what God wanted them to do.
The disciples are one example. The Israelites are another example. When the Israelites reached the Red Sea, Pharoah, and his army were behind them. The water stretched for miles in front of them. There was nowhere to go even though they had gone exactly where God had sent them.
They discovered, as many of us have discovered, that you can be both in the center of God’s will and still stuck in what appears to be a hopeless situation. That being so, I never want you to confuse trials or hopelessness with an absence of God, or His plans. He has a purpose for the storms He allows in our lives.
There is a lot of preaching today as well as many Christian books that tell you that if you follow Jesus, you will never have to face any challenges in life. But that wasn’t true for Jesus, or anyone else who followed Him. This is because God sometimes allows trials into our lives to reveal Himself to us in a way that we would not have known Him otherwise. But whether or not we benefit from these trials or they defeat us depends largely on how we view them and how we respond to God in the middle of them.
Being in a trial is never fun. But you don’t have to go through it alone. The downfall in the economy may have put pressure on your financial life. Maybe you’ve lost your job due to no fault of your own. Or maybe these pressures have increased the strain at home in your family and you are facing a storm in your marriage or with your kids.
Wherever your storm may be, you are not alone. Jesus is with you and He will see you through. Listen for His voice. Look for Him. Remember, if life ever makes you feel like you are drowning, your lifeguard walks on water.