Monday, February 02, 2009
I confess that I am easily confused and prone to doubting. The Lord is infinitely patient with this flaw in my character, forgiving me over and over again. What truly overwhelms me is that He not only forgives, He lovingly encourages and teaches - growing my faith.
I believe He gave me a word for this year. Not a prophecy, but rather a literal word to be planted into my heart like a tiny seed. A seed that He would nurture and grow and use to produce fruit of His choosing in my life.
Knowing the nature of my wavering heart, He kindly and gently reinforces what He has told me. I feel such a sense of gratitude at such love. It causes my love for Him and my faith in Him to grow. What a wise and loving Father.
Today I read an article in "Decision" magazine by Joseph M. Stowell. It could very well have been entitled: "To Linda from her Heavenly Father." It is all about hope. I'm going to share a few quotes that were meaningful to me in the hope that it will minister to someone else:
He began the article by saying that trouble comes to all of us. When it does, how will we handle it?
"The right answers are found by asking the right questions. And the right question is not 'Why?' Processing problems in the why zone too often leaves us cynical, hardened, angry and confused. The only right answer to why is 'I don't know why, and if I don't know why, I need to suspend judgement until I do.'"
"Hope beings when we start with the right question; 'Who?' ...It sounds simplistic to say that ultimately God is our only hope. Nevertheless, it is true that help and healing begin and end in all that He is and all that He provides. Our hope and eventual healing begins by looking in His direction."
"The only certain, steady reality when life takes a downward turn is our Father in heaven and the helping work of His Spirit through the guiding principles of His Word. God is full of certainties that provide something solid to hope in."
"When Scripture speaks of hope it literally means to trust in a present and future help that is certain. Our English word lacks this element of certainty. It is little more than a wish, a 'hope so'. Biblical hope is grounded in certainty."
"When we begin with who, we begin with Him. It may only be a determined resolve to look trustingly in His direction, but we must begin with Him. For some, hope in God will conflict with thoughts of the damage He has permitted in our lives. However, if we are willing to open our hearts and minds, we will come to know how His certainties can become realities that bring hope and eventual healing."
"When we begin to believe that He doesn't care, we cross a threshold of vulnerability to the debilitating forces of anger and cynicism that bring us further distress and eventual defeat.
We must turn to the entity over which we exercise exclusive control - our wills. My thoughts, my responses and my decisions are always within my jurisdiction. I can choose to keep looking to Him even when all is quiet in the sky."
"If we choose not to cultivate our hope in Him, where then will we place our hope? Will we hope in the gods of comfort, peace, pleasure and self-fulfillment? Or will we be children of the true and living God, who is indeed our ultimate and final hope?"
"It is an issue of where we look. We can look downward in despair and outward in fear and confusion as we survey our circumstances. Or we can look upward to Him and inward to our choices."
This has been such a long post, and I thank you for your patience with me. I have felt so encouraged just typing the words out. I want this kind of hope to sink deep within my spirit. I don't want my circumstances to put a barrier up between the Lord and me. I want to allow Him to use them to draw me ever closer.