Last night, I read an encouraging blog that a friend shared on her wall. It talked about how easy it is to praise God when all is well in your life, and how we question if God is even there when we are suffering. Then it went on about how God is always there with us no matter our circumstances; that fear should not be our response but faith in His love for us.
I totally agree with the writer of the blog; but it did get me into a train of thought about what if suffering isn’t actually a praise killer but a trigger.
I started to reminisce the past 11 years of my walk with the Lord, and what I saw is how trouble, discomfort, and adversity brought me closer to Jesus. During periods in my life of great anguish and extreme feelings of loneliness, I spent much time with Him and seeking His heart. I invested more of me in praising Him and glorifying Him. In fact, I was thinking more of Jesus in those moments of difficulty than at any other points in my life.
Somehow, hardship has become a gateway for me into knowing more of God and experiencing Him more in my life instead of blessings.
Blessings are good, and I would be a hypocrite if I say I do not want them. Yet I think it is harder for many of us to maintain an intimate and a closer relationship with Jesus when everything around us is well.
Maybe praising Him and calling upon Him when all is well might actually be harder than when everything is falling apart.
Contemplating on this made me realize how hard it must be for some who are unfamiliar with unbearable burdens, excruciating pain and suffering to ever need a Savior, to ever need Jesus. And they are out there in the world, unaware of what it means to need the help and grace of God.
As we continue on with our lives, afflictions are inevitable. And yes, God is with us no matter what. He will help us, strengthen us and uphold us. We can stand on His promises whether in good times or in bad.
But the real question is, are we with God?
In Psalm 73:23 Asaph said, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”
Can you say the same of your relationship with God? Are you with Him? Even when life happens and the tides come in and crush you with its power or when life is good and you are at the top of the mountain. No matter what, you are with God.
This morning I woke up still thinking about hardship as a prompt of praise and of fixing our eyes on Jesus, not a hindrance. When I met with Jesus, prayed to Him, and opened my devotional for the day, this is what I read…
“The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (entry for January 22)
What a timely reminder to a forgetful soul!
I pray to God that He be not with me only, but I be with Him too. Always!
And may the troubles of this life cause me to grow stronger in Him and to love Him even more.
January 22, 2014