I tend to be an optimist, until difficulty, discouragement, or grief strike.
When struggles strike hard, it’s too easy for me to assume wrongly, as I did a couple of weeks ago with the “odd” scene before me on the beach. Grief, disappointment, or discouragement bombard, and I view God, as I did the knee bent teen resting on her mamma, with distrust. God must not care. This has gone on so long, it’s obvious he isn’t going to deal “rightly” with this situation. He doesn’t care how hard this is for me. He must be too busy.
Even if these aren’t my conscious thoughts, they’re certainly how I react.
Yet, the Bible says otherwise.
God cares deeply. So much so, he enacted desperate measures, at great cost to himself, on our behalf. His willingness to leave perfection and suffer for us effects us even now, in this current struggle.
The servant [Jesus] grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him. Isaiah 53:5-6 (MSG)
For those who choose to follow Jesus, his Spirit is already at work within our struggle, for our good – this very moment. We don’t need to wait until tomorrow to trust he’s working.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)
He is acquainted with every difficulty we face, because he willingly chose to share in our experiences (without sinning), so he could compassionately rescue and care for us in this present difficulty.
14-15 Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.
16-18 It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed. Hebrews 2:14-18 (MSG)
God is never too busy to hear our urgent requests, when we cry out to him for help rather than turning to our own strength and abilities.
Lord, hear my prayer!
Listen to my plea!
2 Don’t turn away from me
in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
and answer me quickly when I call to you.
3 For my days disappear like smoke,
and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
4 My heart is sick, withered like grass,
and I have lost my appetite.
5 Because of my groaning,
I am reduced to skin and bones.
6 I am like an owl in the desert,
like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7 I lie awake,
lonely as a solitary bird on the roof….
17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
He will not reject their pleas.
18 Let this be recorded for future generations,
so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.
19 Tell them the Lord looked down
from his heavenly sanctuary.
He looked down to earth from heaven
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to release those condemned to die. Psalm 102:1-7,17-20 (NLT)
Lord, all too often when experiencing difficulty, disappointment, or grief I wrongly assume you’re Not for me. Not big enough. Not with me. Resulting in seeing neither you nor the situation clearly. Forgive me. Help me more clearly see… Your intentions. Your powerfully extravagant love. Your heart toward me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Later this week (truly) I will continue with this new series looking at how we can find strength and courage “In the Struggle”. I intended to run this with last week’s post, and was unable to, due to time constraints. I’m sorry. Forgive me, please. Thank you. 🙂
With love and prayers,
p.s. If you currently struggle, I would very gladly pray. Share, confidentially, below.