Over the last few weeks, God has placed two lessons on my heart and I’d like to share them with you today.
First - the benefit of trails - Preparation. Battles. Advantages.
God teaches, educates and prepares. But just like a student in school you can sit through an entire class full of challenges and inspiration and miss all of it because of your perspective and refusal to study. What a shame it would be to miss the lesson God is trying to teach us and be unprepared to experience the joy and victory He is preparing for us later.
What purpose would my life serve if opportunities to learn were met with anger and bitterness? How would people see Jesus? Maybe, they wouldn’t.
I believe that if you’re able to learn…to come through with a different perspective, then the battle was not fought in vein and, in fact, you’ve won.
“Today’s attack can become tomorrow’s advantage” - Steven Furtick
(From the sermon I listened to this morning, after writing this blog post because God CONTINUES to speak).
Every circumstance is an opportunity. A few examples that God brought to my attention this week.
I thought my English Minor in college was a useless, waste of time. God used it to prepare me to teach an Advanced English Class.
Teaching this English class is helping me to learn to be comfortable in front of a group of adults. I know that it is preparing me for more. Learning to trust God in these smaller moments so that when I stand in front of larger groups I can remember He was there with the few and will be there with the many.
Losing my mom hurt - and it still does. I battle it almost ever day. However, God has opened doors for me to empathize and minister to many (in the states and here in Haiti), in ways that would not be possible had I not experienced loss. Many Haitians are under the presumption that because I’m white and from the states, I’ve never suffered or hurt. When I tell them of this piece of myself, it brings about a new perspective - a way to relate. It gives me room and opportunity to speak into their lives.
He uses it all. The useless, the hurtful, the joyful, the good, bad, and ugly…to prepare us.
As I was reading my Bible this week, I came across the story of David and Goliath. While reading, the Spirit called my attention to the following passage…
“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he rose against me I caught him by the beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has stuck down both lions and bears, and [Goliath] shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.’ And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’.” 1 Samuel 17: 34-37
David could have ignored the lamb that was lost. He could have run from battle and sat in fear. Yet, David chose to learn. He fought the battle that God placed in front of him and he learned to trust God with a bear and with a lion. This gave him the confidence to trust God when facing a giant.
Just as God prepared David to fight Goliath and to lead a nation through the task of being a shepherd, He is trying to teach us how to make today’s battles into our advantages.
Do I have permission to be raw and brutally honest with you this morning? If not, you can skip this part. I used to tell God to stop putting me through trials because I didn’t want to be prepared for anything greater or harder. What I had been through was enough and God should just stop right there and leave me alone. I was content with mediocre and didn’t see how God could possibly use this pain in my life for any sort of good, much less His glory anyway so why bother. Maybe that’s where you are today. I promise you, whatever you are going through can be used for something greater. Learn from it, fight through it and WIN. In Christ, victory is already yours - if you’re willing to accept it. I’m thankful that I did. After all, it’s lead me here! Nothing has to be, or should be, in vein. GREAT things can come from your circumstances. I pray that this encourages you to move forward today.
Okay I’ll step off my soap box. Moving on…
Secondly - trust. Who and what do we really put our trust in?
So what do you do when the physical ground beneath you moves? When you suddenly cannot trust your foundation? When what you walk on, depend on, build on, live on…betrays you. It’s completely out of your control. You can’t stop it and the physical rock on which you have build your life and have complete and utter faith in…is now the most unstable element.
So often we hear how we cannot put our trust and faith in material things, and how they need to be in God alone. We read the parable about how we should build our house on the rock and not on the sand for on the sand it can be washed away by a single storm. Matthew 27: 24-27.
We take for granite and believe that the very literal rock of the earth can be trusted and is secure. Yet the earth - the ground itself - is material.
The tremor we felt here was minor and I don’t say all this with the intention to make you worry or to scare you. I say it to wake you up, as it did for me. Because in this I realized how I put my trust in the materials of this world.
Our trust, confidence and hope does not belong in status, money, cars, electronics…much less your physical foundation. Today it was stressed within my heart that Jesus has to be my all. Everything that I am and hope for has to solely lie in Him and no one, and nothing else. Something I “knew”, but it became real, and powerful. What a teacher God is, especially in the difficult moments!
This morning, this song Overcome was brought to my attention. The lyrics read…
“We will not be moved when the earth gives way for the Risen One has overcome.”
I’m thankful for a Savior that teaches, educates, prepares, is trustworthy, dependable, present, and has overcome all.
I can’t imagine what the people went through 10 years ago and what it was like, to be taken back to such a time. My heart continues to break for the people of Haiti. They have been through so much, and continue to fight. While the earthquake was north and did not hit my community, all of us felt the waves of movement…the earth giving way. PTSD is real and lives within many. One event can change all you know and can be a thief of peace. I’m thankful to work with an organization of Christians who know that peace and security are found in Jesus. But I ask you again to join me in prayer for the people of this nation as they fight every day for a better life. Pray that they would come to know who Jesus is and that God would be glorified through the many trials of this country.
Thank you for reading. And, as always, thank you for your prayers and support!