Tag : faith
Tag : faith
I have gone back to reading a book I have been working on for awhile. Yes, unfortunately, I am a slow and distracted reader so I have four or five books I keep picking up when I have time to read. Yesterday, I picked up The Strength You Need: The Twelve Great Strength Passages of The Bible by Robert J. Morgan. I’m ashamed to say that I have had the book on my nightstand since 2017 and keep reading a bit and moving on, then back again. However, as I picked up the book yesterday, I realized God was calling me to each section at His perfectly timed moments. He brought me just what I needed for the events happening in my life.
As I reflected on my notes in 2017, I remember reading Chapter 1 on Deuteronomy 33:25, “Your strength will equal your days.” This came just as I had walked through cancer with my dearest friend Elle, as she moved to heaven after succumbing to the disease. The following year (2018) I see notes in Chapter 3, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), as I raced to the airport to fly to my oldest daughter because she was being admitted to the hospital for a collapsed lung. While the reason for our visit was scary, our time together was heartfelt, memorable, and created an unbreakable bond.
The notes from 2019 highlight Chapter 5. “In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). Those was the encouragement as I woefully dropped off my youngest to her first day of college and accompanied my mother to her cancer treatments.
God had perfectly timed each reading. Now, I did say I was a slow reader, but I have read a lot of other things in between. However, it is June of 2020 and I am just now picking up this book again. And wouldn’t you know it—another divine appointed reading. Chapter 8 is about the book of Habakkuk, specifically Habakkuk 3:19 which says, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” Morgan shared in his book how Habakkuk bemoaned to God wondering why His people were behaving so poorly and when it would all end. God replied that He had better get used to the horrible behavior because He wasn’t going to do anything to change it and, in fact, would be sending in a nation to take them captive! Habakkuk cried out again asking how could God let the worst of the worst come and to allow His people to be taken captive? He explained to God we are bad, but the enemy armies invading are worse! Regardless, Habakkuk said he would stay at his post.
God explained that by faith His people will be saved. They need to have trust that His plans are far greater than they could understand, and that evil will be judged. Habakkuk rejoices in the knowledge that God’s plan is divine and filled with love for His people. He then says that He will strengthen those who have faith and will give them feet as deer to handle the rough terrain until we reach our heights. He then writes a song of rejoicing!
God didn’t take the hard time away —He just promised to be there with Habakkuk (and us) during the hard times. In fact the hard times may get worse, but God had divine plans for each and every one of us; but most importantly, God wants us to trust Him and rely on Him, even when we don’t understand why times are so difficult.
Trust the Lord to help us maneuver through this trying time in history. Trust in the Lord to guide us and show us how we share His love within our families and communities.
We want to invite you to our next POP Chat, this Wednesday night from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Our guest worship leader will be Teresa Hammering and Lisa Burkhardt Worley will be teaching about “How to Have Unity.” We will also have a conversation about the subject so you don’t want to miss out! Here’s the link to register: https://share.hsforms.com/15bHBupdrTBugXxD9Y8Q_MQ3jo4z?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=89304151&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8r8FWa_kFZcONxlsE2ffQ7UwrWi80D9kV7cShhbPCtoJU6G_84OxxMXOdyqUVM3SpAmUUVJ1uYGLCH76typbi-yn-wIA&utm_content=89304151&utm_source=hs_email
I have always liked the catchphrase from Forrest Gump. “Momma says, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Well our curtain global situation, as well as our national issues, is a chocolate that has been especially bitter. We never know what really is going to happen in life. I’d like to think that we have some kind of control. We plan our days; we plan our hours; we plan our lives. Yet anything can change those plans. During this time people have used the word “uncertainty.” We’re in a time of uncertainty, but I just read an article from Dr. Lenard Sax and he explained it’s always been an uncertain time.
What we don’t like is the interruption to our planned life. Sax went on to share research from Kenneth Pargament, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University, about how to deal with uncertainty. Pargament distinguished between “positive” and “negative” religious coping. He and his colleagues found that positive coping was associated with a significant boost in spiritual outcomes and stress-related growth. Examples of positive coping included seeking comfort through assurances of God’s love and care; trying to give spiritual support to others; doing what we can, and putting the rest in God’s hands; and confessing our sins. Negative coping was associated with a significant decline in outcomes. Examples of negative coping included wondering what I did for God to punish me; trying to deal with my feelings without God’s help; thinking that some things are beyond God’s control; and questioning God’s love for us.
Sax followed up by explaining that, “Pargament’s research is helpful to me. I reflect on the positive coping strategies and I try to engage them. I consider the negative coping strategies and I try to avoid them. Most important, I have come to recognize that my own desire for certainty is a temptation. As with any other temptation, I ask for God’s grace. Then I return to my work, to the task at hand, and to my family.”
I pray as you read this you are struck by how uncertain life has always been. Then ask yourselves, how are you going to handle the current situation you’re in today? I am going to follow Forrest Gump’s example and just keep running…to God that is.