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We begin each day without the thought of any problems we might encounter. Even when troubles hit, we quickly resolve them and move on. That is what life is all about. There will be ups and downs as well as exciting, unanticipated moments.
But there comes a time when those problems aren’t so easily resolved, and we struggle to find a way to handle the upset.
Believers typically send up a prayer asking God to help. Then we keep going. At first, we may not even recognize God’s answer to our prayer. Sometimes it isn’t until much later that we realize how He has intervened.
Sometimes we don’t believe God has answered us at all. How do you know God will answer?
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Throughout history, we are told stories of individuals who have dealt with enormous obstacles. I shared some of those stories in my posts, Lessons We Learn from the People of the Bible and Expand Your View.
Because we often do not give credit to God for His help and strength, I wanted to share a few more stories of how God has intervened, helped, and rescued His people.
Encounters with God
When Elijah fled Queen Jezebel, running for his life into the desert, he was so exhausted he wanted to die. But God supplied food for him. Elijah retreated further into the mountains where he struggled with his inner fears, doubts, and insecurities, wondering whether it was all worth the struggle.
God met him there in the midst of his exhaustion and questioning spirit. It was there that Elijah found God – in the still, quiet voice that spoke to his spirit.
It was in his affliction of a skin disease that Naaman, the mighty, esteemed, and proud general of the King of Aram, discovered humility and God. In order to be healed, he had to wash himself seven times in the muddy, dirty water of the river Jordan.
In that inner struggle, Naaman had to put life into a clearer perspective. All his wealth, possessions and battle trophies could not buy him the restoration of his health. And he was forced to consider which was more important: his pride or his physical health. He found more than healed skin from the prophet Elisha’s directions – he discovered the God of Israel.
It was in the indescribable pain and ongoing adversity in his life that Job discovered lessons from suffering. Job had led an honest, good, and faithful life following the principles of God. But when he was hit with one adversity after another, he became angry and confused. He protested loudly to God. He lost his home, his wife, and his family. His friends were more accusatory than supportive.
But it was in this adversity where Job discovered the character of God. As Eugene Peterson writes in his Introduction to Job in The Message:
“At first Job rages in pain and roars out his protests, but then he becomes silent in awestruck faith before God, who speaks from out of a storm – a “whirlwind” of Deity. Real faith cannot be reduced to spiritual bromides and merchandise in success stories. It is refined in the fires and storms of pain.”
Joseph, Paul, and Peter
It was in his affliction that the Apostle Paul learned he needed to rely on the strength of God. It was in prison cells where Joseph of the Old Testament and Apostles Peter and Paul of the New Testament became examples to their guards of what it means to live in acceptance and in God’s love and peace.
It was in the adversity of Nazi Germany that Bonhoeffer, the brilliant theologian, struggled with remaining safe abroad or returning to be with his people. He chose to return and just before the war ended, was arrested, and shot by the Nazis.
But in those weeks within the prison walls, Bonhoeffer, like Joseph and Peter, and Paul, exuded peace and love and left an indelible imprint on the lives of his jailers.
Comfort in the midst of adversity
The Bible is full of stories of the lives of people who experienced tragedies and struggled in their adversities. In today’s world, we have the stories of many people who found purpose and meaning within harsh conditions. It is where they heard God calling – whispering to their inner spirit, “You can make it – I am with you.”
- It is in adversity where we find loyal friends who stand by us, where God sends that person with a comforting touch or that word in scripture that literally jumps out from the page to gives us hope and encouragement.
- It is in adversity where we find strength to persevere, become more flexible, and discover humility and patience.
- It is in adversity where we discover love and understanding and grace and where we learn how to become better parents, more understanding spouses, and compassionate people.
- It is in adversity where we learn more about ourselves, our abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. And where we find God waiting for us, to comfort, encourage and give us hope.
If you are struggling right now, reach out to God and discover His comforting arms.
Start your day with God.
If you’re not sure how to begin, start by picking up a contemporary version of the Bible and begin reading the Psalms. Pay attention to how freely the psalmist talks to God. He doesn’t hold anything back… he tells God when he is depressed, angry, or feeling on top of the world. He thanks God for how he is feeling.
Start your conversation by thanking God for your life. Continue by thanking Him for forgiveness, grace, and hope.
Every day, blessings are showered on us, like silent snowflakes tumbling from the sky, shimmering and glittering like tiny diamonds in the winter sun. I have been touched by the quiet serenity of an earth blanketed in mounds and mounds of downy snow when even nature holds its breath and is silenced by its beauty.
We find God waiting for us when we choose to look for Him: in the breath of spring, the blooming of trees and flowers springing out of the still, cold earth.
We find Him in the vast expanse of His world and the universe, the changing seasons, and the ebb and tide of life.
We find Him everywhere in life and in death. His grace touches the wounded heart, the bruised spirit, and our tired and exhausted engagement with life’s trials.
When I allow my mind to become quiet and remain still long enough, I not only see the beauty of our world and universe but experience God on a deep, penetrating, healing level.
How often we miss these timeless acts of God that occur every day. The mystery of life is constantly unfolding around us.
I am humbled by the power of God as I witness storms that lash out with gale-force winds. Perhaps you are as well. But do we ever consider storms’ blessings?
It is through storms that the earth is swept clean.
If we stop to observe the awesome power and majesty of God in nature, is it not just one step further to recognize that same awesome power of God in our lives?
And aren’t the storms of our lives sweeping our lives clean and bringing about needed change? Isn’t that a part of the personal blessings He showers on us? Often we are so sidetracked by the storm that we don’t see the blessings that follow.