God Is At Work In The Ugly

flowerinrocks

The trouble, the pain, just keeps coming and coming – piling up, suffocating, and consuming every thought. You search for hope in the darkness. You barely remember the time, a long time ago, when you thought if you just followed Jesus life would go well, easy. But that was long ago, and your very-real trouble seems to far out-weigh the blessings.


Others are looking at you and you want to show joy despite your circumstances, but life is just so hard.


What do you do? What do you say? Others are looking at you and you want to show joy despite your circumstances, but life is just so hard. You can’t help but notice those who seem to give Jesus no thought at all living a much easier life than you, and deep-down you secretly wonder if the God-who-sees still cares. “Does He care about me? Does He see what I am going through?”

What then? Are you destined to continually be consumed by the trouble and pain and spiral further downward into a pit of despairing emotions? Can you experience peace in the here and now despite your very real circumstances? Is the overcoming power of the One you trust for eternity really enough for this day, for your pain?

As you choke the tears back once again, there it is. A small, faint word comes from somewhere deep in your soul…“Maybe.” At first that is all you have. “Maybe.” And then truth fills in the blanks and the words become louder and shout at your heart. “Maybe, maybe God you do see. Maybe you are still at work. Maybe you really can bring beauty from these ashes (Isaiah 61:3).” And from that small word, you feel the presence of your Father wrapping His arms around you beckoning you to hold onto Him. That “maybe” is your mustard seed to hope, to trust God more than you trust what you can see and more than you trust yourself. That is keep-on-going faith.


Despite the trouble around you, you hear His still small voice above the often, gut-wrenching noise.


But that keep-on-going faith is a fight isn’t it? As you’ve grown in your walk with God, you know all too well He didn’t promise us an easy life, but instead He said we would have trouble (John 16:33), and you have been having your share. But you also know He is with you. Despite the trouble around you, you hear His still small voice above the often, gut-wrenching noise. The enemy has relentlessly tried to convince you otherwise but he has not won. Nope. You have lived to fight another day, despite your doubt, despite your worry, despite even your sin failures. You continue to hope in the Most High God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), but says, “He is making all things new (Revelation 21:5)” and brings “beauty from ashes.”

Instead of only seeing your troubles and depending on your ability to handle things, you begin to fix your eyes on the Powerful Savior. Once again, you go to Him and say, “I believe.  Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).” Peace and hope begin to flood your soul and the faint “maybe” begins to form a resounding, audible “Yes.” “Yes, God—You can, You are, You will.”

As much as we all wish it could be, this “faith fight” is not a one-time thing for those of us still on this side of Heaven. No, it is almost a daily fight but one we do not face alone. You’ve heard your Savior say it before, and now you hear Him say it again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy  31:8).” Full of unfathomable grace, knowing your doubt and even your anger, He says, “When you are faithless, He is faithful. (2 Tim 2:13)” He is the Mighty One who can and does “bring beauty from ashes.” Long ago, you believed and put your faith in Him as Savior and now you know He is asking you to believe Him-not only for eternity, but for this very day and very thing you are going through. The more you walk with Him, the more you know you desperately need Him for every moment in this life.

I know this fight too. Though some days are easy, the hard ones still come. It is in those moments I have to deliberately remember God’s faithfulness despite the doubts assaulting my mind. Years ago, God gave me the acronym below to help me to remember how to FIGHT in the middle of the pain, in the midst of the problem, when my heart is aching. It helps me turn my eyes on Jesus. It helps me remember I don’t fight alone. I hope it will help you as well:

F       First things first, remain faithful because He is faithful

God is a faithful God keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9 

I        Insulate yourself with praise and truth

As a man thinks so he is.” – Proverbs 23:7

G      Grab hold of your thoughts

Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

H      Hand it over to God – compare your problem to God’s ability to handle it

Nothing is impossible for God.” – Luke 1:37

T       Take one day at a time

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34