“You are good and what you do is good…” – Psalm 119:68
“This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” – Psalm 118:23
“Many oh Lord my God are the wonders you have done…” – Psalm 40:5
“My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, O LORD ?” – Psalm 35:10
I’m swimming, floating and smiling in an ocean of God’s grace. The good hand of providence could not be more clear and amazing to me than at this moment. The events of the last few days are a sudden and unexpected reminder that our God is alive, well and reigning supreme in the affairs of men. He’s not only Lord most high, but the Lord who looks upon the lowly (Psalm 138:6). Some things I’ve learned and been reminded of in the last few days are listed below. I hope they will encourage you.
Don’t give up!
This is really the heading for all the rest, but if you are struggling, you have failed or you feel like others have failed you; if there is strain in your relationships with others. Whatever the issue(s) – Don’t give up! Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop hearing, thinking about and speaking the truth. Don’t stop being eager to reach out, be gracious, forgiving, repentant, humble and giving to those you’ve had a falling out with. Don’t give up. God is good and him timing is perfect. He can do more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Watch what you say – When times are tough, issues arise, failures are in your face and you’re feeling down – temptations are high to start lowering the guard on your tongue and say things you know aren’t beneficial. Sometimes they aren’t even true. The hurt, either from your own sins or the sins of others, opens the door to be tempted to say things you shouldn’t. If any man can keep his tongue fully in check, he’s a perfect man, says James (James 3). Be on guard and be slow to speak. Ask those around you to help keep you accountable so you don’t say things that are untrue or driven by suspicion. You’ll regret those words one day if God turns things around.
Stay in the Bible – Let’s face it: lies are everywhere. Our head is filled with evil thoughts, the world pumps lies at us using every medium available and we have one called “the accuser, the father of lies” who constantly whispers and suggests that we believe a warped and twisted version of what is true. If we aren’t reading, thinking about, hearing and studying the truth, it’s sure going to be hard to do any deflection work against all of these lies. The Bible is truth. It’s not just true, it’s the standard of all truth. It’s living and active, sharp as a double-edged sword and cuts through lies, tells us the truth about God, about ourselves, about others. We have been given everything for life and godliness – let’s read it. It’s our ammunition as we wade through the rice patties and deserts of the spiritual battlefield fighting against deception, temptation and sin.
Be around other believers – I cannot count the number of times that my brothers and sisters in Christ have shared a struggle or victory with me that hasn’t either immediately encouraged me or prepared me for a future trial I had not yet entered. We desperately need each other. We need to speak truth to others, we need others to speak truth to us. We are saved from the wrath to come and into a community of others saved from the wrath to come. There is no such thing as a Christian Lone Ranger. Even Noah was not alone in the ark. God, completely able to save him alone, was gracious to give him others during the rescue.
I hope God’s recent and amazing work in my life will encourage you to not lose hope. He makes all things new. He delights to repair and restore. He loves when people dwell together in unity, resolve differences and choose love over avoidance and irritation.
Now, if I could only learn to stop causing problems, things would be so much better. I’m thankful He is so patient with me and others. Overwhelming patience and grace, indeed.