Trials of all sorts are inevitable. If you are not in one or just stepped out of one recently, one is just ahead. They hurt. They try you. They rip you to shreds. They make you feel low and vulnerable and humble (hopefully) and insignificant in the scheme of things. Why do we have to endure these things? Because we can get a little prideful, a little haughty, a little too big for our britches. And God is our Father in Heaven. An excellent, perfect father as He is to us does not let his whiny snot-nosed brats (like we are sometimes as adults) just get whatever we want and watch us brag about it and want more. No, a perfect father does not let his kid get away with murder or evil things or just continue along a monotonous path we feel comfortable with forever. Why not leave us alone? Because He is alive and we are too and a good father as He is wants the best for us. He wants us to stretch our limits and see what amazing gifts He gave us to use and enjoy. He wants us to grow our characters and become more like Him, more perfect each day, more willing to serve and help and show love. He wants us to be good. So, He disciplines sometimes and tests other times and both feel like the same thing- a painful trial. Trials, if you have ever endured them, suck. They tear you up. They make you feel really really stupid. So don’t expect a fun road, but the absolute best thing anyone can ever do to get through a trial faster is this. My secret. Here it is. Give Up. Immediately, once you recognize the trial, fall down flat on your face and give up control to God, humbly admit that He is God and you are not and let it go to Him. More may be required, like some degree of effort to accomplish a task, but often God takes care of the rest when you humble yourself and ask Him to. Learn the lesson. Find the correction or lesson quickly and it will be over quickly. Be proud and haughty and find your own way out and you may have to go through the same or different versions of the same trial over and over and over, you get the point. The beauty of God as Father is not only that He wants us to grow and stretch and improve, but He also is filled with love and adoration for us. So He gives us this monster to tackle, but when we ask Him for help, He tackles it with us/for us/through us. Amazing. So, if facing a trial or just did or will do, please remember my secret and use it. It is free. It might save you a heck of a lot of pain. God bless you!! 🙂
Any problem can be put into its proper perspective if you say “This is smaller than God”. This works because it is truth. Everything is smaller than God. You, me, problems, disappointments, discouragements, darkness, death, Satan, enemies, hatred, every single thing you can imagine or call up, God is bigger. This is a great faith building exercise. Write it on notes everywhere. Text yourself. Text a friend. “This is smaller than God”. Or you can take the bigger half, and say the same thing like this “God is bigger than this.” Of course, for this to work, not only do you have to know God is bigger and problems are all smaller, you need to also bear in mind that God loves you so much!! So, He is bigger but also has your back. Whoa. Big story. So there it is, short, sweet and to the point, in the face of any problem, “This is smaller than God.” Once we know that mixed with His great love for us, anything that hits us is temporary and doable because God supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory (and He owns everything). All He needs from us to accomplish this provision for us is the faith of a humble heart. We muster that faith and it unleashes God’s willingness to fix it. We have to give Him the reins. “This is smaller than God.” And God loves me.
I love boxing. I love to watch, love to fight. I fight inside myself too. I seem born to fight. Unsure if from heredity (my Daddy was a boxing instructor in the Marines) or nostalgia (watching matches with him as a kid) or just the overwhelming drive and energy built into me, I really enjoy the fight. I don’t like losing though. Really really don’t like losing. So I have a way to win every fight inside me. This works. To win every fight within your soul, on do two simple things. The first is lay down and give up. The second is to give the fight away to God. He can win against everything. I didn’t say it was exciting. Refusing to fight IS actually an action, though, in this case. We bow out of the fight against the roaring flood of our pride. Our pride says we can beat this. We can win. And I always did before. But. Eventually we will come against a fight we cannot win, too big an opponent. And God will not fight for us if our enormous egos are blocking His way. So when faced with a small battle inside, start practicing your new line of defense: your double play: surrender the fight and give it to God to fight. He can not lose to anyone or anything.
Many many times in this world, utilizing the eyeballs in our heads, we do not see rewards for good deeds done. Sometimes, more often now than before in our upside down world where wrong is celebrated and right is belittled we are ridiculed or accosted for good deeds. Often, there is a wonder at why we should bother doing good deeds when they are ignored, unappreciated, punished. I wondered that today once. Why bother? No one cares either way. No one even notices. My employer of old used to say that appreciation only exists until the customer steps outside so don’t do any favors. I completely ignored his cynicism and continued to help when I could. Why? Why bother? The easy answer is because I follow the teachings of Christ Jesus. The Bible tells me to do good deeds. Why? To be applauded and appreciated by man? Nope. We do good deeds because we are told to for the sake of God’s kingdom which is greater than any one of us. We work for God. He is the One we are serving and obeying. And guess what. He has promised an eternity of rewards for those unappreciated and persecuted good deeds done here on this earth. I would much rather have an eternity (which is a very very long time) with peace and reward from the Creator than years of praise from other created beings. If you look at it that way, with an eternal perspective, it becomes much much easier to do the right thing in life.
Watching the best and strongest man I have ever known slowly shrivel up is the most difficult thing I have gone through because I love him and know him. To also have someone in your life not care about your pain in helping care for this great man and criticize and complain rather than be honored by the service increases the difficulty. To add pests in the house, trust issues in other arenas, responsibilities of work, teaching and raising children, leading a band, playing piano at church, being a friend to other hurting people and narcissism of seemingly everyone around us adds to chaotic turbulence of life. Am I complaining? No. And let me tell you why. It is my firm belief that I am honored to be in such a position and still be at peace and joy internally, so much so that I can do all these things at once. Where is this peace from? How did I obtain it? Sounds simple, but it was from God. The Holy Spirit in me renews my peace and joy no matter what threatens to undo it. I asked Him too and humbly put down my own control over the situations. I decided rightfully long ago that if I used my own strength, even though I am a strong person, eventually my strength buckles. There is only so much a human can take. We have limitations, though amazingly made. So, understanding this, God allowed me to see that He was the only One big enough to handle any and every complexity and attack that could ever come my way now and forever. So, I pray. God changes things while I do what I can and be as humble as possible. My goal each day is to remember that my being and significance and any good in me is only because God wanted it that way. He loves me because He wants to. There is my strength. My greatest strengths in letting go. The last of worship in life is letting go of one’s agenda (not dreams- that is from Him) and attempting to be a conduit of Him, giving Him His rightful place and serving where given the opportunity to serve. The peace and joy flow freely as a blessing and reward from God in response to our humble obedience and worship. And rightfully so. God is a peaceful, joyous God. He loves me. He loves you. Always has.
“’People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you.'”- Matthew 5:11 – 12
“So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us. He did not spare his own Son but gave him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because God is the One who makes them right. Who can say God’s people are guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from the dead, and now he is on God’s right side, appealing to God for us. Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings or hunger or nakedness or danger or violent death? As it is written in the Scriptures: But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us. Yes, I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:31-39