Thy Will Be Done

‘”Thy will be done.’ For instance, when you wish, and by every means endeavor, to be well, and yet remaln ill–then say, ‘Thy will be done.’ When you undertake something, and your undertaking does not succeed, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ When you do good to others, and they repay you with evil, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ Or when you would like to sleep, and are overtaken by sleeplessness, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ In general, do not become irritated when anything is not done in accordance with your will, but learn to submit in everything to the Will of the Heavenly Father.”

FATHER JOHN

This was part of my daily devotional reading for today, and it makes me see how attached I am to my own will, and the way I want things to be or to turn out. It’s hard to accept sickness or failure or discomfort. Often I feel like Job, questioning God about why these things are happening to me. As the quote says, I need to learn trust and acceptance. Maybe you do, too.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

YBH?

Years ago, I came across a Christian author (sorry I don’t remember her name), who said she often made the notation “YBH” in the margins of her Bible or other devotional reading.  The initials stand for “yes, but how/”  In other words, I agree with this, but how do I go about accomplishing it in my own life?  That’s a serious question.  We may know all about the Bible and our Christian faith, but if we can’t put it into practice in our lives, that knowledge is fruitless.

The Bible does have some practical words about how we will obtain hope in our lives.  In the book of Romans, Paul says that since we have been justified and reconciled with God through our faith:

“… we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

He then goes on to explain how this hope will develop:

“…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:3-5

We don’t have to go looking for suffering in this life — it will come to us sooner or later.  We will experience illness, turmoil and loss.  However, if we bear with those things by continuing to do God’s will, we will not only gain good character, we will experience renewed hope.  (For more on character see Personality or Character).

True hope is not being an unrealistic Pollyanna — it is trusting in God, who loves us and gives us good gifts even when times are bad.  So when suffering comes, meet it with equanimity and persevere in doing what is right;  hope will come and it will not disappoint you.

For more on the topic of hope see these posts:

Faith vs. Hope

Hopeful Saints

Mere Hope by Jason G. Duesing — Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday’s Coming

Good Friday is over.  The disciples are hiding, fearful.  Will they be arrested next?  And even if they aren’t what’s left for them?  Some of them have been following Jesus for years, and now he’s dead.  Their hopes are dashed.  No doubt they’re depressed, frustrated, maybe even angry.

In hindsight, we know that Sunday’s coming.  Sunday when Jesus will rise again.  Sunday when Jesus will conquer death itself.  Sunday when their experiences will begin to transform them into brave men who are willing to die for their Lord and His church.

Right now, all of us are in a sort of “Good Friday” place. We feel imprisoned in our homes.  We don’t know what’s coming next.  We’re afraid of getting sick, or making others sick.  We’re worried about our finances.  Like the disciples, we may be feeling all kinds of negative emotions.

Take heart, friends, because Sunday’s coming.  God’s promise is:

“… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

We don’t know what that good is, but as Christians we do know we can trust Him. As Job said,

“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” Job 13:15

St. Paul’s trust in God was so complete that he could say:

“I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13

At some point this situation will end.  We’ll get through it one way or another, but only with God will we find true peace, acceptance and hope.  Keep trusting in Him.  Sunday’s coming.

 

 

 

 

Remembering the Wrong Things

Sometimes we remember the wrong things. The same destructive thoughts go round and round in our heads, driving out God’s peace and presence.  This is not God’s will for us.

When we can’t forget our own sins, and think we have done what can never be forgiven, we are forgetting God’s promise to remove those transgressions from us.  We need to remember His grace.

When we can’t forget the wrongs we have suffered in the past, we are forgetting God’s command to forgive others as He has forgiven us.  We need to remember His mercy.

When we can’t forget that thing we wanted so badly and never got, we are forgetting God’s provision.  We need to remember to give thanks to God for all that we have.

When we can’t forget our failures, we are forgetting God’s omnipotence and His plan.  We need to remember we can trust Him.

When we can’t forget our worries and fears, we are forgetting God’s love.  We need to remember to pour out all our concerns in prayer.

What do you need to stop remembering?

What to Change

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Image result for the serenity prayer printable

A Hard Teaching

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances?  Really?  Give thanks when the car breaks down?  When a loved one dies?  When I’m diagnosed with a chronic illness? When I lose my job? Am I really expected to do that?

The answer is yes.  The words of Scripture are plain.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for whatever is happening is God’s will for me.  In the last blog, I talked about our Sunday School lesson, and how God used the bad things in Samson’s life, even his weaknesses, to further God’s plan.  Our lives are no different.  Things that seem bad in the moment are ultimately working to accomplish something good.  Think about that.  What a wonderful hope we have when we trust in God.  We really can rejoice always because the bad word is never the last word.

So the next time I’m faced with a difficult situation, I’m going to pray and turn it over to God.  I’m going to react with hope and trust, instead of fear and dismay.  I’m going to give thanks in advance, for whatever good things God has in store for me and the world.

 

 

Unanswered Prayer

I’m sure there are those of you out there that are reading what we’ve put up so far and are saying to yourselves “But God never answers my prayers!”

Let me tell you a bit of my story.  I spent many years as a caregiver to my husband and before that a “co-caregiver” with my Dad for my mother.  I prayed a lot.  Many of the prayers that I prayed went unanswered in the way that I prayed them.  “Heal my husband”; “Heal my Mom”.  Neither my husband or my mother were healed and both eventually died.

When my mom died, I got mad.  I had prayed and God didn’t answer my prayer.  I moved away from the Lord during that time because of my anger.  It was a very dark time in my life.  Then my husband got sick.

I would pray for healing for my husband, but there was a difference this time.  I had come back to the Lord and I knew I would never get through this time with out Him.  During my prayers other petitions would slip in.  “Give me strength” and “Help me cope”.  Now I have to tell you that those prayers were answered.  I found strength and hope through this prayer life.  I stopped praying for the healing and just raised my husband in prayer, because God knew what was what…  I didn’t need to keep asking for healing.  If God wanted him to be healed, he would be.  If not, then I needed all the strength I could get.    God is God.  I started to trust him with everything.

There is a song by Kutless (yes, I’m the music person on this blog!!) and they say the same thing so much better.  Here are the lyrics and a link to the video:

“Even If”

Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You areEven if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t comeLord we know Your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come

You’re still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You’re working all things for our good
We’ll sing your praise

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come

You are God and we will bless You
As the Good and Faithful One
You are God and we will bless You
Even if the healing doesn’t come
Even if the healing doesn’t come

And for those of you who would rather listen: