Saturday, October 13, 2012

30 Day Challenge - Day 15

For an explanation of the challenge, please read Day 1.

God is so good!  He even uses mistakes to bless me!

I was all prepared to write about how "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young once again spoke to me what I needed to hear.  I just grabbed my book and Bible and looked at the date, then looked at the date on my computer, then looked back at the book - I read October 15th! God has a reason for everything!  My small group always says that book speaks to us on particular days when we need it.  Jesus realized I needed that date's message today instead!

Here is what spoke to me from "Jesus Calling":  "A few steps away from your true path are pits of self-pity and despair, plateaus of pride and self-will."
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart
While I do not claim the possible diagnosis that the doctor gave yesterday, I have been really discouraged today.  I keep asking dangerous "what if" questions.  That's always a slippery slope that leads to darkness.  Praise God, I had dinner with a friend that offered great encouragement.  She firmly stated, "God did not give us a spirit of fear!" (2 Timothy 1:7)  Then she went on to say, even if my "what ifs" came true, wouldn't it be better to know that I received God's blessing?

Ahhh, she hit a sore spot with that point.  Another friend had directed me to an amazing article called, "Wrestling with God" (click the title to read the article - you will be glad you did!)  In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with God in the flesh just to receive a blessing!  Here's the catch, God "touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with him."  Even still, Jacob didn't let go of God until daybreak.  At that time, he begged for a blessing.  Because he didn't give up - God blessed him!  Then we get to verse 31 and it says that Jacob was limping because of his hip.  Meaning, Jacob received exactly what he asked for - a blessing.  However, God did not heal him.  God humbled Jacob to a state of total dependence on Him.

The article goes on to list other great struggles followed by acts of faith. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son.  Job lost his possessions, children, and health.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were asked to worship idols instead of the Living God.  The Caananite woman mentioned in Matthew 15:22-28 begged Jesus healed her daughter from demons.  These were all huge tests of faith, yet they all persevered.  They did not let go of their faith in God until God blessed them!  They loved God more than themselves, their children, their possessions, their health, and their life. 

Going back to "wouldn't it be better to know that I received God's blessing?"  I have a hard time answering that.  Here is what I'm wrestling with God over - what if I don't get healed and have to deal with this pain or "limp" forever?

An excerpt from the article "Wresting With God":

"When facing problems, temptations, and sufferings it is far better to focus our strength on clinging to God rather than trying to overcome by our own strength. 
  • In order for us to fail and give in to problems, temptations, and sufferings we must first loosen our grip on God and even turn away from Him
  • In order for us to have success God’s way we must cling to Him with all of our strength and perseverance until He commands His blessing upon us."
This hit me hard.  It also reminded me of words a dear friend that gave in to temptation once said, which have stuck with me to this day.  She said that during her entire journey through faith, she was closest to God during her battle against the temptation.

Our journey is all about the struggle.  We must fight for our faith.
Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Satan is going to do his best to try to lure me away from following God.  Especially during trials, pain, and temptation, I must cling to God and call on Him to be my strength.  

I must not let go until I receive the blessing!  

As I fix my gaze on Him and not my circumstances, I realize that "forever" is only temporary.  This world is not my home.  Even if I am in pain the rest of my earthly life, it seems minor compared to the joy that I have for eternity! 

Thank you, Jesus, for changing my heart towards this trial.  I thank you for the pain.  I thank you for the blessing that it requires me to fully depend on you because I can't do this alone.  I ask for strength to complete my work, studying, social activities, and even serving at church.  I will not give up.  I trust you, Jesus.  I ask that you bless me and be with me in all that I do.  May you be glorified in my life, now and going forward.  In the name of Jesus, I ask for complete healing for my back, spine, discs, and ligaments.  Thank you, Jesus for hearing my prayer and loving me! I love you!  (((hugs)))

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