Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Day Challenge - Day 36

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

For an explanation of why I'm on Day 36 of a 30 Day Challenge, please read Day 11.

Today has been difficult.  There is no particular reason, yet there are a million reasons.  For the first time in a long time, I feel that God is distant.  I've had several weeks where God was literally answering prayers immediately. I felt like He and I were one.  It was an incredible feeling of being held close.  I had nothing to fear.  I felt secure.  

Then yesterday, I was overwhelmed at work.  I now report to 2 different people on 5 different projects.  The deliverables are all due in the next 2 weeks.  It's too much to do during the day, so I have to work the weekends and long hours, some of them at home in the evenings.  Not to mention, I was hoping to take the exam again soon so I could have the material fresh in my mind.  

It made me pause and think of all the chaos of the past month.  I have felt on multiple occasions that I was being tested.  First, my health was attacked when I went to the ER for my back.  Then, my confidence was attacked by not passing the exam.  Now, it's like Satan's final straw - the chaos attack.  I will say, usually, this attack totally works.  I get so overwhelmed that I just stop everything good in my life.  I turn to food and alcohol for comfort and completely isolate from anything that could point me back to God.  It's easy to find friends that are willing to be swayed to fall into this pit with me.  Or, they are already there and are more than willing to pull me down to their level. 

Not this time though.  I am still very much feeling overwhelmed and I see the chaos swirling around me like a tornado.  Yet, I've learned the hard way that the vices I used to turn to never satisfy the emptiness or uncertainty.  When I've turned to them in the past, I wake up months later from whatever mess I've allowed myself to wallow in and realize that I made one seemingly minor wrong decision after another.  It led me farther away from Jesus, who is the only source of real happiness and peace. 

Therefore, I choose to trust God.  I choose to wait on God.  I choose to believe what His word says even though I still don't feel or hear Him.  But I know that His love is not based on my feelings (thank you for this, Lord Jesus!).  

Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NLT) Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?  Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord

Kari Jobe "You Are For Me"

It is times like this, that all I can do is obey.  I know God hasn't changed, and if I've changed, I don't want to stray too far from my source of hope.  Therefore, I will remain in Jesus. 
John 15:4-11 (NLT) [Jesus said,] Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.  Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.  This brings great glory to my Father.  I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.  Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!
In seven (7) verses, Jesus said "remain" 10 times!  Not only that, but He promises in verse 4, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you".  In order for me to remain in His love, I must obey his commandments (verse 10).  Praise Jesus, the last promise is that if we obey and remain, our joy will overflow!

Jesus, even though I can't feel you right now, I thank you that your Word is available to me 24/7/365.  Your words are never far from me and may they penetrate my soul so that it flows out of me and fills those I see each and every day.  I pray Lord Jesus, that you will guide my steps tomorrow and show me what I should do every step of the way.  Please help me to balance my workload based on your priorities.  May I honor my managers and you in doing everything for your glory.  I will wait for your clear confirmation on when or if to reschedule my exam.  Until then, please help me to study and use my time in ways that honor you.  Jesus, I thank you for the trial of chaos.  I thank you for giving me a focal point to see peace inside of the situation.  Please Jesus, let me hear your whispers in the whirlwind.  
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 

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