Circles are interesting. They seem to have no beginning or end but yet there they are. God to me is somewhat of a circle. Don’t let me loose you here… God has no beginning or end either and on top of that it would seem to me that everything began with God and in some way ends up circling back to Him. (Ok Yeah I know that one has a beginning and end.) And don’t get me started on the whole “Circle of Life” thing. (he he he)
But what I have noticed as of late is that God is the start of all and when I need anything from Him, He is faithful and just to give me what I truly need. Take into account that when we come to Him, and ask for His help in doing something for His Glory, He is, again, faithful and just, and gives to us what we need.
There are many times in our lives that we are in need of His peace, presence, protection or strength or any combination of these as well as the many other gifts that He for us. But when we are faced with what may seam impossible, it is His Joy to give us strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Not only this but He joyfully gives us what we need in times of weakness for He loves to pour out blessings on us! How great is that?
Here is an example from my life. Not long ago my wife and I felt led by God to take a 3 day fast. Her’s was one of only water while mine was to be a limited diet of only a sandwich for lunch and water throughout the day. On the very first day of the fast, while in bible study, I had a sneezing attack. Nothing strange or new. But as I sat there afterwards I couldn’t help but notice that my sinuses were beginning to feel very full and painful. I was getting a cold and it was going to be a bad one.
I thought, “Now what do I do? I just started this fast and I want to get closer to God, but now I’m getting sick on top of it? I could quit. I mean most people would agree that you just should not fast while your sick right? God you will understand, right? I mean, I just started, I can start again once I’m better. But then I heard The Lord speaking to me. “You can do this! Trust in Me for “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
What was God asking of me? Could He really want me to continue to fast while I was getting sick? To me it sounded like a challenge from God to trust in Him to carry me through this. And if I have learned anything about God in my short time as a christian, it is that when I hear the word of the Lord really speaking to me I should really listen up and take notice. But for all of us the listening part is the easy part. It’s the doing part that really gives us a challenge. But lets be honest here, it’s the doing, the pushing through, the bending over backwards, where the rubber really meets the road! James says that we are to be ‘doers of the word and not just hearers‘ And that my friends is the true test of faith.
Oh we say great things like, “Well if God leads me to it, He will see me through it.” or “God will never give you more than you can handle.” and the like. These are very true statements. To an extant. You see God will lead you to things and if He really wants to to succeed He will see you through it. But what if God just wants to see if you are willing to go through it? Isn’t that the testing of faith that Abraham had when God asked to sacrifice his one true son? God gave Abraham a ram instead of his son at the last minute. God had the plan but didn’t share with our friend Abraham the whole plan… like a ram stuck in the bushes. Or how about leading the tribes of Israel out of Egypt just to have them stop at the edge of the Red Sea? Moses was like, “What now LORD? I don’t know what to do!!! Pharaoh is hot on our tail and is going to crush us between this sea and his army!!! I’m not sure why you had me lead them this way because I’m at a loss right now as to what to do, so You Sir are going to have to show up and help us out here.” (My own translation) Looks like God gave our buddy Moses something more than he could handle.
Now I’m not saying that those sayings are not true at times. But what I am saying is that they are not always true in every instance. God has a really cool way of changing things up on us all the time. It helps keep us on our toes, or should I say, on our knees. It helps us to truly walk by faith and not by sight.
So in the case of my sickness in the midst of a fast I had to really listen to what He was saying to me. “You can do this! Trust in Me for “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Well Lord, I am truly weak, I’m sick, tired, my head hurts, the whole not eating thing is going to be a snap cause I am really not hungry at all. In fact I don’t think I can even look at food right now. So if you really want me to go on with this fast… well… You Lord are going to have to be my strength. PERFECT!!!
This was going to be by far the hardest fast I’ve ever been on. But if God was leading me to it… well He was going to have to help me get through it. And He did because He is faithful! I learned to lean on the power and strength of the Lord like never before. I was sick, and I am not a good sick person, ask my wife. I become a baby who wants to do nothing but sleep and be pampered, and well that was just not going to happen this time. God was training a solider not a baby today! And for the first time in my Christian life I believe I truly understood the meaning of the passage, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” at least as it pertained to this time in my life.
You see by me listening to God and going on the fast, I was bringing Joy to my Father in heaven. And when sickness came upon me by the enemy (who wants us to fail in all of our efforts for the Lord) I listened to my Father and continued in my fast by the strength that He gave me. This is the strength which came from the joy He received from my obedience to Him. When we obey the Lord we bring Him joy. And it brings Him great joy to give to His children who trust in Him. And it is from this great joy that we receive our strength! It’s one BIG GIANT GODLY CIRCLE!!!!
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
His joy gives me great strength to do that which He has called me to do, that I can only do in His strength, which brings Him great joy to see and in turn gives me great strength to do!!!! It’s truly and simply amazing!
God want’s us to trust in Him and lean not upon our own understanding, and at times that means that we have to, well… trust in Him alone. This is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he said that “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. and it is this faith that we walk by. At times He will lead us where He will see us through, but it more than likely wont be done by our strength and we will have to completely rely upon His great joy that He takes in our obedience to Him for our strength to see us through.
Thank you Jesus!!!!