Monday, October 13, 2008

Praise Him in the storm

Good morning, Church!

Wilderness times are challenging- they are not only unpleasant and dark- they are also dangerous to our souls because we are easily tempted to find our own way to cope like the Israelites!

"So He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left. Then they believed His words; they sang His praise. They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." -Psalm 106:9b-15

There are many types of "wilderness" that we encounter in the seasons of life: some may be single and longing to be married, some may be facing financial hardships, some may be mourning the loss of a loved one, some may be lonely or struggling with a secret sin, or simply just weary of the daily mundane... and there are ways to cope that God has ordained, and other ways that our sinful nature devises. And God longs for us to look to Him for the solutions to our daily struggles and our times of wilderness!

He has led us through the wilderness- He has redeemed us from awful situations- and yet we don't trust Him to carry us through other hard times. How often we forget Him- when He is really the only One who can do something about our circumstances! And we must be so careful to cling to Him, and not create our own "savior". Because God is a gentleman, if you beg long enough for an alternative, He may grant your request- but it won't be the solution you were really looking for. Our selfish solutions to the problems of life will never truly satisfy. They may get us through a day or two- but ultimately they will fail us- and we will be in a worse place than we were originally. God really does know best. We may not understand what He is doing, and the solution may hurt more than we think we can bear, but if we trust Him, the fire will refine and purify and fit us for service in His kingdom. God never wastes a hurt. If you are single and longing to be married, and just settle for marrying the first person who comes along- that may satisfy in the moment, but ultimately you'll be missing out on God's best for you. If you are facing financial hardships, and decide that you cannot tithe 10%- you may miss out on seeing God provide for your family in miraculous ways. You get the idea. Every circumstance of life has been allowed because God has a good plan for you- plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Trust that His heart toward you is good and loving. Even though it is not a pleasant thought: He cares more about the health of your soul, than the comfort of your life. He will never give you more than He will help you to bear. Trust that. Trust that He is walking with you through the fire- and that you will emerge on the other side more whole and more complete. Don't give up. Just keep walking one step at a time- and if you can't even take that next step, allow Him to carry you.

There is a song by Casting Crowns that encourages us to praise Him even in the storms of life. I'll leave you with those lyrics.

Praise You in This Storm
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

Chorus

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Chorus

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