God keeps His promises

I think sometimes people assume that because Christians speak of the Joy of the Lord, that their lives must be blissful and peaceful.  But this isn't always true.  God doesn't promise a pain-free existence, but He does promise a way out so that we can endure our trials (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Also, throughout history He has promised to be with us always, from Genesis to Jesus.  

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:15)  

"I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)

When life seems to be hopeless, I just have to keep telling myself that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.  One day I'll look back and see God's hand in all of it.  It may look impossible now, but I need to accept that although things aren't going my way, they ARE going God's way.    

When it seems like God is not answering our prayers, it's easy to start second guessing our ability to discern God's will.  I thought the "signs" seemed to obviously point one way, but was I wrong?  How can I ever know?  Would God really want me to trust my way into a deep hole in the ground?  Lord, what am I doing wrong?  How can I speak words of encouragement to others that won't sound hollow? 

We should feel peace in spite of our suffering.  We shouldn't feel angst.  I think physical pain would be easier to bear than this loss.  I long to stay here.  But if I have to move, I will have to focus on myself.  I don't want to focus on myself, Lord, I want to focus on Your mission.

What do you want me to do?  OK, You've got my attention, Lord.  Please open my eyes and my heart to see and follow Your instructions.

I feel like there's a lesson here...  Perhaps one day, I'll find the words to console another person filled with similar sorrow. 

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God." (Psalm 42:5)  

From the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis - Evangelii Gaudium (#275):

If we think that things are not going to change, we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death and is now almighty. Jesus Christ truly lives. Put another way, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain" (1 Cor 15:14). The Gospel tells us that when the first disciples went forth to preach, "the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message" (Mk 16:20). The same thing happens today. We are invited to discover this, to experience it. 

Christ, risen and glorified, is the wellspring of our hope, and he will not deprive us of the help we need to carry out the mission which he has entrusted to us.

At 3:00 in the afternoon, on the day of the Lord's Passion, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 when He cried out to the Father, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Do you think the onlookers recognized the irony and the parallels to the Psalm when he uttered those famous words?  They mocked him (22:28-30), cast lots for his clothing (22:7), and taunted Jesus by saying, if he's God's son, "let God deliver him" (22:8). 

When we cry out for God's mercy, perhaps we should remember the Lord's Passion.  According to the Diary of Saint Faustina, Jesus told her,

"At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion..." (Diary, 1320)

So when we cry out in what seems like our darkest hour, perhaps we need to remember that God did not abandon Jesus.  But rather, God took all the pain and anguish of that terrible event and brought salvation to the world.  So too, our own struggles can also reveal God's glory.   

1. But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

2. "For nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1 :37)

3. "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

4. Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27

5. He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20) 

These passages give me Hope...

The Holy Spirit strikes to inspire us, sometimes when we least expect it.  On May 8, shortly after midnight, I woke up and my brain instantly went into overdrive.  So I turned on the light, grabbed my Windows phone, and started jotting down a few notes.

I wrote,

"The sun hasn't shone in a week, and the dreary gray skies seem to match my mood these days."

But then I remembered the Scripture, something about Joy... and as I typed away on Notepad, the inspiration flowed, my spirits lifted and my encouragement grew.  

"Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22).

Home is where the heart is.  Home is where the Lord is. I've lived in many homes.  Some I envisioned I could live there forever.  But as time went on my perspective changed.  Going back to my childhood home recently, I was able to reflect on this.  It's still the same wonderful place on the same quiet dead end street, but I'm not the same person.   

So this too, shall pass.

"For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.  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." (2 Corinthians 4: 17-18)

God wants us to let go of all earthly attachments, even what seems like heaven on earth.  We need to be open to His messages to us. Even in the moments of suffering, God's glory is revealed.  Take a look at the cross - there's the proof.

I can't change my situation, but I can change the way I look at my situation, my attitude toward my situation. I won't let this sorrow own me. I can beat this.  I WILL beat this.

The joy of the Lord is stronger than any place or situation. They cannot kill the soul.

The last couple years have been preparing me for the next phase of my life. God hasn't revealed that part to me yet, and that's ok. It may not be an easy journey, but I need to stop kicking and screaming long enough for Him to move me where I need to be.

If God keeps sending you a temporary fix and not a permanent one, then it's time for a change.

I get down on my knees before Jesus, broken and sorrowful and feeling unworthy to serve Him. But He lifts me up and vanishes the strongholds that threaten to overpower me. God is mightier than any stronghold.

I think my searching for "the reason why" has helped walk me through this, though it's hard to be objective sometimes. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for bringing me clarity in the wee hours of the morning. Lead me, Holy Spirit.  Come take my hand. Carry me when I need strength. I can do this.

Praise God Almighty, who works all things for good for those who love Him.  Lord, I am deeply sorry for having offended You, for not trusting You, for letting my sorrow consume me. Lord, I firmly resolve to glorify Your Name for giving me this burden, for it must be, in order to reveal Your wondrous ways. Thank You God, for the honor of offering my own small sacrifice so that others will know of your love, compassion and glory. Thank You Lord, for choosing me.  I'm sorry Lord, that I resisted for so long. I'll get out of Your way now, so that You can complete the work You began in me. Let it be done to me according to Your word.