Sunday, July 21, 2013

What a Trumpet, a Clay Pot, and a Light Taught Me about Fighting Pain and Problems

“Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he (Gideon) placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside”
(Judges 7:16).

When I think of Biblical warfare strategies, I usually think of the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6, but this passage gave me some more insights.

Gideon and his men were outnumbered by their enemies, but they followed God’s directions.  They blew their trumpets and shouted.  Their clay jars broke and their torches shone as they fought their way to a triumphant victory.

I see some great lessons for me here as I battle with pain and problems.  My trumpet is my voice of praise.  We are called to praise God regardless of our circumstances.  When we do, our spirits are encouraged and we are able to view things differently.  And for those times when nothing changes, we have the assurance of knowing we are being obedient to God and will be rewarded in eternity – which will be well worth the wait.

Scripture compares our physical bodies to jars of clay.  We are molded and made by God, but this earthly body is temporary.  Gideon’s jars were shattered in battle.  Each battle we fight with pain or problems causes another crack in our jars until we feel we can no longer hold together.  But what happened when Gideon’s jars were shattered?  The light was revealed.

When we allow God to break us through the pain and trials of life, then the light of His Spirit and Presence is able to shine through.  As we die to self and hopefully glorify Him in the process, His light guides us through our battles and on to victory.

Our pain and problems may seem overwhelming.  We may feel more outnumbered than Gideon and his men did.  But God’s battle strategies are better than ours.  So let’s praise Him while walking in faith and allow ourselves to be broken so that His power and light may be revealed in us. With God, we have the victory.

Prayer:  Lord God, so many times I feel outnumbered by my pain and problems.  May I not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not ours but Yours (II Chronicles 20:15).  Amen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving Forward with God

“He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live”

Perhaps you have heard the expression “moving forward” in reference to letting go of something difficult and moving on to a healthier state emotionally or relationally.  Right now I am dealing with moving forward in a literal sense – to another state.

My husband is planning to retire next year and we want to move closer to our children.  We have lived in this area for 32 years so this will be a major adjustment.  We will soon be visiting various locations hoping to finalize where to move. 

Although I am more than ready to downsize, I am already becoming anxious about how I will survive this move.  I am concerned about finding the right grocery stores, doctors, and church. I am wondering how I can pack and unpack with my back and fibro issues.  So many anxious thoughts, and I don’t even know when or where we are going yet!

This verse in Acts is a great comfort to me.  Although we may not know where we are to go, God does.  He will guide and direct us.  It may be very challenging and require much patience and faith on my part, but God will bring me through it.

Even if we are not facing the difficulties of moving, chronic health problems bring other struggles.  The above verse says much more to me than the fact that God has chosen where and when I am to live.  It reminds me that there is no aspect of my life that is not under His divine control, including my pain and problems.  He has a plan and will direct me through it all.  I need to trust Him and move forward through whatever I am facing.

Life is not stagnant.  Some things improve and others become more difficult, but we are all walking out what God planned for us.  Each step is bringing us closer to the best location ever – our eternal home – so let’s keep moving forward.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, what a comfort it is to know that You have a perfect pre-ordained plan for my life.  As I give You all my fears and uncertainties, give me the faith to trust Your plan and move forward in my walk with You.