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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Problems Force Me to Depend on God

In review of 1 Peter 4:12 it says, “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you” (TLB).

Today’s passage comes from 1 Peter 4:12-13, where Peter tells me to not be surprised at the fiery trials I'm going through or will go through in the future, as if something strange was happening with me. Instead, be very glad; for these trials make me a partner with Christ in his suffering, so that I will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

Jesus warned me that I’ll have problems in this life. No one is immune from pain or insulated from suffering, and as much as I’d like it, no one gets to skate through life problem-free.

But the Peter assures me that problems are normal, saying, “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you” (1 Peter 4:12 TLB). God uses these problems to draw me closer to himself. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NLT).

My most profound and intimate experiences of worship likely will be in my darkest days: when my heart is broken, when I feel abandoned, when I’m out of options, when the pain is great and when I turn to God alone. It is during suffering that I learn to pray my most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers. When in pain, I don’t have the energy for superficial prayers.

Joni Eareckson Tada notes, “When life is rosy, I may slide by with knowing about Jesus, with imitating him and quoting him and speaking of him. But only in suffering will I know Jesus.” I learn things about God in suffering that I can’t learn any other way.

God could have kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace, but he didn’t. He let those problems happen, and each of those people was drawn closer to God as a result.

Problems force me to look to God and depend on him instead of myself. Paul testified to this benefit: “We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us” (2 Corinthians 1:9 TLB). I’ll never know that God is all I need until God is all I’ve got.

Bottom Line:
Troubles will come, don’t be surprised, you're not alone. You must go through them.

What this means to me:
I should never be surprised when fiery troubles present themselves in my life. I’m not unique. I must go through them.

In summary, I shouldn't be surprised that I'm in the midst of problems. In my current situation (overwhelming list of tasks, things not running smoothly, problems cropping up), God is using these problems to draw me closer to Him. I have to admit that after taking my new job I have not had time for fellowship with others and my time with God has been present but perhaps not as tight as it should be. Currently my days are filled from early morning to late evening. I need to lean more into Him and deeply getting to know him even more. Giving myself over to his lead and learning to spend time on the important things almost as much as the urgent things.

It is during times like this that I must learn to pray my most authentic and heartfelt prayers. As such, over the past several days I have been working more on summarizing what I'm learning in my quiet times and putting into practice what I'm learning. I'm also spending more time in thinking through the things I need and how to pray about them. So far, I have seen and experienced relief, along with smoother interactions with others.

I’m also learning that when things are going well or I'm extremely busy, I may slide by in my relationship with Christ. It is only in the times of trials, problems and suffering that I will really get to know Christ. I should be thankful for the issues I have. For I can use them to get to know Christ more as I work through them.

God could keep me out of problems, however, he lets them happen. In Old Testament stories God allowed folks to face problems and each of them was drawn closer to God as a result. The same is true for me. So let me be drawn more to Him as I work through my problems one step at a time, giving Jesus the driver's seat. I need to take what I have and give it to God, then stand back, and do as he tells me. He will work his will through me.

While I may feel powerless to help myself, it is for my good. For then, I have the opportunity to put everything into the hands of God who can save me.

Father this morning I, “Thank you for providing ways to draw me closer to you. You have been teaching me to put my hope and trust in you. I ask you to help to guide me with the tasks I have at hand. Help me organize, help me to communicate and delegate effectively. Help me to respond in a loving way those I work with. Most importantly help me to get through this overflowing bucket of work tasks. In your Son Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!”

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