In certain seasons, life can be so full of joy that the days simply fly by. One year after another vanishes until we wonder where the time went.
I went on a dinner date with my daughter the other day, and, like I often do...started noticing the people around me. There was a couple holding hands and smiling at each other...they were dating. There was another couple checking Facebook and the updated ESPN scores...they were married.
I noticed a family celebrating their daughter’s tenth birthday, cutting cake and singing the song that parents insist on singing in public that embarrasses every child. Across the room was another mother wearing the familiar scarf that covered her balding head, a silent reminder of the chemotherapy she was so desperately trying to smile her way through. The dad sitting across the table was visibly exhausted, but still trying to give his very best. The kids at this table were definitely not celebrating.
And so, I want to ask you...how do you live through the long years? How do you endure the unimaginable trials that test your faith and strength to the very core of your being? What do you do in that season of your life where it seems like the struggle will never end and time drags on forever?
Maybe this year has already been a long year for you. Last year was crazy, but this year hasn’t seemed much better. Does this sound familiar? Maybe this is a year when you’re struggling to take the next step, when every movement is a true test of your will. Maybe it’s a year where the things you never thought would ever take place...have, shattering your peace.
Maybe the unthinkable, the seemingly unbearable has become your daily existence. You may be experiencing a long year of need. Maybe you need answers to resolve a difficult situation. Maybe you are in need of provision. Maybe you need to be healed physically or emotionally.
I want you to know that your time of struggle will end. Your time of testing did not come to stay. It came to pass. Your weeping may endure for the night, but God’s joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Don’t lose heart. If you lived to see the beautiful sunrise this morning, it means that God is not through with you yet. The best is yet to come!
Joseph is one of many people mentioned in the Bible who lived through some long, agonizing years. Remember this... adversity is the school of greatness from which all of God’s champions graduate. No one gets through this life unscathed.
No matter when adversity strikes, it’s very human to wonder, “Why me? Why do I have to endure this? What’s your purpose in my current situation, Lord?”
God wants to conform you into the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). God’s plan might not include a promotion every year at your job, an early retirement or a lake house. That might be our carnal definition of good, but God’s definition is to take all things and work them together so that you become like His Son. He wants to mold you into someone who is willing to obey the Word of God and the will of the Father. And He is working all things together for your good.
When you overcome the circumstances that seem completely overwhelming, you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. Endurance gives you confidence to face the storms of life, knowing that you will make it to the other side with God’s help. Everything is going to be alright because God is in complete control.
When you refuse to conform to this world, you decide to be different, to set yourself apart. God is looking for those that are willing to be used by Him to transform the world around them. When you set yourself apart from worldly things, you qualify to be used of God for great things, for supernatural things. Often, the world will hate you for it (James 4:4). Press on!
Romans 12:2 reminds us:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
God is looking for people who will not conform, who will not settle for what is easy but choose the road less traveled. He is looking for those who have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, even when it proves to be unpopular. He is looking for those who use the Word as a guide for their pathway, and a source of life to share with the lost. He is looking for those who will resist the devil, and lead others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
When you are willing to stand up for God, get ready for the long years. Sometimes it’s like a blast furnace of adversity blowing up in your face. And make no mistake, adversity will change you! It will cause you to give up or grow up. It will cause you to become better or bitter.
It’s one thing to look back over your shoulder and see how God moved this and covered that. It’s easy to see His handiwork in hindsight. It’s another thing entirely to have the courage to say “God is with me” as you walk through the darkest days of your life, not knowing in the natural where they will lead. When no one else sees the answer that is coming on the horizon...will you still believe for it? Will you choose faith over fear?
You might feel alone right now, but the Friend who sticks closer than a brother is walking right beside you. You might feel sick right now, but the Great Physician is in charge of your healing... and He is still in the miracle-working business. No matter what your doctor might tell you, our God can heal you instantly and completely. You might have a need, but Jehovah Jireh, He is your provider. You might be surrounded by enemies or confusion, but the One who is an ever-present help in times of trouble is with you. You may not know exactly what you’re walking through today, but, Child of God, you know exactly Who is walking with you. And He has promised to carry you through to rich fulfillment. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
He is faithful and true, loving and kind. He keeps His word to a thousand generations. He is the God who gives His angels charge over you to keep you in all of your ways. He counts the hairs on your head, and this year was not a surprise for Him. Your current circumstances, your long year was not a surprise for Him.
He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you, that you might be redeemed. He is your way maker, your mountain mover and the master of your impossible situation. Are you crying out to Him today? He is waiting to give you the complete victory!
His love knows no limit. His grace knows no boundary. His peace surpasses all understanding.
While you might feel today like the world is against you...the Creator of the universe is bending down His ear, waiting to move heaven and earth on your behalf. Your good news is coming. Your healing is coming. Your provision is coming. Your blessing is on the way. Reach out and touch the hem of His garment and give Him praise! Your answer is on the way!