Our Suffering And God’s Plans…

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalms 139:16

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Many times I wonder why God seems to ignore the longings and desires of my heart. He seems indifferent to my loneliness, to my hopes, and even seems to have forgotten the promises that He has made me through the years. It even seems like the hopes and dreams that He inspired, fertilized, and watered have been forgotten and left to wither and die. It’s because I know that I’m not alone in this that I am being inspired to write this post.

I think that many times the struggles, toils, hardships of life, and the pain of suffering blind us to the reality that God is perfectly in control of every moment of every day. We forget that He planned our lives, He formed us, and breathed life into us. Our lives are not our own, we are totally and completely dependent on Him. If we are living for Him and seeking His will for our lives then we can cling to this good news from His Word.

 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,

    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

 

“The Lord will work out His plans for my life—

    for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.

    Don’t abandon me, for You made me.” Psalm 138:8

 

“I know that You can do all things,

    and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

 

If, as believers of Christ we are striving to live apart from sin and if we are seeking Him and His will for our lives then we always have the ultimate hope. When things don’t go the way that we had hoped we have to trust and believe that it’s because God has better things in mind than what we have imagined or dreamed. Even when time goes by and we feel left behind and passed over, and even when we feel hopeless because of age we must hold on to the lack of impossibility for a Sovereign Living God who has no limit to His power and who isn’t constrained by our human timelines. (Matthew 19:26, Jeremiah 32:17)

Maybe we should seek God’s heart all the more, maybe we should be willing and open to His calling us outside of our comfort zone, maybe we should set our jaw and do the thing that He has asked of us that we should never have been asked to do in the first place. Maybe in those things God will bring us the blessings that we’ve been seeking to us in unlikely ways.

Is God asking me to make a move? Is He asking for me to do something different career wise? Is He asking me to spend my free time differently? These are questions that we must ask Him to answer as we seek His will for our lives.

If you are like me and a couple other inspirational people around me maybe you’ve asked to do something that by all that’s fair and good you should never have been asked to do. Maybe it’s giving up work and traveling many, many hard miles back and forth to help take care of a parent or parent’s that are ill and suffering, maybe even as a single adult you’ve been charged with taking a parent into your own home and are dealing with scars of their broken marriage as well as wounds and disappointments of your own. Maybe you’re on the opposite end of those and you’re ill or recovering from illness and will be forever changed because of it, maybe you’re the one who feels deeply betrayed by God because you were betrayed by someone that you loved the most and who has now left you wondering if you were ever loved and now you feel like a burden to those around you.

Does this hit home for you? It does for me and it will for a few people that I care about the most on this earth if they read this.

What if we’re feeling stuck and beyond hope in many ways while God is simply longing to tell us that He is still in control and still working in our lives and for our good even though we can’t see it right now?

 

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29

 

Maybe we just need to relax, trust Him, seek Him with every fiber of our beings, and not only ask where to go and what to do, but also listen carefully and be willing to follow His instructions with reckless abandon.

I want to be totally open and vulnerable for a few moments and share from my own life. I would never have chosen to be where I am in my life right now. Yet on the other hand, I’m also not wise enough, knowledgeable enough of God’s Word or it’s meaning, or in a place of stability in my life that lends itself to encouraging others. I’m a grown man, and yet sometimes it’s all I can do to get through the day. Sometimes I have to close the door of my office and weep and pray. Many nights are spent as the psalmist said in Psalm 6:6 every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.”

That said, I marvel at how God is redeeming what He is inspiring me to write. I am humbled when I receive responses from those of you who read these posts and have been encouraged and see something in me that I can’t see on my own. And most of all I am humbled, convicted, and encouraged in my own life as I read the words and messages that are pouring forth from these inspirations. It’s all for the Glory and Honor of our Sovereign and Loving Creator, Savior, and King who is the Most High Living God.

My point is that it’s all because I chose to listen and to respond to His call to something outside of myself.

As we continue on in our personal journeys down the narrow path that He has set before us let’s take heart and courage and just remember these promises from scripture.

 

“For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time

It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail.

Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it,

Because it will certainly come; it will not delay.”

Habakkuk 2:3

 

“Wait for the Lord;

    be strong, and let your heart take courage;

    wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

 

Let’s remember this; Jesus didn’t come to make our lives amazing and without suffering. In fact, He told us that they would come and we were told even to endure these times joyfully (John 16:33, James 1:2-4). What was promised to us is that He has wonderful plans for us, He always delivers on His promises, and that He is always right here walking beside us.

As we endure the pain and hardships of life I would encourage you to relinquish control over to God who is the only one who can change your heart, your life, and your situation. At the same time pour out your feelings to Him, ask Him for strength and to be comforted.

 

Father God, I bow before you wounded, broken, and drowning in deep pain and sorrow. I know that I’m not alone and I lift up my brothers and sisters who feel this way as well. God please forgive us of our sin and for doubting Your plans for goodness and joy in our lives. Turn the ashes of our hopes and dreams into beauty (Isaiah 61:3), and turn our mourning into dancing, our suffering into great joy (Psalm 30:11-12). Give us hope Father, remember Your promises and look upon Your hurting and wounded children with compassion and favor. Heal and revive us and give us a testimony to Your greatness and everlasting love that we might be witnesses of Your Glory to those surrounding us in this dark world. Show us where to go, tell us what to do, and please be patient with us until we hear and know Your voice and the plans that You have for our lives. We cry out to You in desperation because You Sovereign God through the salvation of the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord are our only hope. It is in His precious name that I pray these things and ask Your blessings for us. AMEN! “So be it!”

“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the God of hope lift up His countenance upon you, show you His favor, give you His peace, and fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Num 6:24-26, Rom 15:13)

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