Tag Archives: difficulties

God Doesn’t Give you… What?

Naaman’s story from 2 Kings 5 is a pretty familiar story for those of us raised going to Sunday School. It’s the story of a little Jewish slave girl who shared her faith in Israel’s prophet, and whose master’s husband Naaman was not only healed of leprosy, but became a believer in Israel’s God because of it.

I’ve read or heard the story many times over the years, but today I had one of those laugh-out-loud moments when I read something in the story I’d never noticed before. Naaman, who was a Syrian warrior, went to Israel on the word of this little Jewish girl, with a letter to the King of Israel written by his boss, the King of Syria. In it, the Syrian King said:

“Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.”

The reaction of Israel’s King is priceless and it is what made me laugh this morning. He tore his clothes, a sign of distress and anguish and says: WHAT? Does he think I’m God? Is this a trick so he’ll have an excuse to go to war with us when I don’t heal this man? I CAN’T DO THIS! WAAAA!

Talk about a major misunderstanding by someone who was looking within himself way too hard.

I laugh because, sadly, I recognize myself in the king’s panic. Sometimes I look at the circumstances of life, feel the weight of expectations on my shoulders, fret about a situation I’m facing, and think I CAN’T DO THIS. Then someone tells me, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

LIAR!

Read 2 Kings 5. When the prophet Elisha heard that the king was losing his mind over this situation he sent a message to the king: Relax. God’s got this covered.

And God is saying that still. The truth is, God does allow things in our lives that are too much for us to do on our own. If he only sent things our way that we could handle, we wouldn’t need him, would we? God delights in revealing himself in every circumstance you face, good or bad. He wants you to go to him, to trust him, to depend on him, to show the world what he is able to do through you. I am convinced that God is not concerned about strengthening your ego, or teaching you how powerful you are. He wants to point you and me, and everyone around us to Himself as we allow him to handle every situation, as we trust him with every detail.

And I have found that, when I do surrender to him, I am blessed beyond what I can imagine. I believe it’s Satan’s lies that tell you you can handle things on your own, or worse, should handle things on your own. Satan certainly doesn’t want you surrendered to God.

The next time you are tempted to think God won’t give you more than you can handle, think again. Then turn the situation, your very life, over to him and see what he can do when you get out of the way.

Peace!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John16:33)

I am a child of the 60’s, a Baby Boomer, raised in the era of hippies, the Beatles, and ‘All We Need Is Love’. A common greeting back in the day was, “Peace”. Our country was at war, and it wasn’t a popular war for many. You saw the word ‘peace’ or its symbol on the sides of buildings, on book bags and necklaces, and on t-shirts. It was everywhere.

People longed for peace and looked for it in drugs, in sex, in throwing out the rules, in themselves, and in Eastern religions. But the 60’s were far less than peaceful.

Jesus said his words were spoken so that in him we could know what real peace is all about. A person might calm themselves, find their ‘center’, repeat a mantra to experience a form of peace. But the source of true peace can only be found in knowing Jesus.

Life is hard. Things aren’t always fair. Bad things happen. And Satan is attacking. But Jesus tells us to cheer up. You see, he has overcome the world! And those of us who stand with him stand on the winning side.

Peace in the midst of a storm. Peace when the doctor’s report is devastating. Peace when the career hits the skids. Peace when a relationship crumbles. Peace that has nothing to do with circumstances, and everything to do with Jesus.

A peace beyond the world’s understanding.

Peace.

Jesus’ Answer For The “Why’s” of Life

A godly man suffers with ALS. A teenager who loves the Lord loses her battle with cancer. A baby is born with his stomach outside his body. A godly woman buries her 22 year old son who died in an auto accident. ISIS murders hundreds of people who name the name of Jesus.

Jesus met a man born blind. His disciples asked him: Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:3 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.‘”

Sometimes we dig way too deep to find the answer to the “why’s” of life. Is there some special purpose for suffering? There certainly is! And here it is:

So Jesus can be revealed to a lost world.

Everything – E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G – that happens in this life happens for that reason. Your best day reveals God’s blessings. Your struggles reveal his strength. Your mourning reveals his comfort. Your changed life reveals his grace.

Next time you are tempted to ask, Why is this happening to me?, read John 9:3 again. The question you should be asking is, What is it about Jesus that is being revealed through this circumstance I am facing?

Dear God, thank you for being intimately interested in everything that happens to us in this life. You are ever present, all knowing, sovereign. Forgive us when we concentrate so much on the day-to-day that we lose sight of your perfect plan. May your children, in all walks of life, in all circumstances, be faithful to reveal YOU as you would have us do. Help us to remember that this life is about You, and your passion is that every man, woman, and child will come to know you as Savior and Lord. Help us to look at our circumstances as opportunities to share you with those who are lost without you.

September 2

Daniel 4:1-37, 7:1-28; 2 Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-34

Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind. Literally. He found himself living in the wilds like an animal. He was a king who had it all according to the world’s standards. But all that didn’t prevent him from suffering.

Later, after the king regained his sanity and his throne he wrote a letter to the people about his experience. And do you know what he said about those dark days? Daniel 4:2&3 says:

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed FOR me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”

Do you believe that even your darkest hours, your hardest challenges, your toughest circumstances are opportunities for God to do something FOR you? I have shared that in 2012 we lost two very dear men in our family. It’s been almost a year since my dad went to live with the Lord. At 87 and in poor health he was ready to go and that helped us to let him go a little easier. But the hole he left in our family is still there and I miss him.

But I’ve also shared that we lost my 22 year old nephew in an auto accident. One minute he was with us, loving us, making us laugh. The next he was gone. His death has been and continues to be a source of great sadness for me and my family.

There have been many dark days since that June Sunday. And in many ways Geoff’s loss is still fresh. Can I honestly say that it’s a pleasure to tell you about it? Can I look at our situation and share what God has done FOR us through this?

I’m getting there.

I have seen God’s hand obviously working in our lives this past year. I’ve seen my sister, a grieving mother, reach out to help others in Jesus’ name. We have praised God for the privilege of knowing Geoff for 22 amazing years and look forward to seeing him again one day because he knew the Lord as his Savior. That confidence helps us get out of bed every day.

I’ve learned things about myself this past year. I’ve learned my faith is as strong as I had hoped it would be. I’ve learned that God is true to his Word and provides strength when we have none of our own. I know first hand that, although it takes time, joy returns to those who mourn and it’s ok.

Now I can honestly say that as grateful as I am for the lessons I’ve learned through Dad and Geoff’s deaths, I wish I could have learned them and still held on to those two. I wish Geoff would walk through that door and tell me I passed the test so we could get back to life. I mean, Nebuchadnezzar got his kingdom back, didn’t he?

I don’t know what valley you are going through. And I don’t know the extent of your pain. But I know mine. And I can tell you that God is able to carry you through the worst situations because he’s carrying me through mine. 

I may not be quite at the point where I can say it’s a pleasure to tell you about Geoff. But I can say without hesitation that it is a pleasure to tell you about my Savior, my source of strength, my joy. It’s Jesus. Simply put. It’s Jesus.

Nebuchadnezzar reminds us that God’s kingdom is eternal, his dominion endures. This life is so short compared to eternity. My prayer for you is that, if you are going through a difficult situation you won’t waste time blaming God or being angry at him because things aren’t fair. My prayer is that you will trust him. That you will allow him to do something FOR you in the midst of the pain. 

He will, you know. Draw close to God and he promises to draw close to you. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.