Seasons of Suffering, The Rest Of The Story

I woke up yesterday filled with the need to write about the changing seasons in our lives. It never ceases to amaze me how God can give me something to write about then send me somewhere where He has arranged for me to hear, “the rest of the story”.

At church yesterdayI was given hope for the inevitable season of despair that we all must face.

Pastor Dan recounted the story told in Acts 16. How Paul and Silas transformed their prison of pain into a prison of praise and finally into a place of personal ministry.

Arrested even though they had committed no crime, Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten, imprisoned and put in stocks. They were in the filthiest and direst of circumstances. Hurt, humiliated, confined and uncertain of their immediate future, they turned to the only help available, they turned to God.

They chose to turn a painful situation into a praiseful situation and ultimately a ministry.

Would you and I make the same choice? Do we curse God as He allows us to endure such pain or do we sing His praises for being with us as we walk through our season of suffering?

Their prison was no longer a place of pain for Paul and Silas, it was a place of praise. They prayed and sang songs to God until a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. The guard was sure his prisoners had escaped and was about to kill himself when he heard Paul assure him that they were all still there. Their current ministry culminated when the guard, because of their praise to God, asked Paul and Silas, what must I do to be saved.

Oh the joy in knowing that their suffering was not in vain and their praise brought a man to salvation.

We all know there will be tough times we will face. Trials and suffering will become a part of everyday life, at least for a season. You still have choices, even in seasons of suffering.

Will you turn your painful situation into a praiseful situation and ultimately a ministry?

 Hold tight to the fact that there is hope in seasons of suffering.

I found the following quote in something I was reading and I love it. “When you find yourself in a season of suffering hold tight to the fact that God can turn your sighing into song, He can turn your trials into testimony and your pain into praise. He can take a time of profound heartache and transform it into a time of great help.”

How do you respond to your season of suffering? Are you standing strong in the fact that God is an ever present, all sufficient, all mighty God?

Have you thought about the fact that you are never alone in a season of suffering. Others are watching how you handle the pain and suffering. Are you cursing the God you say you worship or are you singing songs of praise even while hurting, showing others that you do indeed trust your God, even in unbearable pain and fear.

When you hear the prison door slam behind you and you feel hopeless in your fear and pain, cast your eyes upon heaven. God will hear you and God will give your voice wings as you tap into His strength to sing songs of praise. He will give you the courage to turn your season of suffering into a ministry.

Are you preparing to answer their question…….what must I do to be saved?

Dottie

…………..and so I ride

Advertisements

A Time For Everything

The seasons are changing, summer has transitioned into fall and soon fall will change to winter. Our lives mimic the seasons we endure on earth. We will have good seasons and we will have bad seasons.

However, even that is addressed in the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens

When we like the season we are in, we are content and often look no further than the ground which we are standing on. When the season we are in is not what we anticipated or not a season we are comfortable in, we often spout the “why me, why now” philosophy.

Perhaps we have forgotten the phrase we often quote and is true for all times and all people…….except for us when we end up in a difficult season. That phrase is “God’s timing is not our own and God’s timing is perfect.

Our circumstances will change but by looking to God in the transition we can find quietness and confidence. If we follow His path of light and grace, we will find His way always leads to peace.

Every season is given by God for a particular purpose. Each season provides a unique opportunity to learn something more about God and to draw closer to Him. It offers us the chance to discover the role He plays in our lives.

Good, bad, joyous, heartbreaking, look at that particular season as a gift wrapped with lessons from God.

Go back now and look at how Ecclesiastes 3 describes God’s role in the timing of the seasonal flow. He says that God has made everything beautiful in its time, not just the good or the easy times.

In it’s season, everything is beautiful and has a purpose. Read that again. Let it soak in.

All seasons have beauty in their own way and have a purpose.

Perhaps we should pay closer attention to the season we find ourselves in. Unwrap it and find the gift that God promises it holds.

Regardless of what season we find ourselves in, realign our hearts to our Lord so we can gain strength and allow ourselves to be led through the natural changing rhythms of life.

Dottie

……………and so I ride

 

 

A Leaky Faucet

How many times are you told you have a problem, given vague and general information on how to fix the problem but no specific instructions on how to implement the fix? 
It is so frustrating! 
It is like someone telling you to get the leaky sink fixed by tomorrow but they offer no instructions to do it. It is expected that you will know exactly what to do with the gushing water when in fact you have no idea. But by golly the gushing water had better be fixed by the next time they visit because it is getting them wet. 


It is aggravating and more than a little discouraging. 
The same thing happens to us as Christians more than we like to admit. We are struggling with a problem and someone comes along and says……”well you just need to give it to God.” 

And the conversation ends there as the well meaning person smugly walks away feeling they have done their part when in all actuality it feels much like the leaky faucet scenario mentioned above, there is water spraying everywhere and you don’t know what to plug first. 


I remember thinking to myself, yes, that is a good idea, I really should turn it over to God, however, I have no idea how to do that. In fact when I think about it, it actually sounds like a bad idea. So I am supposed to put all reasoning aside and do nothing of my own free will? I am supposed to sit in my recliner and wait until…………..what………wait until……….when? 


Will I get detailed instructions from God, will He send me an instructional letter in the mail or a package by FedEx with a road map? 
When someone throws an abstract idea like “turn it over to God” at you it can feel like Christian rhetoric at it’s finest. Meaning it is often used as a way to sound impressive and knowledgeable but is lacking in sincerity or meaningful content. While that may not be what the deliverer intended that is certainly how it sounded. It is useless information and often makes the recipient feel downright dumb when they cannot figure out how in the world to get their problem from their hands to God’s hands. 
Turning it over to God is a beautiful idea and should be comforting if only we knew exactly what it meant. However, I can remember praying many times, Lord, take this burden from me, I don’t want it anymore and can’t deal with it. Then I waited and there was no change. I felt exactly the same, I didn’t feel the Lord sustaining me and the burden was still there. 
I think the concept of turning it over to God is largely going to be personally geared but every person will have common components of what it means and how it works. 

We have to start this turning over process somewhere. Where it will lead you only God knows but the first step in the most important. It is the step that leads you in God’s direction. 
This is my starting place every time I need to “turn something over to God”. 

1. Pray for direction

2. Remember who you are in Christ. Concentrate on the fact that you are God’s beloved child. Concentrate on the fact that you have inherited the mother lode of all inheritances. Concentrate of the fact that God loves you with a love that is endless and knows no boundaries. God’s love is the only love in your life that is truly unconditional. If you can only concentrate on one thing right now, concentrate on this. For this moment, it will be enough and then, when the time is right, the rest will come.  

3. Make your ultimate goal the right one. If getting the problem fixed is your ultimate goal, you have your priorities screwed up. Your ultimate goal is to grow closer to God while loving and serving Him. If you are spending more time on your problem than on God, you may need to rethink your priorities.

4. Know with absolute certainty that you don’t have to fight this battle alone. He loves you with Agape love and He will fight for you even when you cannot feel it. He will fight for you as long as you are clinging to who you are in Him. 

If you concentrate on these four things I can guarantee you that the rest will come. God promises provision and He will provide it. 
Dottie

……………and so I ride


*******