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Peace – In the Midst of the Storm

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By Maria Vernon, July 21, 2014

There have probably been times when you’ve felt like you’ve been squeezed to the last drop and you didn’t have an ounce of strength or willpower left. You’ve “despaired even of life,” like Paul, to the point that you didn’t even want to get up in the morning because you didn’t want to have to face another day! I’m sure that all of us have gone to those depths at one time or another, and maybe you’re going through something like that right now, and have been for a long time. Sometimes it helps to think about how Paul and many other men and women of God went through similar things.

But here’s the important part: Despite Paul’s trials and tribulations—both in the form of outward persecution and in the form of inward despair, discouragement, and doubt—he held on, declaring that, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”1

When your life is burdened with problems, it’s natural to wonder why. One reason for problems is that life itself is a constant struggle. Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your job, life, living on earth as a human being involves a lot of problems, period. And believe it or not, that’s God’s plan.

Now that’s a good one for us to remember: “None of these things move me.” In other words, “I’m going to keep holding on no matter what happens. I’m not going to let it deter me from the high calling that the Lord has given me.” That’s the kind of determination that kept Paul going, so that even though he was “perplexed,” he was “not in despair.”2

“Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”3 How can you be unmovable? By holding on to the Rock—Jesus.4 Everything else is unstable and can get washed away when the waves of life toss you to and fro. The only thing that’ll stay right there and won’t budge an inch is Jesus! So if you want to remain “steadfast and unmovable,” there’s only one way: Hold on to the Lord. And if you do, your labors won’t be in vain, as the Scripture promises.

And don’t worry if you’re not strong enough to hold on, because you don’t have to be strong in yourself. Your strength will come from the Lord.5 All you have to do is put your will on the Lord’s side and want to hold on, and then He’ll give you the strength to keep holding on even when you don’t think you can anymore.

But you do have to put forth the effort of determining in your heart that you’re going to follow the Lord no matter what! As Isaiah said, “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”6 He must have been going through a pretty tough time, but he was determined to hold on to the Lord regardless; and if you do the same, you won’t be ashamed either.

Why problems?

When your life is burdened with problems, it’s natural to wonder why. One reason for problems is that life itself is a constant struggle. Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your job, life, living on earth as a human being involves a lot of problems, period. And believe it or not, that’s God’s plan. It’s not that something goofed and the whole world went wrong, or God got it wrong. It’s His plan! Tests, trials, struggles and difficulties are all part of life. So that’s one of the main reasons why we have problems, and we’re always going to have problems.

Sometimes the Lord allows problems as a time of spiritual testing to see if we’ve got what it takes to carry on, to make it to the next grade.

You just can’t expect to get through the tests of life very easily. Anything that is important or valuable costs something.

The Lord knows when you’re feeling at the end of your rope, and you’re questioning: “How can I go on? I feel so spent, so empty, so depleted of energy, strength, patience and love. How can I possibly go on?”

Are you feeling that way? I’m so very sorry if you are and my heart goes out to you, but at least I hope it encourages you to know you’re not alone in facing such discouragement. We all face this at times throughout our lives. I hope it lifts your spirits to know the Lord understands what you’re going through.

Sometimes we’re tempted to think, “How can we manage this? It’s just too much!” We can be comforted to know that the Lord allows this as part of His plan for us. He sometimes allows us to see the mountain ahead of us so we’ll come to the end of ourselves and say, “Lord, this is impossible! We know we can’t do it. Please do it through us, Lord.”

If the problems were any smaller, and we thought we might be able to handle them, then we’d be tempted to try to do it in our own strength. Aren’t we all that way? It’s just human nature. But if it gets so difficult and so big, then we think, “Look, I can’t even begin this. I can’t even start to do this. It’s impossible!” That’s often the point at which we truly commit all things to Him.

Sticking close

Regardless of how we may happen to feel, if we love the Lord and are walking by faith and obeying His Word, then we know that our relationship with the Lord is firm. And we certainly know that His love for us is unchangeable, unwavering. He says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love. For though the mountains should depart and the hills be removed, My kindness shall not depart from thee. For I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”7

So how can you know if you’re close to the Lord? You can know by His Word that says if you “draw nigh to God”—by your submission and obedience to Him—“He will draw nigh to you.”8 Even if you can’t feel anything, any closeness at all, you can still know you’re close to Him if you’re doing your best to love the Lord and please Him and obey His Word and do what you know He has asked of you.

In fact, sometimes people may be the closest to the Lord when they feel the furthest from Him. For example, when we’re humbled by our own mistakes and shortcomings and sinfulness, we don’t usually feel so inspired or close to the Lord, but we may, in fact, be very close to Jesus at such times.

You are close to Jesus if you’re doing His will and you’re doing your best to do the things He has asked of you. Then you can know you’re close to Jesus, which is a whole lot better than just feeling close to Him!

1 Acts 20:24.
2 2 Corinthians 4:8.
3 1 Corinthians 15:58.
4 See Psalm 62:6.
5 See Psalm 46:1; 18:1–2; 121:1, etc.
6 Isaiah 50:7.
7 Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 54:10; Hebrews 13:5.
8 James 4:7–8.

 

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