You Prayed and Prayed…

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You prayed and prayed, and no clear answer came. Or worse, you prayed fervently, passionately, ceaselessly . . . only to have the situation turn out exactly the opposite of what you asked. You thought God loved you and would take care of you, but your life fell apart.

When disappointments like these come into our lives, we find ourselves asking, “Where is God?” Maybe you have shaken your fist at God in anger or given up on Him completely. Perhaps you just decided to slowly distance yourself in your relationship with Him, because you haven’t seen Him show up. Disappointment with God comes in many different forms. Whether we understand why God allowed something or not, one thing we can know is that He will not leave us in the midst of our struggle, for Scripture tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Personally, I have found great encouragement from reading the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who is known as the “weeping prophet.” Can you believe that? Encouragement from the weeping prophet! But I think you will be encouraged too. As Jeremiah grieved over the destruction of Jerusalem, he turned his eyes toward the day-to-day faithfulness of the Lord. Notice how Jeremiah’s discouragement turns into words of hope:

“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.

I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.

So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.”

Will you dare to hope as Jeremiah did? As he grieved his loss, he also declared, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends!” Yes, His mercy is new and fresh each morning. My friend, as you walk this new and different road, grieve the pain as you seek His comfort. Cry out to him for help, and trust his faithfulness to get you through one day at a time. The Bible reminds us, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

This week, let us reflect on His loving presence and the strength that He gives in the midst of our not-so-perfect circumstances. Let’s also look for ways that we can show His loving care to others. See the blog below to find ways to volunteer and give to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive

In the Pit

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Ever felt like you were in a pit? When life or emotions seem to bring us down, it is difficult to see anything but the pit in which we dwell. Interestingly, did you ever notice that there are several instances in the Bible where people were in literal pits? Think about it. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers and then eventually sold into slavery. Not the Plan A Joseph had for his life. And then there’s a little known story about Benaiah who ended up in a pit with a lion. Seriously! The Bible tells us that Benaiah was a valiant warrior and performed many great exploits. The prophet Samuel recorded, “Benaiah struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion (2 Samuel 23:20).” Now that probably wasn’t on his schedule of things to do that day either.

David described God as the one who “redeems our life from the pit. Now perhaps you have felt as though your life or your day was in the pits and you could see no hope, no redemption and no way out.  I suppose that’s how pit-dweller Jeremiah felt. Jeremiah was one of God’s prophets who was thrown in a pit as a result of simply proclaiming what God told him to say. That doesn’t seem right! There he was obeying God, and he was thrown in the pit. Take a look at how low this Old Testament prophet must have felt as he wrote, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.”

But Jeremiah didn’t call it quits. He was able to keep his eyes on the Lord despite his circumstances. Here’s what he said after describing his situation, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:  The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him (Lamentations 3:19-25).”

Now there’s a person who has their eyes in a positive direction!  He’s not dwelling on his dismal circumstances in the pit, instead He is dwelling on the Lords faithfulness. His sight is going beyond what he can see, and looking to the hope of what a faithful God can do.  How’s your eyesight? In one of his most fearful moments David declared, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5).” Oh for the faith to look past the dark clouds of despair and see the sunlight of God’s faithfulness peeking through to bring us comfort and hope! May He be your strength today.

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This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women on sale this month for $5. Click here for more info.

Look for the Possibilities

Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is simple fidelity to watch what each day brings.  Albert E. Dunning

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It seems a bit ironic that a visually impaired woman would encourage others to have focus and vision. Helen Keller didn’t let her challenges keep her from looking at the possibilities in her own life. Born in 1880, Helen became both blind and deaf at nineteen months of age due to a childhood illness, yet she was the first blind and deaf woman to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and authored a dozen books and numerous other writings. In her book We Bereaved she wrote, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

Where are you looking? Have you allowed your eyes to zoom in on the frustrations that are right in front of you, making them seem larger than life? Or are you looking at the bigger broader picture – the picture that includes possibilities and hope? There are always possibilities around the corner, but we need to be looking for them instead of dwelling on what we don’t have. I like to say that the “B” in Plan B stands for beautiful. Often we think our Plan A was the perfect plan and that Plan B is second rate. Have you ever considered that Plan B is God’s Plan A and He can do a great work despite our disappointments and even our mistakes?

It may be difficult to conceive in your mind that anything good could come from hurt, pain and loss whether it is a physical, financial or a family tragedy in your life. We must be honest and grieve through the sadness that life brings. We don’t want to ignore our disappointment and hurt in our heart, but we also don’t want to close our mind’s eye to the redemption God can bring in the toughest of situations.  It may take time and perseverance. Plan B may be difficult, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. Perhaps the “B” in Plan B means “Be patient.” Allow God to do His work in His way, and do not despair for there is always hope.

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