Saturday, October 8, 2011

If The Lord Had Not Been On Our Side

Sometimes the hardest question with God is, "Why?" Why did you allow that to happen? Why am I going through this? Why did you not protect me? From our limited perspective these are reasonable questions. Who wants to face hardship? Who wants to experience lose? Who wants to suffer with a broken heart? Who doesn't want a perfect life? In the midst of the storm it is hard for us to comprehend that God has a different perspective of things. It is hard to remember to trust. It is hard to be thankful and to praise. But hard does not mean impossible.

Some of you have experienced what it is to fly, to be far above the clouds and to have nothing but sunshine. You can see for hundreds of kilometers in a single glance. It's like that for God with our troubles. Even though he walks in the storms with us to lend us strength and support, encouragement and guidance, he is also far above the troubles of this place so that he can see everything that is coming. We may think that we are being hit hard but we have no idea the extent of the storm he is protecting us from. We have to trust him and thank him that the little bit that he is allowing us to experience is for our benefit. The psalmist understood this:

If the LORD had not been on our side
   when men attacked us,
 when their anger flared against us,
   they would have swallowed us alive;
 the flood would have engulfed us,
   the torrent would have swept over us,
 the raging waters
   would have swept us away.

Praise be to the LORD,
   who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
(Psalm 124:2-6)

"If the Lord had not been on our side" is something we should think about instead of complaining about our circumstances. Too often we give up our gratefulness with the slightest sign of trouble. This isn't faith, it's convenience. A grateful heart keeps our head above trouble and allows us to see with spiritual eyes. Fear cannot stick to us, neither can depression, anxiety, and there is no spirit of giving up. We either take Jesus at his word or we stop pretending that we know him:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." (John 14:1) 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

If we truly love Jesus as much as we claim then we will set aside our complaints and trust him, because that is what love does. In Isaiah 43 there is a beautiful passage that expresses God's heart toward us. Let this be an encouragement to you:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
(Isaiah 43:1-3)

The Lord has done so much for us and continues to do so every day; our hearts should be overflowing with gratitude. Of course in the overflow of a grateful heart we praise our Jesus. We lift up holy hands to him and sing. We shout and dance as we allow his love to wash over us again and again. This isn't just a Sunday experience but every day of our life for the rest of our lives, in sunshine and rain sort of experience. Don't fail to offer him your sacrifice of praise today as he takes you by your hand and guides you through whatever storm you are facing. We don't need to know why when it is enough to know Daddy is here.

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