Have you ever experienced a blessing just because you believed what someone said? As a child my mother spoke often of my potential in life and I believed her. Although at the time I didn’t have much to show for what my life would become, I knew that her opinion was sincere and from the heart. I also knew that she believed that nothing was impossible for God.
After Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel announcing the birth of Jesus she set out to visit Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth was a picture of faith and God knew that Mary needed to be encouraged and affirmed in what was being asked of her. She probably had no idea of the depth of affirmation that she would receive from Elizabeth.
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)
Mary believed the message sent from God by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive and bear a son who would be great, the Son of the Most High, the Savior of the World.
Mary asked in faith how this would come about, knowing that she was a virgin and the angel Gabriel explained. Then she submitted herself to the process that God had chosen.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Her blessing began with believing in God’s promise, submitting to His process and trusting Him to fulfill His words.
What has God promised you? Whatever the circumstances He gives us faith to believe and will bless us as we submit to His process towards fulfillment.
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)
How can we know that all will be well in this life and journey with God? How can we allow challenges in this life to grow our faith instead of weaken our faith? Last, how can we know that we are on the winning side in our journey with God through life on this earth?
We must take God at His Word and believe in His promises. We must accept that His way of leading us and working out life issues will often take a different approach than we might take. His thoughts and ways are far above our ways of thinking and problem solving.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9)
Once we embrace this truth we can believe God’s promise that all will be well with us. In love, He links this promise with obedience, specifically, obeying His commandments.
“But this command I gave them: Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” (Jeremiah 7:23)
Trusting and obeying God keeps us in a position of triumph. Jesus overcame everything in this world that could possibly come against us. He is Immanuel, (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23)
Walk in all the ways that God commands you and He promises to be with you.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal possession…” (2Corinthians 2:14)
God gives a strong warning about the stability of our faith in the Book of Isaiah when the people still had an opportunity to hold fast to His divine promises to spare them from destruction. At the core they were struggling with disbelief.
“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” (Isaiah 7:9b)
Near the end of King David’s life after God had delivered him out of many life threatening trials, betrayals and warfare he accounted his triumph to his faith in God and His divine promise to establish his throne forever;
“As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity…” (1Kings 1:29)
God also gives a strong warning for the unstable in faith. He connects instability in faith to a lack of trust in His wisdom to lead us through adversity.
“But let him ask in faith with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)
Jesus warned us that we would have trouble in this world. He also encouraged us to take heart and trust in Him who has overcome the world. In other words, He has already made provision for us to triumph! We are called to trust the process of being led and God’s readiness to help at every turn of events.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
Be firm in your faith and God will deliver you out of all your troubles!
Life has a way of reminding us that we are not smart enough, strong enough or clever enough to get ourselves out of a dilemma that we or others had something to do with creating. Everyone needs the security of knowing that when we get into a troubling situation that there is someone more powerful and able to help when we’ve exhausted our resources and stand powerless, in need of intervention. God is our refuge and He always has a good plan for our lives when we place our trust in Him.
“He will send from heaven and save me; He will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out His steadfast love and His faithfulness.” (Psalm 57:3)
My world suddenly changed a couple of days ago when the unexpected happened. I was reminded that God is my refuge. He is my strong tower that cannot be shaken. He is my protection from danger and steadfast love, faithful to meet my constant need for provision. My sure foundation when everything around me is changing, He is my Rock and the lifter of my head.
“O my Strength, I will watch for You, for You O God, are my fortress.”
“My God in His steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.”
God is our refuge and our strength, trust in Him to bring triumph over your enemies!
Keeping a steady walk in life requires placing our trust in someone greater and more powerful, one who has gone before us and knows the beginning and end. That someone is God.
On the day when God delivered David from the hand of all his enemies, even from the hand of King Saul he testified to the One who had seen him through every trial, death threat, isolation from his family, being treated as an outcast which meant that he could not enter the place of worship.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my Savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:2-4)
David believed that God was with him even in his years of fleeing the death threats of King Saul. He also knew that God had anointed him king and trusted in God to establish his kingdom in time.
David was faithful to serve God during those years of waiting and chose to humble himself and learn the skills that he would need to be a great king. He learned how to follow God:
“For You are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness.” (2 Samuel 22:29)
He learned humility:
“You save a humble people, but Your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.” (2 Samuel 22:28)
He learned where his true strength came from:
“For You equipped me with strength for the battle, You made those who rise against me sink under me.” (2 Samuel 22:40)
He learned the wisdom and blessing of obedient living:
“The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands He rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God.” (2 Samuel 22:21,22)
And once God had established David as king, he could look back and see that God had fulfilled every promise spoken over his life and he offered this praise to God:
“This God–His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” (2 Samuel 22:31)
Keep steady in the Lord, His way is perfect and He promises to save a humble people.
What has God promised you and are you living in the hope of seeing it fulfilled? So often God’s best in life requires endurance which in itself will test your faith. This testing can be costly but is necessary as it works within us the character qualities that may be lacking.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1,2)
God is more interested in our preparation along the way toward fulfillment that in the end we are equipped to sustain all that He has promised us. Until you receive the promise it is safe to assume that you are in the process of being prepared. Embrace God’s timing and you will grow in character, integrity and the wisdom you will need to maintain the fulfilled promise.
“…not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” (Joshua 23:14)
God is a promise keeper.
Long ago when life was hard and my trust in God was being challenged I ran across this promise from the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:10;
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Like a sponge I absorbed this word and my faith walk began to take on the reality and wisdom of a long term view, critical for those who have truly anchored their hope in God through His Son Jesus Christ.
What I have learned through the events of life, both good and bad, that there is beauty in all circumstances when looking through the eyes of trust and faith. Instead of trying to bear through hardships in our own strength and understanding we are encouraged to;
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Endurance implies a journey worthwhile that by faith gives God opportunity to make something beautiful of our lives. As long as we live in this world life will be filled with joy and laughter, heartache and suffering. Take God at His Word and trust Him all the way to the end, He is the only One who can make all things beautiful in its time.