“The true test of walking in the spirit will not be the way we act, but the way we react to daily frustrations in life.” -Rhonda H. Kelley
As I was doing some cleaning today, I came across an old notebook filled with notes from past sermons. As I began to read them, I realized that it was just what I needed today …
You know, God never said it would be easy. He never said we wouldn’t go through some tough trials and tribulations. I know that my faith has been tested more than just once.
When you’re going through hard times, it’s just so hard to not get angry, not just with the person(s) who caused the frustration in the first place, but also with God. It’s in these hurtful times that we need to trust Him to bring us through it.
I think about when Jesus was sleeping on the boat through the horrific storm. While the disciples were frantic and fearful, Jesus was asleep … at peace. His disciples woke up, showing where their faith truly lied. Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and rebuked the waters. And guess what, the wind stopped and the waves were still. AMAZING!
You see, that’s exactly what happens to us, to me, when we’re in the midst of a storm. We let our anxious feelings and fear consume our faith. We think “How will this ever be ok?”, “How will God ever fix this?”, or even “Where is God? Why is He letting this happen?”. Instead of questioning Him, we should be trusting in Him … I mean, He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save our sins. Jesus calmed the raging storm on the boat and can calm the storms in our own lives.
We work ourselves up (again, I’m guilty of this) and allow sin to creep in and take over our mind and heart.
“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (-Matthew 15:11)
I know from experience how hard it is to control your tongue and not say what you truly are thinking and/or feeling at the time of your anger. You just want to blurt it all out and tell them what you really think of them and get it all out there. While it is ok to be angry, it’s not ok to sin in your anger. The Bible tells us to be careful not to sin when we are angry (Ephesians 4:26). It’s a choice we make to give it to God and to choose to let it go.
Even Paul was upset in the Bible. There’s a story of a slave girl who was psychic. She would follow Paul and proclaim to all that he was there working for the Most High, laying out the road for salvation. This made her owners quite a bit of money. Finally, Paul was fed up with it. He grabbed her and cast out the possessing spirit that consumed her. Her owners were angered by this because now she was not able to make them money using her “psychic abilities.” Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. They were cuffed … hand and feet and put on high alert watch. Paul could have easily given up faith and asked why God would allow such a thing. Instead, he and Silas prayed and sang hymns. That night there was an earthquake causing the jail cells to open. The jailer had fallen asleep and awoke at this time. He almost killed himself, until Paul stopped him. You see, no one had escaped. This truly touched the jailer and he gave his life to Christ that night and was baptized, along with his family, that next day. The judges let Paul and Silas go and were ashamed of throwing them in jail in the first place. (Acts 16)
What would have happened if Paul hadn’t had faith? This story is an encouragement to me and hopefully to you reading this. Though we may go through more than one storm in our lives, we have to remember who is always in control of EVERY situation. It’s time we (again, me too) start acting on our faith on a daily basis; through good times AND in bad. Storms are inevitable, they are unpredictable, and impartial. We can choose to let fear run our lives or we can choose to give it all to God, not just part of it. We need to learn to lay it down at His feet and leave it there. We need to believe in Him and His ways, for they are above ours. It’s time we have faith and have peace.
This was written more for me than it was to “preach” to any of you reading this. Truth is, I’ve been going through some tough times lately and I’ve let it consume my life, my feelings and heart. I’ve sinned in my anger and let it dwell in my life. I know that God is my provider and my rock. I put my trust COMPLETELY in Him, for He will never let me down.
Lord, I thank You for never giving up on me and always loving me. I thank You for what You’ve done and what is to come. I know that You are above anything happening and any situation. Nothing is too much for You to conquer. I will trust in You and Your Word. Help me be a shining example of Your love, grace, and compassion. I love You!
“Do not fret because of evildoers; nor be envious of the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the Lord and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” -Psalm 37:1-4