Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Worries, Problems and Promises

"I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4

What are your difficulties in life? I can hear your answer now, "Where do you want me to begin, and how much time do we have?!" Sometimes it seems like the harder we try to model our life after God's instructions and live more Christ-like, the harder Satan tries to introduce troubles, trials, and tribulation into our lives. We anguish over the past, run like crazy through the present, and worry ourselves sick about the future.

The bad news is, it has been this way since the beginning of time. Throughout the work of the apostles and the early church until Christ's return, troubles in life are here to stay. We are no different, nor are we special; somehow exempt from the burdens of the world and its problems. 

If you looked back at your life would you say that your heartaches got harder and more frequent, or easier and less often after your submission to Christ? It has been my experience that after we truly submit ourselves to Gods will, these are the only two options that we have. Just as everything else in our life, when we surrender to God, nothing should remain "status quo", including heartache. If it does, then it is a sign that there isn't a complete surrender in your life. 

Neither answer is necessarily wrong, but rather what we choose to do about it. 

If you were to say that your troubles have magnified in intensity and frequency, that could be a sign that Satan recognizes your surrender to God, and he is doing whatever he can in order to dissuade you. After all, he walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). When a lion is on the prowl, he never comes in the clear standing straight up, where he may be seen. He crouches and sneaks, hiding where he isn't expected to be. Satan is the same way in life. That's why our heartaches hurt; they come from places we never expected them to be. 

If you were to say that they were becoming less frequent and painful, this might be a sign of maturity in your walk with God. When addressing the problem of worry, hurt and anxiety (which is at the core of every heartache), Jesus said in Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" As a Christian, this may be the hardest command for any of us to follow. It may be the one commandment that we will work our entire lives to perfect. The secret in achieving this, however, lies in the amount of faith and trust we have in God. If we work to become more trusting and faithful to God, the temptation to worry or give thought to heartache will subside. It may be the case that your faith and trust in God and His promises is growing, and the decrease in life's troubles are your tangible reward.

It is not that life has stopped happening for you. Life never stops happening. However, choosing to react to it in a negative manner can stop. 1 Peter 5:6,7 says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." God's Word tells us that we no longer have to react to the worries, hurt, anguish, trials and tribulations of the world; He is willing and able to take care of them for us. A worry free life! What a blessing a Father can give to His children! It is up to us to adopt and employ this life-coping technique.

When you read his letters, do you ever hear Paul complain about his lot in life? Though he has previously persecuted the church to almost extinction, spent a majority of his ministry locked in jail cells, was put on home arrest for years on end, being bound and shackled, and finally martyred for the cause of Christ, you never hear Paul complain about his life. In fact, quite the opposite. He never complains, but rather encourages others through his words so that they may cope with life's struggles and continue on with their evangelism. Paul was an optimist to a fault, but he was only following Christ's example.

Regardless of ho you answered in the beginning, it really doesn't matter. From this very moment, you can begin to build your faith and trust in the Lord, and His promises to take care of you (Matthew Chapter 6). The question that matters is, will you let Him?

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