Recently I ran into someone I had not seen in years. Our paths crossed in many areas which kept conversation going between the two of us on a somewhat regular basis, even if in passing. I see her around town from time to time but never within talking distance, and it's usually while we are in transit on the highways and byways. This is a lady who has had a very rough life from the beginning, and it just seems to continue following her throughout her life. In spite of all the trials she has been through, and many of them somewhat life-threatening, she always seemed to have a positive frame of mind. For every challenge she had been through and shared with me, she always seemed to have a "But God....." following and seemed to maintain a certain sparkle in her eye, especially when referring to God and her faith in Him. This was something that always made me smile about her....that she always looked at God and His promises as her final say. It's as if you could see her body tense up with every trial or challenge shared then only to see relief come over her body whenever she mentioned her Heavenly Father....her final Comfort...her Hope.
I ran into her the other night and had a chance to catch up with her after many years. From the beginning, her face, as well as her whole demeanor, showed total despair. We talked for quite a while and she shared even more challenges that she has experienced in the time we've been apart. Going into detail would compromise her privacy, but let me just say that she has been through so much. My mind cannot even comprehend everything that she's been through. I can't even wrap my brain around it all. She was in a state of total despair...of hopelessness....and exhaustion. For every promise from God of which I tried to remind her, she came back with a statement that screamed "It's no use. It's over for me. What good will it do?" She said she just doesn't have any strength left to fight.
Isn't that how we all get at times? We just don't want to fight anymore. We get tired and exhausted and just have nothing left in us to fight anymore. Well, the good news is that we never had to fight in the first place! God does our fighting for us, if we let him. Exodus 14:14 says "God will fight for you; you need only to be still." However, in order to let Him fight for us we have to be looking to Him for guidance. We cannot pray and just expect God to take care of everything for us just because we ask Him. When we do this we are, in a sense, fighting the fight in our own strength: We pray...look for the answer...worry when we don't see an end in sight....pray again.....look for the answer....worry.....pray again... look for the answer.....worry.... It can be a never-ending cycle that will wear us out. That is exactly what the enemy wants to do. He is trying his hardest to wear out the saints! But Praise God!.....we can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives us the strength! (Phil. 4:13) We don't have to do it on our own!
Scripture DOES say "Ask and ye shall receive....seek and you will find." (Luke 11:9), but the key word in this verse is "seek." Webster's Dictionary defines 'seek' as "to go in search of." To GO in search of .... to try to discover. We must SEEK Him and His righteousness in all things. We must put feet to our prayers and take action according to God's will, for "faith without works is dead."
James 4:2 says "Yet you do not have because you do not ask." Following in verse 3 it says "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss. . ." We cannot continue to live a life completely void of God and expect Him to help us. He needs us to search Him out...to let Him know that He is our truth, our life and our way. To seek His righteousness means to be in search of His ways; to try to discover guiltlessness and sinlessness and blamelessness and act according to His divine nature. This doesn't mean we will not stumble nor fall. Scripture itself says we all fall short of the glory of God; But it's a heart issue. Where is your heart? Do you have a heart for His righteousness? Do you have a heart that wants to please God more than man? If so, then ....'Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find...."
Everything that happens in our life is Father-filtered. God does not cause everything that happens but He allows it. Why? To get us to a point where we look upward and seek His face and draw closer to Him. Everything in our life that happens in our life is for His glory. Period. It's not about us. It's about letting God's glory show no matter the situation or circumstance. Ultimately, the goal is to draw all men to Christ, however it may be and whatever it takes.
I had a long talk the other night with the lady I mentioned. For everything she mentioned that was wrong in her life, she felt it was something else just catapulting her into further destruction, which left her feeling hopeless. By the end of the night, however, she had reminisced with a smile on her face about the talks we used to have and how much she enjoyed them. This led to further delving into memory lane about where she used to go to church and the people she misses and how it was much better back then. She does not go to church now nor does she involve God much into her life. She is questioning God's existence due to everything that has happened in the past up to the present. I asked her, "Can you go back to the 'better' days and see where you were spiritually and how you were including God into your everyday life? Can you see the difference?" With a sigh that seemed to release total tension from her whole body she just answered with a nod of recognition that gently seemed to say "I get it. God has never left me. I have left Him." God never leaves us. He promsed in His word to never leave nor forsake us.
Yes....God will fight for us - we need only to be still. However, we must make Him the most important aspect of our life. This brings me to one of my most favorite verses of all times: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8. God never leaves us. If ever we feel that there is distance, it is because we are the ones who drifted away.
|"Draw near to God and He will draw near to You." James 4:8|
Just as parents long for their child to involve them in every aspect of their life, how much more God wants the invitation to be involved in every aspect of our life. There is no time like the present.