Never give up!

The blessedness of perseverance.

a-journey-towards-life

Let us know; let us press on to know the Lordhis going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth. -Hosea 6:3 (ESV)

Most Christians live their lives in the aftermath of idolatry instead of dwelling upon the heights of God’s destiny for them. Like the nation of Israel, we are often weighed down, lost, and hopeless; yet, God is not calling us to live lives of spiritual oppression and slavery. We are called to break free from the chains of self and to live lives of victory, strength, and overwhelming joy! The nostalgia of our conversion experience is not enough to carry us to the Promised Land of God’s glorious destiny for us and He never intended it to be. There is so much more He has in store for us if we fully desire to know Him and to let go of anything that hinders us from walking in the most intimate fellowship possible with the Father. If your experience as a Christian is anything like what I’ve encountered on my own journey since I’ve turned my life over to God, you probably know what it’s like to live a life of confusion, frustration, and defeat. You probably had a dramatic and powerful experience when you started your relationship with God but would you say that your life since then has been the most fulfilling adventure of purpose and triumph on the narrow path of the Bible? Mine wasn’t and I couldn’t help but ask myself again and again why. Sometimes it hurt so much to ask that question that I would try to ignore it’s tendency of resurfacing time and again. The verse from above is from the book of Hosea, a book in the Bible that has a lot to say to us even if we find ourselves many generations after the time it was written. We are not that different from the nation of Israel. The chapter that it is taken from is actually a chapter that talks about the unfaithfulness and unrepentance of the people of God. Can you relate to that? But isn’t it interesting that in such a chapter like that you would find one of the verses in the Bible that have been to me a source of rich encouragement and hope? We are called to persevere in our pursuit of God even if He seems unreachable because He will not hide Himself from us forever. In reality, our sins are what hid God’s face from us and He will often allow us to sense His absence for the very reason of realizing how far we have strayed from Him. Just as spring will undeniably come after even the cruelest and longest winter- so will God respond to our pursuit of Him! ALWAYS. I know how hard it can be to wait upon God, especially when you feel the guilt of your distancing from Him. The enemy loves discouraging us with our inability to remain completely faithful to God. The truth is, we can’t. We can, however, choose to bring our unfaithfulness to God and to ask Him to give us a repentant heart. Even if it takes longer than expected, He sure answers our cry for help! There was a season in my life a couple years ago when God seemed millions of miles away. I remember one day when I pulled away from the noise of life and the weight of my difficult circumstances by going to a desolate place somewhere in nature to just be quiet and try to find the strength to cry out to God. I felt so hopeless and so distressed. The sad thing is that instead of feeling frustrated with myself, I rather felt more frustrated with God. Oh, how our self has a way of lying to us and keeping us away from our Creator! At that time, I used to carry around with me a little brown Bible where I would highlight and make notes on the sections of the Bible that were encouraging to me during that season of intense brokenness and despair. It was then that I opened my Bible to a random place were I found the words of Isaiah 26:16-19, O Lord, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O Lordwe were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.” As I read that passage, I realized that I needed God’s discipline and that even the uncertainty of my circumstances were carefully allowed into my life in order to humble and purify me. I knew I wasn’t alone in my pain and loneliness! Even though that passage talks about the people who died in the midst of the battle- my life also seemed like a lifeless cemetery. I couldn’t believe God knew exactly how I was feeling and there is even something more breathtaking than that! He had a purpose for allowing such pain and chaos into my life. It was carefully planned in order to cause me to come to a place of complete repentance and dependence upon God by letting go of every idol that took His place in my life. Maybe you find yourself in a season of confusion and pain and you can’t seem to find the strength to go on. Don’t give up! God’s destiny for your life goes so much deeper than the valley. His destiny for your is the heights of Canaan, from where you can see the beauty of His purposes for you but also feast upon the richest blessings. He is the God that leads us unto straight paths. His plans are not to harm us but to give us a future and a hope. Though He humbles us, He will never destroy us! Take heart today and press on to know the Lord! He answered me and He will not fail to answer you! Will you choose to allow this season of waiting to be used by God in order to mold you or will you choose to resist His work of grace? Blessed are the hearts that submit to the faithful hands of the Potter…

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