Monday, July 29, 2013

Spiritual Workouts

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."   Isaiah 43:2

Endurance.  Perseverance.  We hear these words, but usually we secretly hope we never have to exercise these spiritual muscles.  How we handle trials will determine whether our faith strengthens or fades.  We can sound lofty and idyllic all we want, but if we fade with the coming of trials, all our speech is for naught. 

The really hard trials, the loss of a child, a terminal disease, prolonged unemployment, the loss of one's home, etc., these things can break us, but that is not always bad.  When we are truly broken, we find we are not enough in ourselves to make it through.  It is at that moment that we either let bitterness and depression get a foothold, or cry out to God for help, which He is always faithful to give.  "He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler."  Psalm 91: 4

He may not always change our circumstances, and this is where it gets gritty, He did not promise to do that, He promised to see us through and never leave us.  .  As we grow in our faith, at first this can seem like little comfort and help, but as we grow and mature, we see the true gift that it is.  Banging our heads against the wall helps nothing and only gives us a headache.  Quietly trusting, even when our hearts are absolutely breaking, will bring us through to the other side with a confidence in our God that we had not before experienced.  Which leads to greater faith for whatever comes. 

We are strengthened, with an unshakable belief that God will never fail us, which enables us to minister to those around us.  Literally being a trail blazer to another sojourner in need of a scout to show the way.  I pray that we all experience this kind of intimacy with the Savior, resulting in an even closer bond with the One who is Everything.