Seasons of testing and trials often lead us to wonder where God is in the midst of it all. We can begin to worry and fear the outcome and reason for all of the pain; wishing that we would hurry up and just get through it. There will be seasons when we are called to act on the faith that we proclaim. It isn’t because God hates us or wants to see us in struggle. Quite the opposite! He wants to see us grow; He wants to see us mature and flourish. And though God does not promise that we won’t go through struggles, He does promise to be there with us, right by our side, while we endure it. He will be there to see us through it all.
“So do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. It is such a struggle to allow out fear to be replaced by faith, but there is so much strength to be found in doing so. God will strengthen you through it. And that does not mean that it will be easy to go through. Something that I am still learning, is that my walk as a follower of Jesus is not going to be easy, but it will absolutely be worth it. Every struggle, every tear, every heartbreak, it is going to allow for growth to take place in my life. God knows exactly what we need in order to reach a place in our lives that He has called us to.
Something I have been reading through is the book of Daniel, in chapter 3, when it is talking about the three men of God, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego and how they obeyd God’s commands to worship no one besides Him. (For those of you who are also VeggieTales fans like myself, “Rack, Shack, and Benny” hahaha!) Their story is what prompted me to write this blog today. They stood up for what was right and obeyed God, and for that, the King was going to throw them into a furnace to burn them alive. Can you imagine the fear of facing fire like that? And their response moved me so much today. Their response was, “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18. They didn’t doubt God’s power or might. They knew that God had the power to save them, but they decided to stand firm in the fact that even if they weren’t saved from the fire, their obedience to God was more important and that even through the flames, God would be with them. And indeed, God was there with them through the fire.
“Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who too up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘True, O king.’ ‘Look!’ he answered, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.'” Daniel 3:21-25.
God is there for us through the pain, through the flames of this world and the fiery lies the enemy throws at us. A friend of mine reminds me often that it is in our weakest moments that God’s strength is the most evident in our lives. Even in those lonely moments when it feels like God has left us all alone to face the pain on our own, God is still working on our behalf and He is there with you. He is never absent, though He may be silent. Oddly enough, this is something that was mentioned in my last blog concerning Prayer. That even when it seems like God has abandoned us, He is still working for the good in our lives, even when He is silent. (See Romans 8:28) He wants us to grow even closer to Him, and not just during the trials, but through them and when we gain our strength, it will allow us to mature and continue to seek after Him.
Something we should always remember is that when he says something, you can trust that He means it. He is never changing; the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) When He promises to strengthen and help you, He means it. He will give us strength to endure things that we are afraid of. If you are struggling with worry, fear, or doubt, take comfort. We serve a Might God! Turning back to Isaiah 23:3-4, it reminds us that “You (God) will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because the trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord himself is the Rock eternal.” We should allow Him to be our Rock, our strength! We must allow our faith to be bigger than our fear.
I personally need a constant reminder that God is there even when I am going through something devastating. I don’t know why terrible things have to happen to us in order for us to grow, but something I always revert back to is the analogy of the “Growing Pains” we experience in our legs as young children. In order for growth to occur, there has to be some pain and discomfort. But the whole time, our loving, compassionate Father is right there, holding our hands until the pain stops and we realized that we have grown. God is good all the time and in every circumstance; He is might and powerful and can stop any and all pain with the very sound of His voice. But even if He doesn’t, it doesn’t change the fact that He is still good! I want to leave you with one last verse to end this blog post. Isaiah 43:1-2, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Our God is mighty and Holy! I pray that you take away the good news the Lord intends for you through this message, and that you understand that yes, life is going to be difficult and yes, we will experience pain. But we can stand firm in the truth that God will be right there with us through it all, and we would not go through something that we cannot handle. No matter where we are, His grace is enough, and no matter what we face, His goodness will endure on our behalf. And as so perfectly put in the movie God’s Not Dead, “God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.” Brothers and Sisters, stay strong and know that I am praying for you. I am praying that the truth of the Word is evident to you throughout this week and that you can find peace in knowing that God is right there with you. God Bless you all and please feel free to email me at any time if you need prayer.