At our recent Nourish Retreat we looked at the Book of Joel. I was reminded that, with our God, it’s never too late – there is hope.
Prior to coming into relationship with Jesus, I was broken! A painful, sometimes violent childhood had taken its toll, and had left me with trust issues; I would never allow myself to appear weak, I would never show vulnerability and I put walls up. This made it very hard for people around me to love me. I just wouldn’t really let anybody get too close. At times, although I was surrounded by family and friends, I felt alone, and misunderstood.
Instantly, after entering into a relationship with Jesus, I started to heal. My heart started to feel whole, little by little the walls came down, and I felt “safe” enough to show the real me.
Through His teachings, I have learnt to trust, that it is ok to be vulnerable – for when I am weak, He is strong. I feel protected, safe, understood and never alone. Most importantly I have Hope. Hope that I can break the cycle and bring light into the dark areas around my family.
I can’t speak for all of you, but my relationship with God has felt like a rubber band.
On one end is God, around which the band is securely fastened. On the other end is me. At times, I stretch the band to its limits, but it never comes unfastened from God. This is where I feel tension, stress, anxiety, overwhelmed, and I feel a lot of fear. Other times, it is so close to God that there is no tension in it at all. This is where I feel the most fearless. It seems as though I go back and forth a lot.
But no matter how far I stretch, it is the “tension” that is created by not listening to God, or being disobedient, or not surrendering my burdens that reminds me that I need to “let go” of my ways and turn back to God.
We’ve all had days (and maybe even years) when life just doesn’t seem to be going our way! You can feel like you take hit after hit. Struggles in life are inevitable, but destruction is optional. Remembering the following can make all the difference.
1. Remember that your Character should always be stronger than your Circumstances.
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. In those moments when I choose to stop complaining and instead give thanks to God for the good in my life, the parts that seem bad start to seem much less significant. Choose to keep a positive attitude and thankful heart regardless of what you’re going through.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
2. Remember that your Struggles always lead to Strength.
Every difficulty in your life, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strengthand faith in you if you let Him! All your pain has a purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
3. Remember that God’s timing is always perfect.
God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect! Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own.
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
4. Remember that God will never leave your side.
You may feel like you’re going through this struggle all alone, but from the moment you ask Jesus to bring you into God’s family, He will be by your side to the end so never lose hope!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
To finish, I just wanted to encourage you that, It’s never too late to turn to God, and it’s never too late to build your faith. He doesn’t destine us to be dammed. God created us for glory, for greatness.