Friday, October 24, 2014

Troubled Waters

A few weeks ago, one of my good friends suggested that I write a post centered around "Trusting in God even when times are hard." 
I hadn't given the post much thought at all till yesterday during my bible time I randomly came across 2 Corinthians 12:9 (emphasis are my own) 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 
Therefore, I will boast ALL the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, THEN I am strong."

Whenever you read "troubled waters" a certain time of your life probably came to mind. We've all experienced different levels of darkness, hardship, and hurt.
No matter what level you've endured, or maybe you're even going through something right now, we all know what it's like to feel hurt. 

As easy as it is to read 2 Corinthians 12:9 and think "Oh, I want to be like that when I go through hard times like Paul did!"
It is a very different thing to live it out.

I can't think of one difficult thing I've been through that I started out with the mindset of "This is making me stronger?! Awesome!!" 
No, they usually start out with loads of complaining, tears, confusion and anger.
Another verse, resembling 2 Corinthians 12, is James 1:1 where James writes: 

"Consider it pure JOY, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

Joy....Crazy, right? I've often read this verse in the "troubled waters" times of my life. 
I've thought many times how nearly impossible it is for me to feel "joy" in those times. 
Because when I think of the word "joy" I coincide it with happiness, laughter, smiling, etc.

But no, it wasn't the verse that was messed up. It was my definition of joy. 

Yes, I'm aware of how the dictionary defines joy. 
But I'm not talking in terms of dictionaries here. I'm talking in terms of my heart. I don't think of joy as just an emotion anymore. It's a lot more than that. As I wrote about in my very first post: joy is a choice.

I think that joy is the ability to endure all the pain knowing it is making me stronger. Trusting in God, not my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:8) 

My eyes may be filled with tears and my heart screaming out with fear and confusion.
I may have not smiled in a month. But I will 
It's okay to be hurt, confused, and angry. The world does that to us. 
But even when life is hard, and it hurts, and I don't understand why things are happening the way they are, I still have joy. I still have hope. A reason to keep pressing on. 

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

Is that verse alone not motivation enough to keep pressing on through your troubled waters? It is for me.

To quote the very popular Hillsong lyrics from Oceans:

"...In oceans deep
my faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and you won't start now.

...Spirit lead me where my trust is without boarders. 
And my fail will be made stronger in the presence of my savior."

Now, look over those lyrics again and really think about them this time. No matter how many hundreds of times I play that song the lyrics never fail to touch my heart.

He has never failed and he won'

Sometimes the storms are just going to knock me flat on my face. Coming out of each storm, I will never be the person that I was coming in.

I can let the storms of my life change me in two very different ways. 

I can let Satan use it to break me down and drown me. 

Or I can let God use it to make me stronger.
To draw me closer to Him. 
Above the troubled waters. 

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