Articles

Misery Transformed

An eyelash is overlooked, until the moment one lands in our eye. The rubbing on our eyeball is highly irritating! Our concentration, our focus is broken until we can get that eyelash out.

One tiny hair doesn’t affect too many lives. Our neighbors don’t know of and don’t share in this irritation.

This is how misery can affect us, too. Often, we’re the ones who are hindered. Depending on the nature and severity of our current misery, our families may also feel repercussions. Due to this enormous distraction, we quit focusing. We pause on serving God and pause in our worship.

God’s enemy does not fight fair. God wants us, wants our hearts and has literally moved heaven and earth to prove it. Meanwhile, His enemy doesn’t care, at least not about us. The enemy is working to keep us disconnected from God. He preys on us, to find our weaknesses and magnifies them to keep us crippled and our eyesight hazy when we look to God.

Joseph sums it up well: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Gen 50:20, NLT.

But God!

Once we’re past the initial emotions that first occur in a state of misery, we have a choice to make. Are we going to marinate in what ails us, letting it permeate deep within? Or are we going to hand it over to God?

Giving it to God means trusting Him to do something. God is The Master Creator. He is very well experienced in making beauty appear. It is not unfathomable to believe that He can also take our hardest, most painful moments and transform them into something breathtakingly beautiful.

Trusting God with our misery does not mean that it is automatically canceled. The pain may not go away. The healing may not come as we expect. The relationship might never be restored. Our career situation may not change overnight. The circumstances may not change immediately.

What does change is our hearts. Rather than just focusing on what’s happening to us, let’s keep our hearts and eyes open to how God is working through us. When God is in it, our situation is no longer beyond the point of reasoning. All is not hopeless, all is not lost. God can use our experience to share hope, particularly with those in similar situations. God will use us to meet needs, to comfort and to love as He loves.

God can use our story, our misery, for ministry.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Confident Persistence

Every time we read a Bible story, there is something new that can impact us. Luke 7:36-50, a story about a dinner party, is no exception.

One of the characters in this passage is an unnamed woman, who was popularly unpopular. Well-known for all the wrong reasons, the court of public opinion didn’t have much to say in kindness to this woman. Regardless, she found herself at a Pharisee’s dinner party one evening, after hearing that Jesus was to be a guest.

She didn’t go for the meal or looking to cause a stir. She had one intention that evening.

To thank Jesus, personally.

As Jesus was eating and mingling with the other guests, she knelt behind him, at his feet. Though tears pour out through her eyes, the emotion came from deep within her soul. She didn’t just sprinkle Jesus’ feet; they were wet enough to require wiping.

Continuing her personal act of gratitude, the woman used her hair to wipe his feet. Then she poured expensive perfume all over them.

The snickering and whispering may have started when she was noticed, but Jesus spoke up. Though addressing Simon’s thoughts, Jesus used this moment to affirm this woman. He reassured her that her act of love and gratitude had not gone unnoticed by Him.

She was able to persist in what she was doing because she was forgiven by Jesus.

There is a confidence that we can have when we accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers and believe that our slates are wiped clean. The forgiveness that Christ offers is thorough. He forgives and promptly erases it from our record.

The forgiveness that Christ offers us in 2018 is just as thorough as it was for that woman. When we ask for forgiveness, He forgives and promptly erases it from our record.

Sadly, the people around us don’t choose to forget as easily as Christ does. There are also consequences that will be unavoidable at times. We may continue to hear snickering and whispering anytime we enter a room. These realities are temptations from the enemy to stop us from believing God’s truth about us.

This is another great reason why we need to give prayer and the study of God’s Word priority in our lives. We need His truth to become well-rooted in our hearts and minds. God will help us to discern His loving voice through the distractive cacophony and cling to His truth.

Shift Your Focus

Simplicity is a potential theme idea for the first thirteen verses of Matthew 6. God wants us to serve people wholeheartedly and without fanfare. Calling attention to our good deeds is not a requirement of God. We do not earn extra favour with God because of how many good deeds we attempt to cram into our day. We should serve from a overwhelmed heart because God’s grace has first overflowed in us.

Simplicity is applicable in all areas of our lives, including prayer. God tells us to just be ourselves before Him. He wants us to speak with the language we’re comfortable in, using words we can easily spell and define. There are things that God can reveal when our hearts are not clogged with charades and pretenses. The second half of verse six jumps out.

The focus will shift from you to God.

Admittedly, the majority of our personal prayer time is often self-focused. Our intentions for prayer, usually, are to get answers from God. Sometimes the need is ours, be it for health, financial, evidence of His omnipresence and many other purposes. Other times, we pray, interceding on behalf of someone else. We believe that in saying the right words or quoting the right Scriptures–God’s own words–back to Him, He will have to respond in affirmation of our requests.

And God does want us to come to Him. He loves to hear from us. Yes, He most certainly does meet our needs and answers many of our prayer requests.

God also has a distinct simplicity to His complex character. He wants to connect with us. He desires a deep and meaningful intimacy with every single person He created. The best way to get to know someone well is to spend time in their presence.The best way to get better acquainted with God is to spend time in His presence. In addition to talking to God, we need to also listen for what He has to say.

When was the last time we asked ‘How are you today, God?’ When was the last time we prayed and but didn’t asked for anything?

Let’s spend time being with God, basking in His presence, as simply and honestly as we can manage. Let’s shift our focus to God.