If you read my post, Monday Music ~ We Won’t Be Shaken, then you know change isn’t just coming for Larry and I — it’s here!
It’s in our face! We might as well enjoy it.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go ahead and read it now.)
As Larry and I have been adjusting to this big change in our life, we’ve been uncharacteristically calm.
Ok, let’s be real. I’ve been uncharacteristically calm.
If Larry were uncharacteristically calm, I’d be writing this from the hospital because it’d mean he’d gone into a coma.
In every life, a big change will bring a suitcase of emotions with it. Some of us just wear our emotions in brighter, showier colors, but we all feel them. We all face them.
Hopefully by now you’ve figured out that emotions often lie. We absolutely, positively can’t depend on them. They can manipulate us and convince us of things that just aren’t real.
Destructive emotions like anxiety, fear, anger, depression, and a host of others that scream for attention, are a very real pitfall of change.
Positive emotions like excitement, anticipation, and relief can even be a pitfalls when they interfere with our ability to focus and get the job done.
No matter what kind of pitfalls we encounter, there’s a way to avoid smacking into them full force and ending up with a flat tire.
We can’t avoid pitfalls — or at least I can’t — but when we see them, we can pave over them with these three things: Prayer, Faith, and the Promises of God.
Listen to what Martin Luther said:
“I have so much to do that
I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
~ Martin Luther
Martin Luther towers above most men in history because God made him great.
God could make him great, because Luther spent much time in prayer asking God to have His way with him.
Of course, we should continually have an attitude of conversing with God throughout the day. However, if all we ever do is pray on the go, we won’t go very far.
Prayer that changes us requires an investment of time — time that you can’t afford to skip.
If we could sit for an hour with someone who is already in life where we wanted to be, we’d grab it. Yet, we feel too busy to sit and listen to God for an hour.
If God is able to do exceedingly abundant above all that we could ask or imagine according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20) — and He is — why would we not take the time to sit and listen to Him?
Martin Luther listened and then moved with boldness where God led. I think we’ll all agree, he went pretty far.
Listen to these words of Jesus on faith:
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus.
“Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said,
“I do believe; help my unbelief.””
~ Mark 9:23-24
In another incident, a Roman centurion absolutely believed. He had faith that Jesus could heal his paralyzed servant from anywhere with just a word (Matthew 8:5-13).
He was right.
Another Roman official had faith more like the father in the Mark 9 passage above — he believed, but . . .
When the official came to Jesus, he begged Him to come to his home and heal his son (John 4:46-54). He had faith that Jesus could heal his son if Jesus were in his son’s presence.
Jesus healed the official’s son with just a word even though his faith wasn’t as deep as the centurion’s.
Regardless of how much faith the two men had, they both came to Jesus with the faith they had — and that’s what matters.
Jesus can take whatever faith we have and do staggering things with it and through it, if we’ll just come to Him.
As we keep coming to Christ, our faith will grow and strengthen.
3. The Promises of God
Here’s a compelling statement:
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
~ CS Lewis
Too many of us are like Esau in the book of Genesis. We’d rather have a bowl of stew now than a promise of God later.
Waiting on God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives can feel like torture. At times, it’s clear to us that our life is falling apart, when in reality, it’s falling into place. You have to break a lot of glass to make a mosaic window.
Larry and I have recently had the incredible pleasure to meet a man who knows about life falling apart.
Charles Livingston was released from prison on September 3rd after spending 33 years of a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.
Charles would be the first to tell you that going to prison for a crime he didn’t commit was a nightmare, but no matter how it felt at times, God remained faithful to His Promises and to Charles — even before Charles knew Him.
Charles came to know and trust in Christ in prison. At first he struggled to believe God’s promises, but through his devotion to studying God’s Word, he came not only to know His promises, but rest and rejoice in them.
Because he believed God’s promises, Charles was freer in prison than most are outside prison walls.
Every time Charles sat before the parole board and they denied him again, he rested in the assurance that God would release him when it was time. When he wasn’t released, He willingly accepted that God had more for him to do where he was.
Thankfully, the time was finally fulfilled — His independence day finally came.
God opened floodgates of support for Charles’ release. Even the prosecutor, who had once declared that Charles would never walk the streets of Columbia again, wrote a letter to the parole board in support for his release, stating Charles was not involved in the crime.
Only God could have done that, and He did it in His perfect timing.
Charles would probably rather not have had to go to prison, but the nice, simple life Charles was living at the time may have far too easily pleased him — to use CS Lewis’ words above — and he would have missed out on the real life: life in Christ.
The only reason we fret and worry in the midst of change is because we either don’t know the promises of God, or we don’t believe them.
The only way we’ll know the powerful promises God has for us is to spend time in His Word consistently — and if you’ve read my blog for long, you know I’m talking about spending time in His Word every day.
The more time we spend studying and loving His Word, the more it begins to change us from the inside out and hold us strong in the midst of change.
Change is coming in each of our lives, and sometimes it comes so hard and fast that we need those around us to pave some of those pitfalls for us. We all need a little help from time to time.
Pave your own pitfalls with prayer, faith, and the promises of God, and be there for others who need help paving their own pitfalls.
The pavement will smooth your road out so you can enjoy the ride — for a little bit.
Another storm will come and pound new pitfalls into your life.
You’re gonna need more pavement.
An exciting adventure will arrive that will take you off the main road onto unchartered territory.
You’re gonna need pavement for this, too.
Wherever God takes you, never stop paving. Prayer, Faith, and the Promises of God will take you exactly where He wants you to go.
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