Today, my prayer has been for God to show me what I am doing right. Also, to show me what I am doing wrong in my life. No areas is to be excluded. I want to know how I challenge myself to do better… be better.
I was able to begin checking out a new devotional book I received by Dr. Charles Stanley. It has an “ask” section where Stanley answered a believer’s question about the hardship he was facing as a result of sharing the Gospel with a co-worker. As I read and thought about what we are called to as believers, I am reminded that it does mean hardships. It means a different life–one with eternal blessings, but also temporary sufferings.
King David, in Psalm 7, wrote of the hardship he was facing–where someone was pursuing him. Often in life, there are others that desire to hurt us and be our “pursuers”. There are many who would love to destroy us. There are many who would love to bring cruel words to “tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces”. I know the great hope I have: the Lord is my shield and deliverer. I am not one who has to fight my own battles; The Lord fights my battles. I can boldly come to Him–trusting and knowing he doesn’t leave me or forsake me.When opposition comes, it is gut-wretching. It brings on great fears, and changes the way I think or go about my day. But, what about the hidden benefits of them?In Matthew 5, it says:”They are blessed who are persecuted for ·doing good [doing what’s right; the sake of righteousness], for the kingdom of heaven ·belongs to them [is theirs]. 11 “·You are blessed [Blessed are you; or God will bless you] when people ·insult [mock; abuse; revile] you and ·hurt [persecute] you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things ·about [against] you because ·you follow [of] me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. ·People did the same evil things to [They likewise persecuted] the prophets who lived before you.” (10-12)We will experience hardships, but it grows us and helps us to be reminded of this great treasure we hold inside. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead, because of God’s great love for us. He came to bring us salvation and new life. We can rejoice and be glad, because we know that we have the greatest kind of rewards in Heaven. We know we will have ALL we need! He is our provider. He will continue to walk with me no matter what fiery trial I will face.
We notice these hardships when they come.
But, do we notice how often we are protected from possible hardships?
Do we recognize how much we are protected by the Father from hardships or others’ words?
I think it is really easy to focus on what we don’t have. That is when we feel like we are lacking, whether it is friends, significant other, or family. It is really easy to notice those things especially around the holidays. Those are the things we notice. We seem to be better trained to notice ways we stand out from others in this world, rather than taking time to notice the great blessings we have been giving. I know he uses these times to teach me, but also protect me.
May we take the time to recognize the blessings and protection from the Father we have been given, but often overlook.