You are reading this because you want to grow. Often the very situations we pray to be relieved from are the very situations that God is using for our transformation. The reality is that iron sharpens iron but never without friction. A pearl is formed through irritation. A diamond is formed through pressure. Precious metals are purified through fire. A pottery vessel must go in the oven before it ever ends up on anyone’s shelf. Time under tension is how muscle is built. Muscle is built by muscle being broken and then the muscle receiving time for recovery. All of these examples are examples of how God grows his people.
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.” (Psalms 4:1 KJV) Here David says you have enlarged me through distress. He didn’t say that God sent the distress. The scripture says that God enlarged David when he was in distress. If you are going through something, grow through it. The time under tension is meant to strengthen you by showing you your weakness. If you are going to receive God’s strength you must first have a revelation of your weakness. God’s strength is for those who know they are weak. Remember the scripture says,“let the weak say, I am strong.” God uses distress, sorrow, anguish, tribulation, and even trouble to grow us. In fact God uses suffering to settle us. When the roots of a tree are settled the tree becomes stronger. God is strengthening you through the struggle.
If you don’t deal with your disappointment it will deal with you. We all have problems; we all have dealt with pain. We all have experienced disappointments on some level. We have been lied to, lied about, falsely accused, abused and used. While the pain, problems and disappointments are real we must choose hope instead. Rodney McBride said, “Faith is often strengthened right at the place of disappointment.” If we respond correctly to disappointment we grow in faith, hope and perseverance. If we don’t respond to disappointment correctly we become discouraged, disillusioned and depressed. Here is an example. You were engaged, you thought it was going to work out but you found out that the man of your dreams was really a nightmare. You were hurt badly and the downward spiral began. You became disappointed, disappointment grew into discouragement, discouragement grew into disillusionment and that can cause severe depression or even self-destruction. The “you” may not really be you but it is “someone.” I gave you this role-playing scenario as a parable. The circumstances may be different but the negative downward spiral began in the place of disappointment. If you want to protect your future you must guard your heart.
Disappointment is a real place, it’s ok to visit but don’t live there. When you experience disappointment you are learning that maybe you scheduled the wrong appointment. Maybe you trusted the wrong person. Maybe you made a good decision with the right motives but the timing was wrong. Maybe you didn’t listen to a voice of wisdom and stability in your life. Maybe you did something you know you shouldn’t have done. For me personally, the deepest and hardest to handle disappointments are the ones that were my fault. The ones I could have avoided. If that is you what you will need to do is assume responsibility for your mistake or bad decision and learn a lesson from it, forgive yourself and move on. If you are feeling courageous share your story with someone else so that you can help someone avoid the pain that you went through. You can either have wisdom or regret, the choice is yours. If someone else is the source of your disappointment forgive them and put your hope in Jesus alone. Here are three things that I learned from disappointment. I hope my pain can be your gain.
After church on December 20th, 2015 at about 8:25 pm Rescue Church did an outreach to the bar across the street from the church. It is an El Salvadorian bar with bars on the windows. The music was loud, the lights were low, there was a man there drooling on himself. The owner was friendly, we were able to literally pray and give her prophetic words while she was bartending. We told her that God had a purpose for her life that was greater than passing out drinks. She allowed 6 of us to walk into her bar and hand out Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards to the people who were there. It was a pretty unique experience. Other people were prayed for, one guy gave my friend Joseph a hug and thanked him for the gift card. A few other guys were honest about saying they had already received a gift card when I went to give them one. A few others were prayed for. Some people didn’t want prayer, and a few didn’t want the gift card. All in all the people were pretty receptive considering how loud it was in the bar. Kindness is the seed that fertilizes the soil of men’s hearts. People respond to the gospel more when we extend a hand instead of pointing a finger. For a long time good hearted and well meaning people have pointed a finger at the world instead of extending a hand. It is important to remember that condemnation has never saved anyone. People are saved by grace through faith when we (the church) give them (the world) a reason to believe in Jesus. It is not us against them, it is us for them the same way that Jesus was for us.
When Jesus came to earth through the womb of a virgin, Israel was under Roman oppression. Israel was an occupied nation, their land was taken, they were heavily taxed and extorted, their women were raped. There was a genocide going on of the Hebrews boys. In that climate heaven responded in the opposite spirit. At the birth of Christ the heavenly host of angels declared “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” The gospel that we preach and the life that we live needs to communicate and demonstrate “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” The clearest expression of love and goodwill is generosity. Generosity gives prosperity a purpose. Your act of goodwill may just help someone find God’s will for their life.
In this blog you will find 8 reasons why you can have hope. If you are a believer in Jesus you are a prisoner of hope. In fact you are possessed by promise that is both now and forever. If you are not yet a believer in Jesus just know, he believed you were worth dying for. You are valuable to Jesus. No matter what you have done, no matter what you haven’t done. No matter what has been done to you, no matter what hasn’t been done for you. Jesus is saying to you, “come to me.” Again it doesn’t matter if you are a believer or a gay atheist, or even a terrorist. Jesus is saying to you, “come to me.” Everyone is invited, there is room in his house, there is food at his table. Your repentance (change of mind) is required, all you have to do is acknowledge your need for Jesus and immediately you have access to hope. If you are breathing there is hope. Hope has a name it’s – Jesus. In this life there are ups and downs, good times and bad times. Just know that in the roller coster of real life there is hope. Hope is an anchor to your soul. It gives you emotional stability. Emotional stability makes life worth living. Hope means you can live above your circumstances, it means your challenges don’t have to control you.
When you have wept until you can’t weep anymore just remember one day God will wipe every tear from your eyes. When you feel like a square peg in around hole and you’re walking through life trying to find your place, just remember that Jesus himself has prepared a place for you in his Fathers house. When you have dieted, exercised and have tried your hardest and done your best and you can’t lose those last 10 extra pounds just remember that one day you will receive a new body, one that is incorruptible. I think that means no pimples or stretch marks, not sure on that one. When you can’t reconcile why planet earth is so dysfunctional remember God will make all things new. I am not saying this so that you don’t try your best in this life. I am not saying this because I believe that you are a victim who can’t have victory. I am just reminding you that we have ultimate hope that trumps the temporary and is eternal. We also have hope in this life which is the anchor for our soul. Below you will find 8 reasons why you can and should look at tomorrow and forever with hope.
Hope in this life.
- Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. (Matthew 28:20)
- Jesus will keep you by his power. (1 Peter 1:5)
- Jesus will finish the work he began in you. (Philippians 1:6)
Ultimate hope, hope in the life to come.
- You will receive a new body. ( 1 Corinthians 15:52-54)
- God will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:4)
- There will be no more pain, no more sorrow and no more death. (Revelation 21:4)
- Jesus himself has prepared a place for you in Father God’s house. (John 14:2-3)
- There will be a new heaven and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17)