The Lord and i have something special with roses.... He reminds me of how much pruning a rose needs....He also reminds me of the thorns on the stem, which are the steps up to the beautiful blossom. He reminds me that even though blossoms die...new blossoms will come forth. He reminds me to feed the rose with living water, and nourish it. There are certain seasons that a rose has to be cut back almost completely in order to bring forth new life that is strong. The roots of a strong rose bush never have to be torn up, only the plant needs to be pruned. He has promised me that one day I will be a beautiful rose because He will finish in me what He has started. The Lord tells me to never give up... He has to tell me this often through many different sources, because I do tend to get overwhelmed quite alot.
I have this poem framed as a reminder...
My God, I have never thanked thee for my thorn! I have thanked thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the Glory of the cross i bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that i have climbed to thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.
The Lord also lifts me up as I read His word.
As I worship Him in prayer and with music.
Also as I stay in fellowship.
When I am mildly bummed out I tend to soak in His presence through music of praise or soak in the Word. When I am majorly down I head for the woods and some one on one time away from everything but His creation found in those woods and Him (country boy at heart).
When I feel overwhelmed, I grab my music, and take a long walk; & see the new sky patterns He's made just for me, and as I walk I can see even the tiniest flowers most people dont see on a daily basis cause were in such a rush, and my friends are nearby, which reminds me that He still loves me & is watching over me; they send me a message from Father to remind me that He's still there & in control. If I seek Him early in the morning my days last longer and time isnt so important, I feel at peace in the silence of His presence. When I pray over my bible; & open it the message is just what I needed to hear to guide me.
God loves to work through other people in our lives. I am so thankful that we are the sheep of His pasture and that He is our Shepherd. He also is always there for us. When we feel like it is not as simple as it used to be, that is the time to make sure you are moving towards Him.
In difficult times we tend to withdraw or struggle to stay the course. In those times ost would rather curl up and hide instead of comig before our King and sitting at His feet. Especially in those times we need to be running to Him. In the Garden we find Adam and Eve hiding. After the resurrection we see Peter jumping out of the boat racing to Jesus even though He had just recently denied Jesus three times. There is no better place to be in the good times and the bad times than at the feet of Jesus.
God has come to you through His Son who died for you. He has come to you through the Holy Spirit Who now indwells you. He has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you. He is at work even now around you even if you cannot see it, feel it or recognize it. God has not moved. We need to draw near to Him as He calls us unto Himself as seen in James 4:7-10. He has opened the throne of grace to us (Heb. 4:16). Coming to Him is in attitude and focus, not distance. We are to come to Him in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24). The quickest way to experience the presence of God IMO is to begint o praise Him, right now where you are. Do not be detoured, but press through step-by-step and day-by-day.
There are several aspects to this. Let's start with the concept of freewill. People often want freewill and thank God for the gift of the liberties that He gives us, but then we turn around and complain when things seem to go bad either by our choice or someone else's choice. When we do that we are telling God that I want freewill as long as good things come of it and want you to be micromanaging everything when things are about to go bad. The next step would be our complaining that God is limiting us and not letting us do what we want, because if He stopped the problem before it ever happened you would never know what He kept you from. We also know that God uses trial to build us. Trials help teach us of our need for Him. In good times people often tend to drift away. The O.T. reveals this to us regarding the nation of Israel. When things were going well they frequently drifted away from God. We often see God bringing discipline upon wayward Israel and frequently after a period of time they woke up and called out to Him. Notice that when they called out that there was still a period of time before true relief came. Why? IMO it revealed whether they truly were calling out to God or just wanting a quick fix so that they could get on with their lives. Those who persevere through find the grace of God every time that brings relief. I repeat … every time.
Regarding our taking care of our children. We have to let them experience life. We teach our kids to ride a bicycle, but do not ride it for them. Thus, in the process of learning to ride they will fall from time to time. We send them to school to learn and may help them in the process but we do not learn for them. God has chosen to let us experience life in this fallen world. Not everything will be pleasant, in fact a lot of things will be horrible, but that is part of the cost of living in a fallen world and the freewill God has given to mankind.
Lastly, the things we go through. I ask myself 4 questions in progression when I find myself in a bad situation and stop at whichever one provides the answer.
1) I ask myself if I am in this situation because of my actions. Is this my fault. If it is I repent and seek to follow His path out of the trouble and return to walking in alignment with Him. If I see no guilt on my part I go to question #2.
2) What is God trying to teach me through this trial? What lesson(s) is attached to this trial that will help me to grow and become all that God is calling me to be. Trials can be viewed as opportunities when you know that God will go through the storm with you. If I do not see a lesson for me I move on to question #3.
3) What is God trying to teach others through my situation? Life is not all about me. This trial may simply be for the benefit of others. The key is how I will hold up. Will I be giving glory to God in the midst of trial while trusting that this is an opportunity to glorify God and enduring knowing that God is walking through the storm with me, the One who can calm the storm with a word. If the storm still rages there is work still to be done.
4) Sometimes I cannot see any of the above 3 and then simply have to rest in the love and sovereignty of God. He knows all things, has all power and is everywhere at once. This trial, as painful as it may feel, is not to difficult for Him to handle and control.
You may say that those 4 things are easier said than done. Agreed, but I have been practicing this for over 15 years and the longer I walk the easier it becomes to entrust the outcome to Him. He didn't change, I did. I am ever changing and being changed.
I will give you one last illustration.
When a hurricane is at sea (Storm in our life) headed toward a harbor, all ships that are in the harbor are sent out into the open water. If they stayed moored in the harbor they would be beat to death and sink. The ships are better suited for riding out the storm in the open waters trusting the construction of the ship, the crew and the wisdom of the captain. God has built you to endure the storm, He is the captain and you are the crew. Move through the storm trusting the captain and the construction of the ship. Your obligation is simply to be the crew that works the ship as it passes through the storm. Think about that last thought. Do you want the storm to pass over you or do you want to pass through the storm. The storms in life come. The choice is ours. I choose to engage the storms rather than to simply be moored and buffeted by the winds and the waves. This is part of that one step, one day at a time.
Is God's protection to be viewed only as successful if we never have problems? Is God's love less because we go through problems in life. No. We tend to base success and failure on our terms or by our standards. God is at work and is in control. He is walking with the person through the storm. Just because "faithful believers" may get to a place where they question God's love and protection for them does make it normal or make them right. Shall the clay accuse the potter?
The bad thing would be the last word if God was not actively working in the hurting and downtrodden. Today is not the end of the story. What if the Bible ceased being recorded while Jesus was on the cross? What if the resurrection was not also recorded and the prophecy that He is coming back was absent? When people are going through a storm the story is not finished. The last chapter is not written. Do we trust God to finish the story of our lives or do we assume that now is it? One must get to the point where they see beyond today and its trials and truly trust in the power and love og God to see them through to the end. One needs to soak in Romans 8 and the books of 1 John and Colossians.
God has not let anyone down. He has not dusted off His hands and said "That'sit, your finished and on your own." You have to trust Him with the finished product and trust that He is at work during the completion of the product.
One cannot blame God for their situation or life history. One can try but it leads to a dead-end. God is not at fault, but rather He is the one helping the hurting person through the process when they lean on Him.
One's past will never be changed, but one can be freed from it. Take steps toward Him day by day and allow the healing process to run its course.