Read Philippians 4:4-7
It’s three o’clock in the morning. You are lying awake in bed, crying out to God for sleep, but for some reason, sleep just doesn’t come. After paying for gas and childcare for two children, you draw the conclusion that you are actually losing money by going to work. The wear and tear from the emotional and physical exhaustion has you stretched beyond anything you thought you could ever be capable of handling. You doubt that you have made any right decisions at all. Migraine, digestive problems and chronic fatigue due to stress and lack of rest make it difficult to perform even the simplest tasks.
The “Sabbath” day consists of getting the children up and ready for church, attending the morning service, coming home, fixing lunch, and then back to the evening service. What kind of rest is this? Then, the pastor has the nerve to tell you that no matter what you are going through, you can find something to praise God for. He tells you to rejoice and be glad. It’s enough to make you want to head for the door and never return. (Or perhaps you may even have to repent for the things you are thinking you would like to do to a man of the cloth!)
You have requested so much help from so many and are too ashamed to ask anymore. You want to give back for all those who have sacrificed time and money to help you, but you are not able. You feel such a sense of total defeat and it doesn’t help that your heart is still in shreds from open wounds that have not had time to heal. This is when praise is a sacrifice and this kind of praise is of the greatest value to God. It’s easy to praise Him when everything is going good. It’s when you are at the lowest point that it becomes the most difficult, yet the most necessary. The thing you need to do the most is the thing you desire to do the least. Yet, it is the very thing that will give you strength, peace and rest. But, how is this even possible? It is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit of the living God and can be found in just taking a moment in prayer. (To describe what I do in this situation, however, it would be more accurate to say, “fall down on your bed, ball your eyes out and cry out to God”.)
When you place your trust in your boss, your income, your friends, even your church, you risk disappointment. God never fails. He may provide in ways you don’t understand. You may not see instant gratification. But, in every situation, when you sincerely put your hope in God, and pray with a spirit of thankfulness, you will not be able to keep from praising.
Don’t think for a moment that He is unaware or that He doesn’t care. Do not allow the deceiver to gain a stronghold by buying into his lies. God is especially close when our hearts are broken and our bodies are weak. His strength is made perfect through our weakness. Therefore, He is glorified as we draw upon that strength. It is through hardship that we learn how helpless we are apart from Him and how much we need Him. This in itself is a reason to rejoice. When we trust Him, really trust Him, we can truly find peace in the midst of the worst circumstances. We are able to let go and let Him carry what only He is strong enough to carry. Then, and only then, will we find peace and rest.
How can we experience the strength of God without realizing how hopeless we are without Him?
Shot of Flavor
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit .” (Psalm 34:18)