June 24 / Proverbs 24 / John 17


Proverbs 24:10,16

If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

It seems a tired and worn out theme, but yet appears to be a stumbling block still–that Jesus did not come to win us a trouble-free life, but rather to reconcile us to God, and for God to make us like His Son.

To be made better, to be sharpened, we need to go thru trouble or suffering. It’s just the way it is. You can talk to thousands of people who have experienced this. Look at anyone considered a “great leader.” Rarely, if ever, do you find they had an easy, pain-free road.

A prime example of this universal truth is having children. Let me tell you, it involves suffering! But doesn’t it make you a better person? You must think beyond yourself, and serve someone else. Or be thrown in jail I guess.

You don’t have to like this fact of our existence God has set in place, but it is a foundational truth–no pain, no gain. I don’t know why God set life up this way, but who am I to ask Him why? And, really, what’s the point of asking? I think God wants our trust more than be the “Divine Answer Machine.” God tells us what is more than the why. And he can do that because…He’s God.

If we could learn to embrace Christ in our weakness, as He does us, and in the pressures and troubles, our lives would look much different to us. Because we would be looking at our lives much differently.

When you think about it, we Christians live much of our lives as functional atheists. We go thru something hard and act like it’s the end of the world, like we have no hope, like there’s nothing to learn but everything to suffer, needlessly, like Christ did not overcome the world, like all authority was not given to Him, like He is not there for us to call upon, like we’re not going to be OK. Shalom is always available.

A question I’ve asked myself and others for a few years now, inspired by Hannah Whitall Smith, is, “What if everything in your life is either done or allowed by God in order to shape you into the person He created you to be?”*

Would this not change your life? Would this not drastically transform your outlook on life each day? You would start looking for the lesson to be learned, the opportunity for growth, trusting you are in the care of the Good Shepherd, instead of complaining or collapsing into despair. This, of course, does not mean that nothing affects us. Jesus was pretty affected in the garden before His betrayer came with a group to take Him. But we always have hope in the goodness and omnipotence of YHWH, as did Yeshua.

It is of crucial importance that we go to God thru Jesus and Ruach (Holy Spirit) each time trouble arises to see what He would have for us. Train yourself in this discipline, and make it your new default setting.

Here’s what I know. That out of the worst year of my life came my greatest spiritual awakening. My awakening to God, thru Jesus. And I’ve not been the same since, experiencing the deepest joy and satisfaction I never knew.

He is there, always, as He promised.

Do you believe?

*We should be clear that we do not believe everything done by people is God’s will, rather that God can bring good out of the very worst.

John 17:6,26

“I showed them what You are like”

May we show everyone we come into contact with what God is like.

He is love. He is rest for your worn out soul.

Give people a place to stop striving and trying to prove themselves, and let them rest in who they are in Him.

In all you do, rest in Him in what He’s done.


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