From Adversity to Destiny
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position" (James 1:9).
Most of us avoid pain. We keep our medicine cabinets loaded with pain relievers. We couldn't imagine major surgery without an anesthetic. We are so averse to pain that we think God must desire that we will experience pain-free lives. After all, a loving God surely wouldn't want us to suffer pain, would He? Although God takes no pleasure in our pain, we have to acknowledge that He sometimes allows painful circumstances to occur in our lives in order to shape us and make us more like Christ. Sometimes our times of despair turn out to be a much needed light into our soul.
I once came across the following poem written by an anonymous Confederate soldier, a devout young man who fought in the American Civil War. The lines of this poem express the soul of a man who has learned to view his times of adversity from a different perspective:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed.*
Do we trust God to lead us even though we can't see the pathway in front of us? Do we trust Him to be all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful? Do we believe He does all things well? As Paul wrote, "Everything that does not come from faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). That's why God leads us through the dark places.
Only in the darkness do we learn to walk by faith.
Oh, how I praise You Lord! You heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. You count the number of the stars and call them all by name. Great are You, Lord, and mighty in power. Your understanding is infinite. You lift up the humble, and cast the wicked down to the ground. I praise you Lord, you who covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth; you who makes grass to grow on mountains and gives food to beasts of the earth. Praise you Lord, the One whom I trust to heal my hurts and bind up my wounds...and provide my needs. Bless you, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Prayer of an Unknown Soldier," quoted in Austin Pryor, "Trusting God to Answer Our Prayers," Crosswalk.com. http://www.crosswalk.com/family/finances/1386973.html (accessed April 24, 2006).
The Pit of Pride
The fifth and the final reason your life may be in the pits is pride. We always need to check our hearts for pride.
In Isaiah 14:13-15 we read,
For you have said in your heart: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.
This passage records God's rebuke of Satan when he was kicked out of heaven. Satan was talking real big with pride oozing from every word that he said.
But God said, "That's what you think. I'm going to throw you down to the pit." And because of the pride in his heart, Satan will indeed be thrown down to a pit for all eternity (read Revelation 20!).
Pride is a dangerous thing. In fact, so dangerous we are told in 1 Timothy 3:6 to not put a novice into a leadership role in the Church, lest being puffed up with pride, he or she falls into the same condemnation as the devil.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride is a weird thing. It's like bad breath. Everybody seems to know you have it before you do! But pride will not only get you into a pit, it will destroy you.
I want to challenge you today. If your life is in the pits, check to see if it is because of your pride. If so, humble yourself, otherwise you are not going to get out!
Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God
All creation cries out with longing
With groans only You can comprehend
And with wisdom You always answer
And give the words of life
And Your glory shines all around us
Your faithfulness shown for all to see
When we think of all of Your wonders
The beauty of Your plan that's been revealed
When we walk in Your light
When we walk in it
Let Your glory fill this land
Lift high the King of kings and great I am
Jesus, You are the way
You are the way
We can see the works of Your loving hands
With the hope and peace not made by man
When You poured out Your grace and Your mercy
And You held out Your arms, so we could see
You bled for all mankind
And set the captives free, yeah
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders