Strength In Struggle

 

depression teen girlThere have been way too many times in my life when I felt like all was lost. The pain that comes through suffering is almost devastating. There are times when I find it hard to lift my head because of what I’m facing. I’m still learning that there is ALWAYS Hope because of Creator God. He is NEVER too tired or too weak to help. He is NEVER too busy to listen. He comes to my rescue quite often.

David was in need of rescue. He and his men had gone out with the Philistines preparing for battle only to be sent home because the leadership didn’t trust him and his men to fight against his own countrymen. Upon arrival home the devastation was overwhelming. Check this out…

3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured – Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:3-6 NIV)

That last line of the passage jumped right in my lap as I read it. I needed to be reminded that my Source of strength can ALWAYS be found in the Lord God. I don’t always look to Him first – I often try my own way. I’m learning that He NEVER leaves and He’s ALWAYS the best Source of strength that exists. I’m so thankful for His rescue of me.

I immediately thought of this song by Hillsong called: Came To My Rescue.

1 Falling on my knees in worship

Giving all I am to seek your face

Lord all I am is yours

2 My whole life

I place in your hands

God of Mercy

Humbled I bow down

In your presence at your throne

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

3 My whole life

I place in your hands

God of Mercy

Humbled I bow down

In your presence at your throne

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

B In my life be lifted high

In our world be lifted high

In our love be lifted high

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confidence

Prepared Not UnpreparedThere are times that I can walk into a room with confidence because I have done the work and I’m prepared for this meeting that I’m about to have. I have researched. I have revised. I have discovered options. I have drilled down the info to the bottom line. Then there are other times when an impromptu meeting is called and I don’t feel prepared at all. I don’t have any answers – just a lot of questions. I really hate feeling “caught off guard” but it happens. I can make it through those times gathering information and then making preparations for another opportunity to connect and deliver the details.

Education and preparation can give confidence. The Presence of God in me trumps all the education and preparation that I have. His Spirit can give wisdom and insight that no amount of education can provide.

The people of Israel were about to face 7 nations that were stronger than they were – but the Lord was with them. The Lord’s Presence inspired and motivated them. Moses challenged them to reflect on where they’ve been as they move forward. Check this out…

17 You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.

21 Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. (Deuteronomy 7:17-19,21 NIV)

Sometimes it helps to take a look back at where I’ve been and where I’ve come from to notice God’s hand orchestrating the story of my life. When I’m in the middle of struggle, hardship or deep pain it’s hard to see His Hand or feel His Presence. He is always there with me. As I take a look back and then look forward, I can face today with confidence that confuses people who don’t know Him. The world can be collapsing around me, but I’m holding tight to Him. I have confidence that He will walk me through the darkest valley and dance with me on the highest mountain. He is a GREAT & AWESOME God Whose Presence in me changes everything!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Moan & Groan

Young man suffering pain on his chest, isolated on whiteI think “moan and groan” might be related “whine and wail”. When I think of these words, the word anguish comes to mind. I’ve moaned and groaned in a state of desperation when my life was broken. I’ve whined and wailed in deep pain and struggle. These are not great places to be. I’ve since learned that to avoid being in these “places” requires a choice on my part. I must choose optimism and hope to see past my suffering and struggle. Besides all of that, the Lord can be honored in my struggle.

Ezekiel was prophesying what was about to come. His style was different than just speaking. Check this out…

6 “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. 7 When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign Lord says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” (Ezekiel 21:6-7 NLT)

 

It sometimes blows my mind how the Lord can take a mess and make something so beautiful out of it. He hates sin but loves the sinner. He does some of His best work in me when I suffering deeply. It’s not a fun process, but I’m learning to hold on tight to Him as I navigate through the hardship and suffering. He doesn’t let my pain and struggle go to waste – He makes something good come out of it. Romans 8:28 comes to mind here. Check this out…

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NIV)

 

Please don’t mistake moaning and groaning with griping and complaining. I am learning to lean on Him in the middle of every struggle, no matter how small or how large.

I can do everything through Christ Who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hope Has A Name

hope erase fearThere are some days that I just need hope. I mean I need a sliver of hope. I can get so discouraged and beat down that I can’t seem to get my head up. I really hate getting so down and so discouraged, but sometimes my circumstances scream louder at me than the hope deep inside. I’ve learned over the years to “go with what I know until my feelings catch up”. I believe that the Lord has me in the middle of my darkest night. I don’t always “feel” Him close, but I “know” He’s here. Jeremiah was speaking of this type of discouragement and despair in Lamentations. Check this out….

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,

    the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,

    and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind

    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;

    therefore I will wait for him.’

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

    to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly

    for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:19-26 NIV)

 

In my life, I’ve been through some really dark valleys and it takes me a minute for my eyes to adjust to where I find myself. I find it hard to make decisions without knowing where I am. I have to lean on the professional guidance of others when I’m in such a fogged over place. I know the Lord is present – He promised He’d be here and He’s never left me or forsaken me. Sometimes my struggle is so consuming my thoughts that I can’t see Him at work, but He is working.

I know a few things about the Lord. I know that Jesus came to earth as a baby, grew up in a carpenter shop and then ministered to hundreds and thousands of people as He walked this earth. He died a sacrificial death that I might have forgiveness and hope. I know that to the logical/linear mind this may not make any sense. But I know that Hope has a Name – Jesus. He has seen me through some dark, dark times. He never leaves just because things are tough, in fact that’s when He does some of His most memorable work in me. My Hope is in Jesus. Through the struggles of this season – my hope is in Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne