So things are not going your way. Life is challenging and you have little or no joy within. You are certain that if your circumstances changed, then all would be well: the joy would return. You have prayed and tried to trust God but you remain in this season that is difficult. If this describes you, then I am here to give you some good news, and with it a solid foundation. My good news is really God’s good news since it comes from his Word. And as I said, it is founded on truth.
Here’s why you should be of good cheer:
God loves you
Circumstances can make us doubt God’s love for us. We always say if God loves me then why…or if God loves me then how come… Let me give you an important revelation I received about God’s love: It does not always follow the patterns of human love. That is why we often get puzzled, frustrated or even angry at God. We expect him to express love in a way we are familiar with. To us love means you always do the things I like and want. God’s love prefers what is best for us ultimately.
Let me show you what it can look like. A father sends his precious child to a place where he is certain to die. He looks on as that child is tortured, he watches him drawing towards death. He lets evil people take the life of this child without even saying a word. Now, does this sound like love? That by the way was God’s greatest act of love towards you! And the reason none of us can claim that God does not love us. If he gave up his son’s life for you (parents can understand this on a deeper level), he loves you, there’s no question about that.
The contradicting circumstances will nevertheless always be there because in life, we do not have perfect knowledge of everything that happens. We cannot see all things and we do not know all things. We just cannot comprehend God’s ways because he acts with full knowledge of everything and everyone. That is why he asks us to trust him. He tells us not to walk by sight but by faith (John 20:29). Many of the people who witnessed the crucifixion probably thought it was the most unfortunate event that ever occurred and yet we now know it is the best thing that happened to mankind. What you consider your hardest season may actually prove to be your best when you look back. So ask God for the Grace you need but trust him. He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
God wants you to have joy
We have been told many times that God wants us to be obedient, and he wants us to live according to his Word. We never see this though as a confirmation that he actually wants us to have joy. Everything he tells us to do is supposed to give us the best and most purposeful life possible.
He sent Jesus to preach the good news, heal the sick and raise the dead in order to give people the spirit of gladness (Isaiah 61:3). Your well-being and joy are important to him. He said, “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” He also spoke to the disciples saying “I have told you these things that my joy may be in you” Now that is key, he wants us to have joy but it should come through him because his is a deep and complete one which does not fluctuate.
The happiness we usually crave is determined and affected by circumstances. We say we are not happy because we have certain challenges or because nothing is really going our way. Then when good things do happen this excitement comes, but sooner or later we get over it—then we are unhappy again. This is not God’s best; he wants us to have an abiding joy which is consistent and stable. If we can learn to really believe what the Word says and live as we believe, then his joy will stay with us. The Word is good news but only when we truly believe it and witness it working in our lives.
God is always with you
Recently I was thinking about how privileged the disciples were to live in the company of the Son of God daily. Can you imagine how great that must have felt? There was no problem they had that he could not solve, no sickness, no situation was too difficult for him. His words were gracious, kind and encouraging and their minds were at rest. As I was thinking about these things, this verse came to mind: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). So even though he is not with us physically, we are in his presence.
It is important to be conscious of this presence although it does not mean we will have no problems (the disciples faced difficulties while Jesus was with them), it simply means we trust that God can deal with whatever we face. And when we trust him, he will help us overcome. Today, God dwells with and in you wherever you go (John 14:23). That is powerful if you really think about it.
God will fight for you
Picking up from the previous section, one of the most common thieves of joy is persistent troubles. While there are times that God may allow difficult circumstances in our lives for a season, there are situations that could be changed if only we stopped trying to handle them by ourselves. The Lord says this to you: “Be not afraid or dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 AMP). This battle which you have tried to win by yourself and yet still prevails is not yours to fight. Let go, give it to God and trust him.
At times we are like that stubborn four-year-old trying to fix something that he simply cannot manage. The dad will say, “give it to me and I’ll help you” but the child says “no I can do it”. So the father lets him try and he gets more and more frustrated until he throws it away and cries in anger. The father would have fixed it so easily and given it back, but the child would not let him. God can only help us with what we are willing to hand over (completely) to him.
God has a plan
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans for good and not evil, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). God does not usually reveal exactly what he has in mind for our future but he wants us to know that it is good. As he puts this plan in place, we may face obstacles and things may appear to be going against this promise, but as I mentioned before, his ways are not our ways. Do not let the fact that you can’t figure out what God is doing make you unhappy. Stay in faith and keep your joy knowing that there is a solid promise in the Bible for you to stand on.
God has an outstanding track record
God has never failed because he cannot. His track record is immaculate and will remain so until the end of time. Looking through the Scriptures we see him succeed time and again even when it seemed impossible. The common factor in every one of his victories was a man or woman who was willing to trust him. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Hannah, Ruth, Esther and many others all trusted God with their challenges.
I can say for all the above mentioned there were times when it looked like he might fail or had indeed failed them. Abraham reached the age of 99 and still had no child, Isaac got a wife but she was barren, Jacob’s most precious son was ‘killed’ by a wild beast, Moses was caught between the red sea and Pharaoh’s great army, Joseph was thrown in a pit and left to die, Hannah could not have children for a long time, Ruth was desperately poor, Esther and her people were threatened with annihilation. So it is possible that our situation can look like failure for a while but in the end, God always comes through.
God has gone ahead of you
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Like an advance team preparing for a leader, God knows what is ahead. He has already put things in place to help you overcome the obstacles that will come your way and we call this Grace.
Grace was what enabled Peter to retrieve money for tax from the mouth of a fish, Grace gave the host of a wedding enough wine for guests, provided bread for a multitude, made ready a colt for Jesus, secured a furnished upper room at no cost—there are so many examples in Scripture. From the above examples we can see that there was already provision before the problem, it just needed to be received. And yes we find ourselves going back to that word trust. We trust, we wait and God will provide.
God’s promises never fail
If he said it, he will do it. The in-between may not be what you expected, but the end will be exactly as God said. “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one of them was fulfilled” (Joshua 21:45). The Scriptures show us that He indeed keeps his word—even in times when it took hundreds of years to fulfill. It is in the nature of God to only tell the truth, it is impossible for him to lie (Hebrews 6:17-18).
Many times we do not receive what he promised simply because of how we ask and believe. God cannot fail but we can make his promises ineffective in our lives. If we lean on his Word, and not give up there will only be one outcome: the promise shall be fulfilled.
Nothing is impossible with God
This last section is for you who say, “You do not know how bad my situation is.” I will remind you of the power of your God. He spoke the universe into existence, he created all that is on earth, he stretched out the stars with his hand and he knows them all by name (Psalm 147:4). He split the red sea into two; through him countless “impossible” miracles have been performed. Blessed are you if you trust in him. Look beyond the natural; give him a chance to show you that he is God.