[Those who maintain their faith]
Because I can be excitable and over eager, I have a tendency to rush into things too quickly. I’m definitely learning the importance of slowing things down and taking a closer look at everything before I take off like a bat out of hell. Thankfully, God is both a very patient Father as well as a very patient Teacher.
Since He is watching, He can, and He does intervene, or as Scripture puts it: He shows Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
However, when God does allows things, I think it’s normal to wonder why we aren’t receiving that intervention, but it’s better to trust God’s wisdom and power. (1 Corinthians 2:5, Proverbs 3:5) It’s also better to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. (Philippians 4:8)
I’ve really been struggling with this. I’d become rather stuck in a rut, but the Lord has been compassionately encouraging and comforting me. Thankfully, He’s perfectly willing to reach down and provide a hand up, or a kick in the pants. (I’ll expand on this in my next post.) I guess I need a few kicks in the pants, and then some.
Regarding intervention, Andrew has spoken of times in his life when he’s experienced God’s intervention. For example: the youth trip that lead their van down an icy road; the vehicle had lost traction as a truck was closing in on the passenger side of the vehicle where Andrew was seated.
Being that his parents had already lost a son, Andrew prayed that God would spare them the pain of losing another son. Suddenly, gaining that traction, the van lurched forward just in time. The truck hit the door behind him instead. Nobody was seated behind Andrew. (Thank the Lord!)
Throughout the Bible, we have example after example of God’s intervention, but how God intervenes isn’t always as visually spectacular as the plagues or the parting of the Red Sea would have been.
Sometimes God acts on our behalf as he did for Jacob when his scheming father-in-law, Laban, was trying to use Jacob to get rich. Jacob, however, was never an idle fellow. He worked very hard, and he showed integrity in his dealings with Laban. God blessed Jacobs efforts and integrity, and it was Jacob who prospered. (Genesis 30:25-43)
Don’t mistake this for meaning that God helps those who help themselves. A man or woman who believes that they can help themselves doesn’t recognize God’s sovreingty or His gift of grace: Salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s through the gift of the Holy Spirit (God in the believer) that God achieves what He wants to achieve. Good works, however, will be rewarded. (Psalm 62:12)
What we should take from Jacob’s prosperity is that the Lord can multiply our contribution, even our smallest contribution, as He multiplied the loaves and the fishes. (Matthew 14:13-21) Whereas, a man who doesn’t contribute, will want, but receive nothing.
“The slacker craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent is fully satisfied. –Proverbs 13:4(HCSB)
We’ll meet some shady characters along the way ourselves, but God goes with those who belong to Him, intervening when necessary, but also withholding when necessary.
Why would He ever withhold anything? He may withhold something if it isn’t His will for us, for our own safety, or He may withhold something because we aren’t listening and being obedient to Him. He may also withhold for a time because we need time to grow and mature, or simply because we haven’t asked. However, Scripture tells us that He withholds no good thing from those whose walk is upright.
“For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.” –Psalm 84:11
We may go through seasons that feel as if God isn’t answering our pleas, but we’re reminded that He hasn’t forsaken us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) However, if we don’t maintain our faith (seek God first, obey and pray) we can cause our own problems, or we can become anxious. This is a sure fire way to have no peace. (Isaiah 48:21-22)
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” –Joshua 1:8
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7
Let’s be careful how we measure success. This is not a promise from God that we will be wealthy or that we will receive everything that we want. We serve God for His purpose, not for our own agenda, however, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and our treasure is stored up in heaven. How God rewards us is still His choice of course, and we should count our blessings.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” –Hebrews 11:6
We seem to forget that God blesses obedience, but He does. When we are willing to obey Him, we will move when we should move, stay when we should stay, and as Andrew did, pray when we should pray. Will we honor God with everything, and trust Him even in the fire?
It’s takes faith to move those obstacles that stand in our way, and even those things coming at us full speed ahead with no intention of stopping. Why? because it takes believing that God is able, and it takes trusting Him, to listen and obey.
“God blesses those who obey Him; happy the man who puts his trust in the Lord.” –Proverbs 16:20
I’m learning that being confident in Jesus takes time, lessons and understanding. Trusting Him also takes reminders: reminders of who He is; what He came to do; what He’s done; what to expect; how the story ends; and that our troubles aren’t beyond His control.
Here’s a good question: while we look forward to heaven, are we still confident, as King David was, that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living?
“Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” –Psalm 27:11-13
Therefore, we can take heart–meaning, have courage and don’t despair. (Joshua 1:9) Know then, that the flight plan has already been filed. We just have to stick to the Itinerary, and keep the faith! (Pssst…the Itinerary is Jesus, aka the Way.)
“You keep completely safe the people who maintain their faith, for they trust in you.” –Isaiah 26:3 (New English Translation)