I recently heard from a man who used to have a very successful career as a pastor, but who had fallen on hard times, and had been unemployed in recent years. Though he had impressive qualifications, including plenty of experience, he could not find a church that would hire him, because of some problems in his past that he had long overcome. He shared with me how he was becoming increasingly frustrated and despondent over the injustice of it all, and he was growing weary of constantly trying to figure out exactly what he should do.
After I earnestly prayed for this man, I shared with him some biblical truths that have encouraged me over the years. In John 19:11 (NIV), Jesus told His persecutors, "You would have no power over Me if it were not given to you from above." If the Lord allows others to turn their backs on us, or to do us wrong, we can take comfort in the fact that He has a divine purpose for it, and that He will work it out for our good somehow. (Romans 8:28) Knowing this will help keep us free from bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness toward those who have treated us unfairly, or who we feel may be hindering our progress or success.
I have often taken great comfort in the words of John the Baptist, when his followers came to him distraught over the fact that he was losing many of his disciples to Jesus: "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven." (John 3:27 NIV) These words remind me that I can "enter God's rest," where my life and ministry are concerned, and I can trust the Lord to help me fulfill my God-given purpose and potential - as long as I'm earnestly seeking to do His will on a daily basis. (Hebrews 4:3) When I'm striving for more than the Lord has ordained for me, I get nowhere, and I only end up feeling frustrated, angry, and depressed. Scripture reminds us, "Cease striving and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10 NASB) The Lord doesn't want us to be driven; He wants us to be led - by His Spirit. (Romans 8:14) If we will let God be God in our lives, and yield to His divine plans for us, we will experience the abundant, victorious life that Jesus died for us to have.
Whenever I face disappointment or difficulty of any kind, one of the first things I do is claim God's promise which says, "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me." (Psalm 138:8 NIV) This reminds me that no matter what obstacles come my way, God is in control, and He will move heaven and earth to see that His perfect plans for me come to pass.
In Isaiah 43:13 (AMP), the Lord promises: "I will work, and who can hinder or reverse it?" When the time is right in the Lord's sight, no one - not even the devil himself - will be able to stop God's blessings and rewards from reaching us. We don't have to threaten, or scheme, or become greedy graspers. All we have to do is rest in God, knowing that He has a bright and beautiful future for us that far exceeds our wildest dreams!
Prayer: Lord, when I face trials and disappointments in this life, remind me that You are in control. Guard me from the bitterness and resentment that can hinder my prayers and my fellowship with You. Help me to cease striving, and to enter Your rest, where my future is concerned. Thank You that as I live my life for You, You will turn every obstacle that comes my way into a steppingstone to success!
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