Oh, put God to the test and see how kind he is! See for yourself the way his mercies shower down on all who trust in him!
- Psalm 34:8 TLB
Eleven years ago, my life was in such turmoil that I can still recall sitting in front of the television desperately searching for answers to my problems. I knew my relationship with my husband wasn't what it should be. There was a lot of tension between us much of the time, and there were ever-present undercurrents of distrust and resentment. My sons were in the early stages of their teen years, and my older son was already showing serious signs of rebellion. I was constantly struggling with anxiety and depression, as well as a feeling of emptiness that threatened to consume me. As waves of despair swept over me, I flipped the channel to hear a fiery man of God speak words that changed my life forever. He said, "You've tried everything else--now try God!" I HAD tried everything else. I had read and listened to everything the "experts" had to say about having a happy marriage, raising well-adjusted children, and living a contented and fulfilled life. And I was miserable. I was ready to try anything--even God. Then I heard the TV preacher say, "Take God at His Word and watch Him work miracles in your life!" I made a commitment to the Lord that day to believe, study and apply His Word to my life from that moment on. As I began to cry tears of sorrow, regret and repentance, I prayed: "Lord, I've made a mess out of my life and I ask You to forgive me in Jesus' name. I give my life to You, and I ask that You make it into something new and wonderful, for Your glory." Since I prayed that simple, heartfelt prayer, my life has never been the same. My family and I have had our trials and troubles along the way, but I can testify that this promise of His is true: "The good man does not escape all troubles--he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one"! (Psalm 34:19 TLB)
One of the life-changing truths I learned as I began seriously studying the Bible is that God wants me to enjoy my life. For years, I had believed that I shouldn't expect too much out of life and that I should just be satisfied with my lot. But then I read the Savior's words in John 10:10 in the Amplified Bible: "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and ENJOY life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." I finally realized that God didn't want me to settle for a life of mediocrity and misery. He didn't want me to just survive--He wanted me to thrive! And He sent His Son to model the abundant life for me so that I could follow His example. As I studied the Scriptures, I also learned that I have a very powerful and evil enemy--Satan, who comes only to "steal, kill and destroy." Even though I had been a Christian since I was very young, I never had a working knowledge of God's Word. In Mark 12:24, Jesus says: "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?" My ignorance of the Scriptures made me an easy target for the devil's deceptions, and as a result, he had a tremendous influence over my life. As I devoted myself to God and His Word, I began to discover the truth that set me free from my bondages (John 8:32) and that opened the door to the fulfillment of His precious promises. I also learned to apply Proverbs 3:5-6 to every area of my life: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." I stopped relying on my own wisdom and reasoning, and I began seeking God's wisdom and direction in every matter that concerned me and my family. The more I put my trust in God and His Word, the more peace, joy, and success I experienced. I've tried living my way, and I've tried living God's way, and today I'm living proof that God's ways are best. If you aren't enjoying the abundant life that Jesus came to give you, I pray you'll "put God to the test and see how kind He is! See for yourself the way His mercies shower down on all who trust in Him"! (Psalm 34:8 TLB)
Prayer: Lord, today I surrender my whole life to You. I ask that You transform all my troubles into triumphs, for Your glory. Help me to spend time in Your presence daily through prayer and Bible study so that You can impart Your truth to me. Thank You that as I trust in You and seek Your will, You'll direct me in the paths of Your greatest blessings!
- J. M. Farro