It’s always hard when someone asks how you are doing, and due to either the setting, the person asking, or even your own emotional state at the moment you don’t want to answer and wind up giving some form of surface or pat response instead. These pat answers can even include things that you know to be true, but are struggling with the reality of them at the moment, such as “God is good.” That happened today, and the person who asked knows me well enough to have seen right through it and then took the extra time to be an encouragement.
BUT GOD, when it comes to Him knowing our hearts and our struggles there is no guessing and no reason to hold back. Even the biggest thing that might be bothering us is something that God is easily able to handle. And knowing that He loves us and that He is working on our behalf, even when we don’t see it, we can also thank Him. And thanking Him for our troubles is a very important thing for us to do, as it puts us in the place of trusting Him and it keeps us from turning elsewhere.
We might never understand why certain things happen or why we have to struggle in ways that others don’t. What we do know is that struggles are not unique to us, nor do we deserve to be exempt from them. If fact, we are told very honestly by God that in this world we will have troubles, but we are also told that we are to be strengthened in those struggles by the truth that Jesus has overcome the world.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Then Jesus goes on to pray out loud to the Father in the presence of His disciples. In this prayer, knowing what was lying ahead for Him during the next twenty-four hours, the Son spoke to the Father about their relationship with each other and the oneness they enjoyed and the joy of being returned to that oneness. He also prayed, in full earshot, that those left behind would be protected and know the same kind of oneness and even that they might know His glory. Then Jesus finished the prayer with,
John 17:20-26 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
I find it very encouraging in approaching God during times of trouble to reflect on not only the love that God has for us, but on the relationship that the Son has with the Father, and to know that they with the Spirit are One and as One they are caring for me with the love that the Father has for the Son.
Following this prayer Jesus went out into the garden where He was betrayed, but betrayed as Scripture says in John 18:11, “Put the sword into the sheath [to Peter]; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (6/22)
Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you. You are on the brink of rebellion, precariously close to shaking your fist in My Face. You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you. But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and self-pity can sweep you away. The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time.
Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, you thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:17 (NKJV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. Philippians 4:4-6