Are you feeling overwhelmed by everyday challenges and life in general? Have you been praying for breakthroughs, but still have not seen any? Do you sometimes feel God may have forgotten about you, or perhaps that your prayers are not reaching His heart and ear?
You are not alone. Believers throughout history have experienced dry seasons when God was seemingly silent. Abraham waited years for the promise of Isaac to manifest. Joseph was in prison for more than 10 years before his promise came to pass. So, there are many examples.
Many may currently face trials like terminal illness, accidents, or the loss of a loved one. Others are crying out for their children to turn to God, or a spouse to find a job, all with no apparent turn of events. Why does this happen even when we are living close to God? What does the Lord expect from us when facing these challenges? Is there a way to pray that will ‘turn events’ for sure?
God is always good, all the time.
One fact to remember: God is always good, all the time. This is not just a saying; this is a Biblical truth about His character. Although He dearly loves us, more than any earthly parent or spouse ever could, He also works holiness in us. Therefore, we are being purged, sanctified and cleansed throughout our lives – to be changed into the likeness and image of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (2 Corinthians 4:4). Proverbs 3:12 says; ‘For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.’
For every believer their personal trial seems the hardest. The Lord who knows us best, allows certain trials that are unique to us, so that our character may be formed and so He can lead us to fulfil our destiny and calling for His glory. With Him, we will be able to bear it. Often a trial brings out an inner strength we did not know we had!
Although some circumstances we face may be due to sin or an attack of the enemy, there are seasons of pruning that come along in our lives. At such times, there is no specific prayer to pray, method to follow or spiritual warfare against the enemy that will bring about a quick fix to our circumstances. These are seasons that cultivate endurance, perseverance and faith in us, and a hope in God who never leaves nor forsakes us. In such seasons, when we cultivate praise amidst the trial and trouble, our spirit begins to soar and pulls our soul out of despair. This is a great mystery. We have all seen people pass on due to an illness like cancer with great joy in their heart and praise to God, having run and completed their race in God. Such are holy moments.
What should our response be?
1. Decide today what you are going to choose. Whether a crisis or prolonged trial, we have a choice to either turn away from God in disappointment, or turn to God in expectation. The latter will bear the most fruit in our lives, form the image of Jesus in us, and make us a testimony for God in an increasingly hopeless world. (Deuteronomy 30:19). In your time with God – tell Him what you choose today. Pour out your heart – not about your plight – but your walk, faith and trust in Him. Choose LIFE.
2. Strengthen yourself in the Lord. David was persecuted, haunted and pursued by Saul for years because of the king’s jealousy. The Scripture says repeatedly: David strengthened himself in the Lord. Sometimes David spoke to his own soul saying: “Why so downcast o my soul, put your hope in God.” At other times he writes: “I will remember the works You have done.” Here are 3 keys – you must turn to God intentionally, take Scripture, meditate and pray it. You must speak to your soul to come into line with the spiritual truths of Scripture. And must constantly remind yourself of the good God has done in your life over many years, even right now.
3. Praise and worship. Although God calls David a man after His own heart, we all know David faced many trials. He had to flee for his life (1 Samuel 20:1), people curse him (2 Samuel 16:10), he faced the treason and death of his own son (2 Samuel 18:33) and many more trials. David is known as the composer of at least 73 of the Psalms. David found consolation amidst difficulty by ‘singing his heart’ and praising God for who He is, regardless of where he had to hide or sleep. There is nothing that lifts our hearts out of despair like spending time in worship – no matter how long it takes. Especially if you have nothing more to pray or say – just worship. (Psalm 59:16, 71:14).
4. Give thanks. Even for the littlest things. But make it a habit to give thanks to the Lord. It brings us into the gates of the Lord. Thanksgiving sparks praise and worship, which brings us into the courts of our God (Psalm 100:4), into realising we are truly spiritually seated with Him – above our circumstances in the natural. It helps us fix our eyes on things above, where He is. (Colossians 3:2).
Consider your life, your circumstances. Take some time to write down an extended prayer to the Lord as you go through these keys. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness and refresh your heart in the Lord once more.
Consider someone else who is struggling. If you know of someone who is struggling, invite them over. Listen to their heart. Encourage them by using these keys. Pray for them. Follow up on them.
Consecrate your life anew. Perhaps you feel you want to really strengthen yourself in the Lord by consecrating yourself to Him more. To learn more about living a consecrated life, read this article https://jwipn.com/how-to-consecrate-yourself-to-god/