Tag Archives: god doesn’t abandon us

The Road Of Adversity

Several years ago I attended a Catalyst Conference for pastors and ministers. One of the keynote speakers was Andy Stanley who pastors at North Point Ministries, a multi location church in Atlanta. In his address he said, “Some of you may be wondering why you’re not up here speaking. More than likely it’s because you haven’t been through enough adversity.” He went on to share some of the adversity his family had been through. He also talked about some of the things the other speakers had been through. His dad once said, “If you want God’s best for your life and desire to be used by Him, at some point you’re going to have to travel the road of adversity. God designed adversity to be a turning point from which you take your greatest leaps forward in spiritual growth.”

After David had been anointed king, he was chased by King Saul. In one of those instances he had to flee the country and live with the Philistines. David had agreed to fight Israel with the Philistines and other armies, but the other kings were afraid David would turn on them. They sent him home to Ziklag where he had been living. When he approached the city, they saw smoke. The Amalekites knew it would be unprotected so they attacked it, burned down all their homes and possessions and took their wives and kids. David and his men wept until they couldn’t weep anymore. His men were bitter and began to talk openly about stoning him. 1 Samuel 30:6 says, “But David found strength in the Lord his God” (NLT). He consulted the Lord, found out their wives and kids were still alive, tracked them down, attacked the Amalekites and set them free.

Psalm 34:19 says, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” This verse reminds us that we are going to face a lot of trouble in our lives, but it also gives hope that God will rescue us each time. God will use adversity for your good. He also won’t let it last longer than it needs to once it has produced in you what He needs accomplished. He uses it to birth character, strength, endurance and so much more in us. It’s hard to see that as you’re walking through it, but when you look back on the times you’ve walked down the road of adversity, you can see God’s hand in it, how He delivered you from it and the good things He produced in you. It can still be painful to look back on, and you might not have all the answers as to why, but you can know that God never abandoned you on the road of adversity and He used it to get you to a place you never could have been without it.

Photo by Bogdan Kozlovskyi on Unsplash

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Uncomfortable Moments

One of the things my wife and I feel is our duty as parents is to help to help our son become a mature adult one day who is equipped to handle life. To do that, we often give him the opportunity to make tough decisions. We help him think through rewards and consequences of those decisions to help him build a foundation of decision making principles. Instead of being grateful, he complains. He asks, “Why do you always make me have hard choices?” We answer, “Because life is full of hard choices. The sooner you learn how to make them, the better your life will be.” He is too young to understand that right now, but as parents, we want our child to have the tools necessary for maturity. We don’t mind putting him in tough positions that make him uncomfortable because we know that he will need those skills down the road.

Because you and I are full functioning adults on this planet, we forget that we are in a similar relationship with our Heavenly Father. You and I are His children, and His goal for us is spiritual maturity. Just like a good parent, He will often force us out of our comfort zone to teach us dependence on Him, to produce character or to prepare us for the future. It’s never convenient, sometimes painful, but always productive. His concern is for our growth more than our comfort. He will do whatever is necessary to help us become more like Him. We can complain asking, “Why,” or we can endure and grow.

Isaiah 30:20 says, “The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him any more” (GNT). God doesn’t abandon you when the going gets tough. He’s right there with you teaching you if you’re listening. The more difficult the situation is, the more of His grace you get to experience. It is always sufficient for your circumstances. I’ve found that going through the hard times have drawn me closer to Him rather than farther away. As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” He loves us enough to do what it takes to help us hear Him, to know Him and to grow in Him. Don’t discount the hard times. God may just be using them to help you know Him more.

Photo by Keenan Constance from Pexels

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Walking Freely In The Fire

To me, one of the coolest stories in the Bible is the one where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. As you know, they refused to bow to the god King Nebuchadnezzar built and set up. When the king confronted them, they didn’t back down from their beliefs knowing it would mean their death. In Daniel 3:17-18, they said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (NLT).

Their response visibly angered the king. He ordered that the furnace be heated up seven times hotter than normal. He then had the boys bound up, hand and feet, dragged to the furnace, and thrown in. It was so hot that the men who dragged them there died. The king then noticed something odd. In verse 25, he said, “Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” He then called them out of the fire and promoted them to higher positions.

When you look back on your life, when was God most evident? Where can you see Him most clearly? For me, it’s in the hardest times. You could say it was when I was walking through the fires of life. When we are cast in the fire, we don’t always know if we will survive. We know God is able, but there is no guarantee He will get us out of the fire. Even still, we are required to endure and to be willing to be subjected to the fires of life.

Remember, it was in the fire that they were freed from the ropes that bound them. But even before that, God was with them. He’s not always visible leading up to the fire, but I know He was standing there with them as they refused to bow. It was only in the fire that He was revealed. God is most evident in the hardest times of our lives because those are the times we trust Him the most. When we walk through the fire, our faith is deepened, our character is strengthened, and God’s love for us is proven.

You and I don’t have to fear the flames. We can walk freely in them with the Son of God beside us. I don’t know if the three Hebrew boys saw the Son of God in the fire with them or not, but He was there. We don’t always see God walking in the fire with us until we look back on it. So if you’re in the furnace now, look around. God has not abandoned you. He is there walking with you. He may not be visible now, but He’s there growing you, preparing you, and making you more like Him. Don’t give up in the furnace. Walk freely in the fire.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Never Alone

Autophobia is the fear of having to deal with the difficulties of life all by yourself. More and more this is becoming the greatest fear people have. People have hundreds of “friends” on social media, yet they still feel alone. Virtual friends can offer words of support (if you let them know you’re struggling), but that’s not enough. We want someone to be by outside in moments of trouble. We don’t want to face our problems alone, so much so that it is becoming one of the world’s top fears.

Several years ago, I felt abandoned by everyone, including God. I was at a church service and the pastor said he had a message from God for one person in the room. The message in part was, “I have not abandoned you. I see you in this storm. I am right beside you walking with you through this.” God relieved my autophobia that He had left me alone to fight my battles. I can tell you with certainty that He has not abandoned you either,. He’s there with you now. He sees what you’re going through, and He’s walking through it with you.

Here are some Bible Verses on God’s promise to not abandon you.

1. Turn away from evil and do good, and your descendants will always live in the land; for the Lord loves what is right and does not abandon his faithful people. He protects them forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be driven out.

Psalm 37:27-28 GNT

2. It is the LORD who goes before you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

DEUTERONOMY 31:8 AMP

3. The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession.

Psalms 94:14 NLT

4. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

Psalms 9:10 NLT

5. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 MSG

Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

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Free In The Fire

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

One of my favorite Bible stories when I was a kid had to be of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The King ordered that everyone bow down to his golden statue when they heard the music played. Of course the three Hebrew boys refused to do it. The king summoned them and ordered them to bow or to be thrown into a furnace. They told him to his face that they wouldn’t do it. He got so angry, he heated up the furnace seven times hotter than normal, bound their hands and feet and had them thrown into it,

The fire was so hot that the men who were throwing them into it died. When the men didn’t return right away, the King went to look. He turned and asked the people around him, “Didn’t we throw three into the fire?” The people around him said, “That’s right.” He replied, “But look! I see four men walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed. And the fourth one looks like the son of the gods!” He then called out to them to come out of the fire. When he examined them, not a hair was singed nor did they smell like smoke.

Many times in this life you and I will feel like we are bound up. There are times when we feel like we are in prison. Our hands and feet are shackled. We feel like we aren’t going anywhere and we can’t do anything. Being physically tied up is bad enough, but to be mentally or spiritually tied up is worse. It’s a real feeling of helplessness. When you couple that with walking through the fires of life, it can make things feel hopeless. Even in those times, we are to trust in God and His plan.

These three guys were not alone in the fire. In fact, it was in the fire that they were set free from their bondage. The scripture says they were walking around freely in the fire. God did not abandon them in the worst of times. He was standing there with them. It reminds me of the promise He makes to you and I in Isaiah 43:2. He said, “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end – because I am your God, your personal God.”

That’s a promise you can hold into when you’re walking through deep waters, between a rock and a hard place or in the fire of oppression as the New Living Translation puts it. That version says, “You’ll not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” It goes on to say He won’t let any of these things destroy you because you are precious to Him. He gave His all for you. He loves you and will not let these present circumstances destroy you. He says you can walk freely in the fire. Trust in Him. He will not let you down. When you come out on the other side, you won’t be burned.

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

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