Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Blessing of Experiencing God

Through The Fire

When you've been through the fire, those times of trials and testing in your life, your perspective on life totally changes. If you have taken a mature, Christian response to your trial, then you have allowed God to use the experience to transform you into a different person. You have allowed the Lord to mature your faith. You have grown in your walk with Christ.

Over the last two weeks, I have begun sharing My Story of divorce and recovery. I have been sharing at least a part of my experience and what God has been doing in my life as a result.

Not My Plan

What I have experienced was definitely not what I had planned out for my life. I had planned on being married to same the person until at least one of us died; you know that whole "'till death do us part" kind of thing. Unfortunately, in today's culture and even in our churches, this kind of commitment is becoming more and more rare. In today's legal system, it only takes one marriage partner to decide that they want out, and then it's pretty much a done deal. The faithful, committed partner has little say with the end result.

I grew up in a very stable home environment that helped me understand how important it is for children to experience that sense of security. Unfortunately, what I had desired for my own daughters is no longer going to happen. I pray to the Lord every day that my girls will not be scarred by this experience. I'm asking the Lord that they will love and serve Him in spite of what has happened between their mother and father. I pray that I can still be a great father (even though I'm a flawed human being) and that they can depend on me no matter what. I know with His help, that they are going to turn out to be great Godly, women. I also pray that when they get older, they can both enter healthy, committed marriages of their own and stay married for a lifetime.

God's Blessing of Experiencing Him

Although what has happened in my life was not a part of my master life plan, God's perfect will for my life, or even His will for the life of my ex-wife, I know that God has walked with me through the fire. I made a choice from day one of this horrible experience that I would run to Him and allow Him to help me through the last two years. Has it been easy to do this? On some days it has been easier than others, but the best part of this bad situation is that I have experienced God in a greater way as a result.

In the Old Testament, the Nation of Israel was a classic example of this tug-of-war of difficult circumstances and then reminders to seek out the Lord and His help. In Exodus 32, we read the story of the Jewish people struggling with the sin of idolatry when they created the two golden calves while Moses was on top of Mount Sinai receiving God's Law. God was so furious with Israel, that He was preparing to destroy all the people, and then just start over with Moses. But Moses interceded on behalf of the people, and God spared the majority of His chosen people.

In the next chapter, Exodus 33, we see God telling Moses and the people to go ahead and take possession of the land of Canaan, but if they chose to go, He would not go with them. God was still angry with their wickedness and sin of rebellion against Him. When the Israelites heard this bad news, they mourned their loss of God's presence for their journey.

Moses then went before the Lord and pleaded for God's presence to go with them into the Promise Land. He told the Lord that if He chose not to go with the Jewish people on the remainder of their journey, then they weren't going to leave their current location. Moses and the people needed to know that God would be with them and bless them. Because of Moses' relationship with the Lord, God relented and promised to go with them.

Desire Him

In both good times and bad, God wants us to know Him and desire Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:36-38). Difficult times, though, have a unique way of driving us to our knees and seeking Him with our whole heart. I know as I have walked through a painful divorce that this has been true in my own life. I sought the Lord on my own difficult journey and His presence went with me. On this journey with Him, I was able to experience His awesome blessing of a unique encounter with Him.

I don't know where you are today on your journey through life. Your life may be extremely blessed and problem free, or you may be in the middle of a real life crisis. If you're journey is difficult right now, seek the Lord and ask that His presence go with you. Consider yourself blessed for the opportunity to experience God in a new way.
I would rather pay the price to hear God's voice personally, regardless of how difficult the circumstances may be, than to have to settle for always hearing from Him secondhand. - Joy Dawson from Forever Ruined for the Ordinary (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
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