After reading my devotional in Jesus Calling this morning, I decided to share it because it reminded me of one of the turning points in my life. Jesus Calling is a devotional written by Sarah Young. She developed a habit of waiting in God’s Presence and journaling what she hears from Him. Many days it has encouraged me and given me a reminder that God is in charge, He cares about the details of my life, and He loves me unconditionally.
Here is today’s devotional:
“Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience — at times, blind obedience. To people who don’t know Me intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Me for heartrending hardships. Nonetheless, those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.
Thankfulness opens your heart to My presence and your mind to My thoughts. You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity.”
As I read this it reminded me of the time that my husband and I had just received news that our landlord was threatening us with eviction for being behind in the rent. My husband had gone for a year and a half without work and we had gotten behind during that time. We had been struggling to pay as much extra as we could each month, but she wasn’t happy with the amount we were paying.
My first reaction to this situation was to panic. The fears came on me like an avalanche. Where would we live?… Please don’t make me live in the woods…What would people think. Then came the frantic phone calls to all my friends who all had well-meaning advice, and then came the realization that I hadn’t consulted with God on this matter. For years I had believed that God was expecting me to live my life a certain way, and if I didn’t He was ready to punish me through my circumstances. These thoughts kept me isolated from Him every time that life didn’t go the way that I thought it should.
This time I chose to talk to Him and ask Him what I should do. He took me to a scripture in Joel 2:22-27 “22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. 23Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarmmy great army that I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. 27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”
As this scripture began to sink in, it became clear to me that God was not punishing me through this situation, but He was asking me to trust Him. A peace washed over me that I had never experienced before. My circumstances hadn’t changed, but my perspective certainly had. This was the first time that the importance of speaking out the truth in the midst of my circumstances became clear to me. It is still sometimes a struggle, but I strive to live by this truth everyday. It has given me much more peace and joy in my life as I strive to practice this act of obedience everyday.
What circumstance can you praise God through today? What circumstance have you praised God through in the past? Please feel free to share and encourage us all.