#Repost @desiringgod with @get_repost
“‘I will . . . test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, “They are my people”; and they will say, “The Lord is my God”’ (Zechariah 13:9). . . . God puts us in the fire to awaken earnest prayer.⠀
Please, I’m pleading with you. This verse is in the Bible so that the plea that I’m about to make to you will come true. I can’t make it come true. This verse, by God’s grace with his power, can make this come true. I plead with you not to be among the number who get sent to this school of affliction, which is designed to awaken prayer, and the school becomes the very reason you abandon prayer.⠀
Thousands go to this school and turn on prayer. We say, ‘If he treats me like this, I’m not going to ask him for anything. Because I asked him to keep me out of this, and he didn’t do it.’ And the very school designed to produce depth, trust, and God-focused, man-diminishing, worshipful prayer is turned on its head, and the school is hated. And I’m pleading with you. This verse is in the Bible to help that not happen. That’s why it’s here: so that when you look around you, and the flames are burning, and you wonder, ‘God, what’s up?’ you realize that this is up. Don’t teach God how to teach. Submit.”⠀
Read more at desiringGod.org.
“You shall have no other God’s before me. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” Exodus 20:3,5
I will be the first to admit that my heart is so quickly drawn toward the immediate and temporary pleasures of this world. The things that God has provided for our good so quickly compete with our love and affection for Christ. I have found this struggle to be exposed in an even greater way during seasons of suffering. When pain or disappointment presses in, rather than running to Christ for our comfort and needs, it’s all too easy to pour our time, energy, and thoughts into lesser things that satisfy and distract for a moment. It’s easier. It’s less work. And it provides momentary bursts of happiness. But it always disappoints and it eventually leads us into bondage when we need more and more of it to distract and fill our emptiness.
I have chosen a picture of technology, not because it’s the only thing that can easily become an idol or because it is innately wrong, but because I think it is one of the greatest threats to our relationship with Christ in today’s day in age. I have found this to be a subtle trap because it’s so easy to excuse as something we “need” for daily life. And because it’s subtle, we often don’t realize how much it has trapped us in it’s vicious cycle with its constant distraction and addicting desire for affirmation from those on the other side of the screen - until we find ourselves exhausted, unable to focus, and empty.
Friends - our phones, computers, and social media accounts can be incredibly useful, a gift that allows us to stay connected with those far away, and even used to glorify God and share the good news of Christ with those we never could have otherwise.
But it can also rob us of peace, joy, and rest when we begin to put it in the place of God - in our time, thoughts, and desires. Especially if we are hurting, its constant distraction can become a drug that we must ingest or else we might have to face our pain and the God who is allowing it.
The cost isn’t worth it, friends. [continue reading at link in bio...]
We are told that we will have trouble in this world, but how often do we still question and wrestle with why God has allowed suffering into our lives? Deep down, we still struggle to not equate God’s goodness and love with how our circumstances appear. Personally, I have days when my pain feels more unbearable because I allow thoughts to swirl in my head that say, “If God really cared, he would show his love by easing my pain and protecting me from anymore hardship.” Then all it takes is pinching my finger to fan the flame of unbelief. I forget that his wisdom and love is in light of eternity, while mine is often stuck in the temporal.
The danger is, once we find ourselves dwelling on the lie that if God were good, he would protect us from harm, every inconvenience and trouble that comes our way only feeds our distrust that God must not be for us. This dangerous spiral, one that I have found myself on far too many times, will eventually produce the bitter fruit of resentment, cynicism, bitterness, and inner turmoil.
Friends, we have to fight the lie that says, “If God loves me, he will protect me from the trouble of this world”. It is a whisper of the enemy that seeks to twist the character of God and plant the seed of unbelief. Instead, we have to remember that Christ promised that we will have trouble in this world, especially as followers of a suffering Savior. BUT, he does offers us peace in the midst of the troubles we face. Not because he’ll always prevent them, but because he will walk with us through them. He has already conquered death - the greatest threat we face. How much more will he enable us to be overcomers in the lesser things - for our eternal good and to the praise of his name?
Let’s not lose heart and believe the lie that Jesus is distant and uncaring when our circumstances don’t seem to reflect his goodness - no matter how convincing our feelings may be. Instead, may those feelings drive us to cry out to him, asking for his peace to fill our anxious hearts and minds. Our trials may threaten to overcome us, but we have nothing to fear - Christ has overcome the world. ~ Sarah