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Grace in the Storm

I was reminded of a prevalent paradox this week. We are deeply loved by God and we live in a world of turmoil. This means that no matter what we do or how diligently we seek to keep our lives on track, we will experience complex challenges. I was reminded in a number of different ways. First, at the Bible study I am a part of, the following vulnerable statements were made:
“I grew up being deeply criticized for who I am. I was emotionally rejected by my parents and teased incessantly by friends. I struggle with the belief that I am accepted and that it is okay to be me.”
“Intellectually, I know it is not true, but I feel like anytime I have financial struggles in life I must have done something wrong.”
“I know in my mind that God loves me but I am having a hard time feeling it is true when I have been out of work for so long.”
“I never thought I would struggle with this kind of attitude. I have always been grateful for what I have but it seems nothing I am trying to do is working like I think it should. For the first time I can remember, I have been asking in prayer if God is upset with me for some reason.”
Then I read Psalm 37 and I saw the same kind of struggle in the life of David. He was convinced that God loved him and was determined to seek Him. “Trust in Lord and do good. . .” (v. 2) “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (v. 4) “He will make the righteous reward shine like the dawn . . .” (v. 6)
At the same time, he was surprised by some of the challenges that relentlessly presented themselves in his journey. “. . . do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (v. 7) “The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death . . .” (v. 32) “I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree . . . ” (v. 35)
The inescapable conclusion is that it is normal in life to experience God’s favor and circumstantial difficulties alongside one another. Almost everyone I know right now is facing daunting financial challenges. Almost everyone I know is wrestling with a thought process that has the potential to defeat them. Almost everyone I know is aware that God loves them immensely whether life’s circumstances are good or bad. Since I am part of the group, I am going to focus today on the game plan I see in Psalm 37.
I am going to take a bigger view of life than today’s circumstances. “The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither . . .” (v. 18-19)
I am going to remind myself that God takes care of His people. “The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (v. 23-24)
I am going to do what I know is right regardless of how I feel at the moment. “Trust in the LORD and do good . . . Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” (v. 3 & 8)
I am going to remind myself that the Author and Creator of life has my back. “For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.”
Jesus, give me the grace today to seek You with energy, trust You with courage and face life with gratitude.

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