One thing that God has been teaching me recently is dependence. It’s something I have known intellectually but this past year I have been learning through experience. Nagging pain, loss, and struggle begin to eat at you and the refinement process that God offers us through them is not often enjoyable, but it is for our good.
As high school and college graduations draw near it is a good time for all of us to reflect on what we will be doing in the future. What should we invest our lives in? For some this means college and career choices that will lead to jobs and careers and lifetime achievements.
I must confess, my life is much defined by my work. I read recently that "if our lives are defined by work, then what we do becomes less and less effective". So in that case, More is Less. Do you ever feel like this?
Political commentator and film critic Michael Medved once wrote that he saw two poisons in culture: pessimism about the future and ingratitude in the present. In the few years since he wrote those words, some would say there has been little reason to feel anything but a lack of hope for the future and ingratitude in the present.
Do you ever find yourself saying "my life is drab, so boring", or "I don't have much to offer, I don't dance, I can't sing or play or lead music". When we give an audience to such ideas we are missing a key part of who God made US to be.
What "one thing" tops our agenda today? Crazy lives, tight schedules and endless deadlines can suffocate us and dampen God's plan. We forget His first and foremost desire is to be with us and we with Him!
Lately when I've gone to God in prayer, I have found myself usually focused on just one of His attributes at a time. For example, when asking for wisdom I might key on the verse from Romans describing God's wisdom (Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways.)
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven." Psalm 107:28-30 ESV
There have been days when all I want to do is stay in bed in the morning and just be anxious about the future of my business and family. I found myself periodically depressed and frustrated with the silence from God.
I have been spending more time in prayer than I previously have. I can say that as of late the time I carve out to pray has become increasingly more valuable to me. The reason for that is not simply because I resolved to be more disciplined, but because I sought to understand why, how, and for what I should be praying about.
Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
In this passage, Paul gives us hope and tells us our strength comes from Him according to His might (Eph. 3:16-20). All too often it's easy to become discouraged by the moment or the immediate circumstance.