"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NIV)
Friend to Friend
Yesterday we learned that when the widow Naomi faced a very difficult season, she looked past her own need to the hopes, dreams, and needs of her loved ones. In spite of her dismal circumstances, she chose to and bless others.
Do you ever feel like a victim of circumstance?
There are times when life isn't ideal. There are times when life doesn't seem fair. As she entered Bethlehem, Naomi lamented to friends and family. She told them not to call her by her name. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter" (v. 20). Naomi didn't try to sugarcoat or hide her pain. Her circumstances were choking the life out of her, and for a time she allowed her situation to overshadow her trust in God.
Oh, how I've been there. I bet you have too. Perhaps you are there now. Be encouraged. In time, God did a work of restoration in Naomi's life that took her from bitter to better, and in time, He can do the same for you.
Though she displayed bitterness when she returned to Israel, Naomi continued to trust her Lord. Healing didn't come to her overnight. Naomi waded through a great deal of emotional baggage and disappointment. But Scripture shows us that even in her sorrow; Naomi maintained her faith in God. She praised Him for the kindness that Boaz showed Ruth and spoke of God's goodness even in her uncertain times (Ruth 2:19-20). She praised God in the hard times, and He restored her broken heart.
God breathed hope into the souls of book of Ruth goes on to tell a fascinating story of how God lovingly cared for and blessed Naomi as He used the faithful friendship and kindness of Ruth to "renew her life and sustain her" (4:15). She went back to Bethlehem as a broken, hopeless widow and was restored by the loving hand of God.through their kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. The
Just as God did for Naomi, He wants to transform the painful pieces of your life into beautiful blessings. He has not forgotten you. He is intimately familiar with your pain. Don't turn away from Him. Continue to trust God. He will never leave your side, and He can bring restoration to your situation just as he did for Naomi and Ruth.
Like Naomi, when I've experienced difficult times, I've had to choose to trust God. Some days I choose well. Some days I don't. My courage to trust is bolstered by playing praise music, meditating on God's goodness, reading Scripture, and praying. Those things collectively renew my mind and strengthen my faith.
Take comfort that He knows every issue on your heart and is able to shoulder your burdens. Your challenges do not fall outside the scope of God's ability to intervene. God is mysterious, He is powerful, and He is able! When you lift your eyes from your situation and fix them on your Savior, you will find peace in the pain and strength in the struggle.
But in the darkest moments, I choose to trust and hang on to faith. When all else fails, all that's required of us is that we choose to trust and hang on to our faith.
Holy Father, Your greatness is unsearchable and Your power is beyond what I can imagine. Please help me to honor You with my life -- in every circumstance -- and to trust in Your ability and desire to intervene in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
Is there something that has caused you to become bitter? Reflect on this and spend some time in prayer. Ask that God would reveal any hidden anger or bitterness in your life so He can deal with it and bring healing.
If you are in a difficult place right now, here's a promise from God's Word for you to memorize: "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy" (Job ).
More from the Girlfriends
I recently heard it said that, "When we work, we work...but when we pray, God works." I pray that you will seek Him earnestly today in prayer!! If you'd like to be drawn into His presence through music, turn up your speakers and CLICK HERE!
Today's devotion is an excerpt from Gwen's book, Broken Into Beautiful. To order the book, please CLICK HERE.
Gwen Smith is a worship artist, songwriter, speaker, and author. For more information, visit her website at: http://www.gwensmith.net/
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