I Was Just Thinking About - DIFFICULT TIMES.
If/When difficult times come my way, there are also difficult struggles and questions with which I will have to cope. How do I react and respond when difficulties arise within my life or sphere of personal interest? Do I respond with panic or calmness? Is my natural instinct fear or faith? When a decision or decisions must be made, is it done with confusion or confidence? If it involves a loved one, do I reach a place where I surrender to God's will, not mine being done? In a very literal way, can I genuinely and sincerely "let go and let God" have His way and fulfillment of His will/plan in and for my life and circumstance?
Over the years, I have found Hymnals to be a useful devotional tool. Some of the ancients had keen insight into the ways of God and the reality of the presence of God in and for their life. One such verse that is ascribed to the 13th-century English bishop Saint Richard of Chichester contains these helpful words: Day by day, day by day, O, dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.
If I remember to couple these words with Micah 6:6-8 (Amplified Bible), I have a clear picture of the Lord's expectation for me as I approach Him to worship, serve and endeavor to live for Him: "With what shall I come before the LORD [to honor Him] and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Will the LORD be delighted with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), and to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?"
When my difficult times come and I'm uncertain of the immediate or long-range impact they may have, what should my knee-jerk reaction or response be? My own choice to is to make a particular need known and ask faithful men and women to join in prayer regarding it. Graphic detail is not necessary inasmuch as the Lord to whom prayer is being offered already knows the detail and His resolve for the need in accordance with His perfect will and plan. I need to be certain that I frame any request with a focus upon Almighty God receiving all the glory. The catechism instruction must be implemented throughout my life and every detail pertaining to it: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
For one who has received God's call and has been engaged in ministry for Him, the approach of Paul's abandonment to God's will is clear. In Acts 20:22-34, he stated to fellow-believers that which he embraced as God's will for his life. He makes mention of the difficult times that await but he is undaunted by that possibility. "And now, compelled by the Spirit (and obligated), I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in town after town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions await me. But I consider my life of no value to myself, if only I may finish my course and complete the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus-the ministry of testifying to the good news of God's grace."
How do you and I respond to God's will when difficult times are in the balance? Do you and I come before the Lord with an unfettered faith and confidence in Him alone? As painful and as unwanted as it may be, can you and I be content with "His will - not mine" - being done for His glory alone?
Prayerfully - consider these things with me.