Have you ever had one of those times in your life when you hit a rough patch that doesn’t seem to let up? I am talking about the kind of rough patch that leaves you wondering if you some how did something that God is NOT pleased with and this is your punishment? That you start to question the goodness of God and retrace all your recent actions convinced that you somehow committed some grievous act that has brought on this onslaught of bad circumstances? I think we have all been there at one time or another. In that place where we are completely overwhelmed by the things around us and we have no idea how to walk through it to the other side unscathed, let alone come out rejoicing.
I recently have walked through a time where I was walking the fine line of “God, did I DO something???” and “Have you forgotten about me completely??”. As a Pastor, most people think we have this bubble of protection that keeps us from the hardships of life. That our jobs consist only of sitting in our office praying and listening to worship music and that God never allows up to travel through seasons of hardship. Well, let me just tell you that is COMPLETELY INACCURATE! It is through one of these seasons that I even have the words to write to you in this blog.
I am not going to walk you through all of the details of this last season as this is supposed to be a “short” blog, but trust me as I tell you it will go in to my top 10 hardest seasons in my life. As I go back and review the circumstances, each one in and of itself was not “horrible” but the rate at which each of these situations came, the intensity of them and how they all came at one time brought a season of discouragement and despair in my heart where I just didn’t know how I was going to make it through. I found myself one day completely overwhelmed and frustrated with my current situation. It was then that I heard the Holy Spirit as clear as if He was in the same room as me say “When have I ever not come through?”. It was a jolt to my soul in the midst of my internal pity party. It brought me a moment of peace and I continued with my day, but I could not shake that phrase. Over the next few days the Holy Spirit kept dropping words and phrases into my spirit until the phrase “found faithful” became my life’s mission. I began to study the meaning of the phrase, where faithful comes in scripture and how in the end of this season I would be “found faithful”. And then, in the true fashion of the Holy Spirit, I was praying and worshiping in a service and I heard Him so clearly say to me “You have been seeking how you will be found faithful but in the end you will see that I am the one who is found faithful.” Well that just wrecked me to the core. Of course! What is my faithfulness compared to the one whose very nature is faithful?!
This change of perspective sent me head first into scripture with a pursuit of Him that I have never experienced in my life. Sure, I have always loved the word, but this was different. It had become my literal life blood. My day depended on my time with Jesus. You see, NONE of the circumstances had changed! I was still in this season (and still am in this season) where around every corner I find myself facing some situation that I am not sure how to walk through, but He IS FAITHFUL! A joy and peace renewed in my spirit where the circumstances around me no longer felt like a terminal blow, but instead a reminder that “He who has called me is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
In the middle of this revelation I heard a clip from a message by Jospeh Prince. He was speaking in 1 Peter 5:7-8 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” I have heard both of these verses for most of my life, but never together. Always separately and in reference to each of their topics, but Joseph Prince put them together, just as written by the Apostle Peter, and he made this statement that has redefined the way I am walking through this season. He said “When we refuse to cast our cares and worries on God, we make ourselves devourable to the enemy”. That is where I had been, holding my cares, striving in my own strength and looking like a steak dinner to the enemy who was trying to take me down through life circumstances.
Friend, we each have our own season of life where we don’t think we can make it through. If we sat around my living room and shared with each other our circumstances we would be in awe of that fact that some of us are still even standing let alone praising God. But maybe you have lost the praise, maybe you cannot even see the fact that God has remained faithful to you in this hard time, He IS Faithful. It is who He is and it is something He cannot and WILL NOT change. That moment when the enemy is licking his lips thinking he has you right where he wants you, ready to be devoured, cast your cares. Even if it is just a whisper of “Jesus”, or the smallest praise you can muster, do it in faith. Declare it in faith.
One thing God asked me to do early on in this journey, I am going to ask you to do as well. If you are having a hard time seeing God as faithful in your season, make a list of everything you can praise God for doing in your life. Go back as far as you have to and make the list as long as you can. Then praise Him for it. Praise Him for what He has done, what He is going to do and where you find yourself now. For I can guarantee you will find Him there, Faithful.