This past year has no doubt been a season of growth for me. Quite possibly there have been more downs than ups, but in the downs I believe I have had substantial growth in my relationship with Christ, and for that I am exceedingly thankful. I think the thing I have learned most is what I am still learning: to look to Christ instead of my problems and to find my sufficiency in Him.
Sometimes I allow the negative circumstances in my life to consume my thoughts. Anxiety creeps in and I can’t focus on much else. Even when I believe I am doing what God wants by praying about the problem, I still feel a sense of anxiety and fear regarding the situation.
I very much believe God wants us to pray about our circumstances. He wants to hear our problems, but that is only half of what He wants from us. He wants to hear our problem but He doesn’t want us to hear our problem. He wants us to relinquish control and allow Him to take the problem. He wants our eyes focused on Him…believing Him.
Oswald Chambers said:
Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. The danger comes when, no longer relying on God, you neglect to focus your eyes on Him.
After a period of time when all I can do is focus on my pain and hurt, I begin to wonder why I don’t even have a desire to spend time with the Lord. I pray and beg to feel His presence and to allow me to be filled with joy from Him again.
It took me a while to realize I was allowing negative life circumstances to come between me and God. Yes, the year provided me with some bitter circumstances that I wish could have turned out differently, but focusing on that instead of God had to be corrected. Only He can provide me with the strength I need.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…
Sometimes we have to force ourselves to keep moving, to keep looking to Christ. The choice is ours and we have to keep doing this thing He has told us to do. Frankly, sometimes the joy might not be there, but we can choose it. We can choose to look to Him, to find our sufficiency in him. And most importantly, we can ask for it.
God has promised He will give us what we need.
…let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to Him.
When we ask for help, He will give it. When we ask for wisdom, He will give it. When we ask for our desire for Him back, He will give it. When we ask Him what to pray, He will reveal it. When we ask to see His presence, He will show us. When we ask Him to help us choose joy, He will give us joy in Him. When we ask to rest in His faithfulness, He will allow it.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
In the past month I have seen this Augustine quote enough times to believe it is more than just coincidence:
“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
I am learning how much freedom there is in truly resting in Thee.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.