Morning Devotion: Soaring with Jesus through, not around the storms and mega challenges of life. Keys to overcoming with Jesus.
One thing I loved about The Shack movie was it showed you what it’s like to walk through tragedy with God. So many Christian films send the message that if you have enough faith, pray hard enough, then magically in several hours of film the awful situation turns for good. If you pray hard enough for your troubled marriage, that person will magically turn into Jesus in the flesh. If you believe enough, nothing bad will happen to you. If you fast and declare then everything you want will manifest. This thinking is not aligned with reality of life or Jesus.
There are factors at work in life that make it not like utopia, one being the human will. Abuse of free will is why we have evil. God will not force someone to love Him, receive His love, treat us right, or change. God will pursue and woo, they can and we can still reject the love of God.
Faith is not like rubbing a magic genie lamp and everything we want magically happens when we want it to happen. If so, I promise there are parts of my life and the world that would be quite different.
Fasting and prayer are not intended to be manipulation tools to turn God to our wants and desires. Fasting is about weakening the flesh and seeking the heart of the Father.
Prayer is about intimacy with God. It is supposed to be a dialogue not monologue. It is not, “God I starved myself today so give me what I want.” It is supposed to be, “God I humble myself under your mighty hand, your will be done.”
I think about the lives of Job, Jesus, Moses, Daniel, the prophets, the apostles, David, and so many more, they walked through and not around adversity. What about what David said, “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” not I walk around it, I bypass it, nothing bad happens to me, it magically works out when I want it too. Nope.
Jesus suffered the betrayal of his close friends. Only John stood by Him til the end. Jesus was persecuted, mocked, beaten, and hated. The same people who chanted “Hosanna,” came back with “Crucify Him.”
Many of the early apostles were thrown in jail, martyred for loving Jesus, and preaching the Gospel. Jesus said, “In the same way they hated Me, they will hate My true followers.” He also said, “In the world you WILL have trouble, take heart. I have overcome the world.”
For those discouraged because you believed, you decreed and declared, you fasted, you had tons of “big name platform” people pray for you, you tithed and sowed offerings, you did the prayer lines and retreats, you anointed with oil, you commanded, and your situation did not change-break free from guilt, shame, and possibly thinking that God loves you less than everyone else. Maybe you watched others grab onto significant breakthrough and you were told to pray more, decree more, fast more, walk around the building with trumpets and blast them 7 times. Little secret, breakthrough is not a result of our works or striving. It is a result of His power! God’s power brings breakthrough and He tells us to abide in Him, not operate in our flesh (John 15:4-5).
Sometimes the only way out is through. These are some things learned in the wilderness.
1. Look for God.
In the midst of the storms Jesus was at peace. He had peace and released peace. The most important person in the midst of it all is God. The was a fourth man in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They had help with them. They were not delivered from, they were delivered through.
2. Understand the pit is not always a reflection of something you have done wrong. Sometimes it’s because of what you are doing right or someone else’s sin.
If we are not in gross sin, going through hardships is most likely just a factor of living in a sinful world. Sin has collateral damages. It harms someone. The drunk driver who kills your kid most likely did not intend to be a murderer, yet their sin damaged others. Sin always, always hurts someone. Don’t buy into the lie it’s just about you or me. Even if no one sees but God, the wages of sin is death. And some are storing up destruction for their offspring.
Joseph was thrown in a pit because his brothers were jealous of him. People say it was because he was proud and sharing his dreams with his family. Yet healthy and secure people can see another person elevated and not want to kill them for it. Lets call a spade a spade. Jealousy is linked with a murdering spirit. Sometimes suffering is a result of someone’s gross sin.
3. Stop comparing.
Maybe Suzie lives like the devil and seems to be mega blessed always. Stop comparing your life to Suzie. Why would the devil want to attack Suzie and she’s on his team and advancing his agenda? Yes there are people who propagate evil who suffer because sin brings with it destruction, there are also very godly people who suffer simply because they are displaying the Light of Jesus against the darkness.
4. Understand God is not the author of hardships, gross sufferings, and chaos.
Satan is evil. God is good. What God does not stop is NOT the same as what God chooses to happen. Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of Lights. God longs to give good things. He will allow us to walk through some hard things. This does not mean He authored them. God gave mankind dominion on earth. We are the reason there is evil and trials and tribulations. God gave Adam and Eve Utopia. They forfeited it to Satan and Jesus took back authority. We still have evil because not everyone on earth is yielded to God.
5. Soak in the love of God.
I can not think of a better way to rise above the storm than to rest in God’s love and the finished work of the cross. Jesus paid it all. The love and grace of God is sustaining power in every season. God is good and His steadfast love endures forever. There is nothing like His love. It may be challenging to be with the One you know has the power to transform it all in an instance, to shift the dead to living yet does not, to transform the situation, to make the pain go away, to fix it all yet chooses to deliver you through instead of around or from the storm.
Soaking in God can also involve listening. God what part of your heart are you trying to reveal to me in this season? Show me how your power is manifested in my weakness.
6. Let God heal the soul in the process.
Tragedy, prolonged sickness, trauma, death, pain, and seemingly unanswered prayers can bruise and wound the soul. Our soul is comprised of our mind, will, and emotions. When the soul is wounded, if not healed, it can create great turmoil or torment. Inviting God into the soul to heal, mend, restore is vital to coming out on the other side healed and whole instead of battered, beaten, and worn. Unhealed souls can lead to further brokenness.
Taking disappointment to God during hard times is a step to healing. Our souls can ache and break. Quoting scripture and praying does not always link to feeling better. Sometimes those painful memories need processed with God.
7. Understand God wants you to win and overcome.
The wilderness is not intended to be a lifestyle. It is intended to be a season and we learn and move on to the next season. Christianity is not intended to be moving from being under one dark cloud to another. We are to fly through storms and have some seasons of joy. Not live in the pit for the rest of our lives.
Papa God I ask for healing for those told if they had enough faith they would not suffer or hurt in life. Break off that lie in Jesus name. Bring freedom from guilt, shame, and pain. Heal to the soul and cellular level. Increase awareness of your love. Fortify each person with your strength and joy. Build them up where the enemy wants to tear them down. In Jesus powerful name, amen.
With great love,
Erin L Lamb