When life brings about difficult circumstances to endure how do you handle them? I have been a person that never looked back in my life and I have always tried to forgive as the need arose. I also have tried to dwell on the positive rather than the negative in everyday life. Some would have described me as a strong woman and for the most part I would agree with that description. There are times, however, even when the strong need encouragement, when the strong feel beat down and when the strong feel like giving in to despair. It is during those times that I dig into the well for strength. Of course I mean that I dig deeper into the word of God because the comfort there is lasting and authentic and just what I need. Let’s look at some of those deep wells of scripture today.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. Psalm 62, (English Standard Version or ESV).
There are times that will come to every Christian when your soul just wants God to fill you up to overflowing because you feel so empty. Life has been harsh and the only thing that you can do is endure and try to persevere. This Psalm speaks to that lonely pain-filled need. I love the last stanza where human status is put into God’s perspective. Those who think they are the lowest on the status scale are but a breath. That describes us all, doesn’t it? We think in terms of our time on earth and it feels a long time until our death will come. But the truth is that time is fast-moving and soon our life will be over on this earth, just a breath away in the span of eternity’s clock. Those who think that they are high on the status scale have delusional thinking. That is pretty true when you have to be around someone who thinks that they are so much better than you are. The truth is that their life is just a breath as well on eternity’s time-clock. But God is always there, from beginning to end and throughout eternity. His love is available to us at all times. I love that about God! Let us look at another scripture.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13, (ESV).
Have you ever been around a person that talks all the time and never seems to stop? It can be exhausting and it does sound a bit like a noisy gong clanging, doesn’t it? If we stop loving others with the love of God then we are irritating to be around. Regardless of the great achievements you may be able to accomplish if you are not a loving person then you are nothing. If you decide to give everything you have to others and offer yourself as a sacrifice to God but you do so because you want others to think you are the greatest and not because you have a deep love for them and their needs, then you will be greatly disappointed when you meet God because you will have gained nothing. You see love, God’s love, is the most important possession you will ever be able to obtain. It is greater than faith. It is greater than hope. It is obtainable only from the true source and that is God. Loving those who hurt you, who despise you, who want to do harm to you or who want to ignore that you even exist is what God’s love really is. What a precious gift God has given us in His steadfast love.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Galatians 5:1-6, (ESV).
The freedom that we have in Christ is to be expressed by our faith that is working through our love for one another, for those who count us as friend, for those who count us as enemies, for our family, for our neighbors, for our church family, for those who live in other countries. Get the picture? That is how we show our faith in Christ Jesus, through loving the unlovable, through loving the lovable, and through continually doing good for all by manifesting our love. I believe that this is the hardest part of being a Christian. It is easy to put up barriers and hide behind them but that is what hate does. Love covers a multitude of sins.
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:7-11, (ESV)
I am a list maker and need to see examples and lists so I really love this passage because it tells me how to keep love alive. It really is simple, if you don’t have a feeling of love for that lost soul who has made themselves your enemy, then ask God to help you love that person and begin by forgiving them and praying for them. In the toughest storms in my life I lean upon these scripture passages and a hundred more to keep me loving and not hating, to keep me caring and not becoming jaded. God’s love is steadfast and when we ask God to pour His love into our hearts and let it flow through us to continue loving others it is amazing. It is well with my soul because I am at peace with God and God is my rock, my salvation, and my source of steadfast love.