If you are having big struggles and challenges, then maybe you need to…

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As I look back at my life, (I’m 56 years young today), I understand that I didn’t start thinking maturely, until my mid-late 20’s.  I was very foolish, immature, and self-centered for many, many years.

As I gave my life to Jesus Christ in my young twenty’s, and began desperately seeking His wisdom and life to embed my life, changes began happening. Although I still did (and often still do) things I wish I didn’t, I began to exercise better thinking and habits. Transformation was happening.

Since the early 90’s, I have been involved in a lot of mentoring kind of relationships.  I have listened to a lot of people talking about their difficulties  in their lives.  My heart has broken many times over the stories I heard from people as they shared the struggles they were having in their lives.

It’s interesting to me that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I know I have a tendency (as do so many others that I have come in contact with) to ask God to immediately fix my problems, or better my circumstances RIGHT NOW!

I say, “interesting” because it’s always a balance kind of thing.  My thinking is partially right-on because I am looking to a living and loving God to help me with my problems. That’s a good thing.  This Holy, Sovereign, and Creator God has the power to alter circumstances and He has love in His heart to help me when often, I am the one responsible for my own difficulties.

But balance is required in my thinking (and maybe in yours as well) because often God in His wisdom does not do some kind of “supernatural deliverance” from my hard circumstances, but rather gently, offers empathy (that He understands my feelings), encouragement and hope (that together, we will get through this), and strength to be steadfast and persevere  as I get back upright on my feet in time.

And this is key, in this “resetting of my focus”, He also offers guidance, a road map if you will from the Bible to order my steps and decision-making.  This road map for success and help in my current crisis is typically not glamorous, or dramatic  (as I sometimes want a living God to demonstrate), but nonetheless is sure and is solid truth, BUT…. this guidance does require my obedience.

I can say, I know a lot of Bible verses, but unless I submit myself to obeying these truths, I can’t expect any real results and neither should you.

I leave you with three key Bible verses and a Bible story to further clarify what I’m trying to convey to all of us who need help in navigating the challenges and struggles of life:

Psalm 119:105 – “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path”  (NASB)

Proverbs 3:5-6  (ESV)- “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)- “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Kings 5:1-14  – it’s the story of a man named Naaman. Please read the story yourself, but here is the summary.  Naaman was a soldier who was also a leper.  A little Jewish girl who was taken as a prisoner saw the need of Naaman and said that he should go to a prophet in Israel and be healed.

Naaman lit up with hope. He listened to the girl and went to Israel, expecting a healing ceremony, if you will.  He was looking for something glitzy to happen in healing him.  The prophet Elisha did hear of his leprosy and his desire to be healed, but rather than any show of healing, simply gave Naaman instructions to dunk himself in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed.

Naaman, at first objected, because his thought of cured supernaturally was fixed on someone waving their hand over him, reciting something, you know some kind of spectacle. . But that was not the way the prophet instructed him.  Naaman was simply expected to obey and exercise faith.  At first, reluctantly, but later with humility and expectancy, he obeyed and he in fact, did  experience a miracle.

It was not that the Jordan River held miraculous power, but rather that the supernatural did play out in his obedience spoken through God’s word, in this case through the lips of a prophet.

So, in conclusion, my friends, the living, loving, and God of miracles still exists-TODAY.    If you find yourself camped out in the midst of overwhelming challenges and struggles in your life, rather than looking for a microwave kind of quick resolution of your problems and circumstances,  come to this Sovereign God as did Naaman; in obedience, with humility, and expectancy.  Take one “dunk” of faith at a time. Miracles still happen, but maybe not as you might expect, not as quickly, or dramatically as you might think.  But they still do happen.

Blessings.

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