Rick and I are running a men’s unleash group and we just finished the second group session, My Story, where the fellows recounted a timeline of their lives.
One theme in many of these sessions is how God allows us to be “stuck” in hard times that often feel counter-productive to what we think is His dream for our life. It’s easy to get frustrated — even angry — with God in these times.
I know I’ve prayed with David:
1How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Sometimes it just feels like things can’t get any harder… and then they do. You look up and say “Really? Really, God? Seriously?”.
Like David’s cry, these must be sweet prayers to our Father — that we would call out to him in our time of need! His love never fails, and like all fathers watching their children go through difficult times, our heavenly Father’s heart must ache for us! But His love and His desire for us is more important. He has a plan for us, and as His children, His great desire is to see us live out the purpose we were made for and enter the joy of knowing we are living out God’s dream.
Linn Winters, Cornerstone’s Senior Pastor, recently gave a message outlining four reasons God allows us to stay in tough times — it’s definitely worthwhile taking an inventory of those reasons as it relates to your particular situation. But Linn’s key message? There IS a reason and we can either cower on the shore, trying to survive the waves crashing against us, or we can “grab our surfboards and ride the waves”.
Remember Jacob’s story? Jacob, falsely imprisoned, after interpreting a fellow prisoner’s dream, asked him:
14But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. (Gen 40:14).
Yet how depressing…
23The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. (Gen 40:23).
For about two years, Jacob was stuck in prison. Can you imagine what a prison must have been like in 1887 BC? Then, finally, God caused things to change. Who knows what God did with Jacob during those two years? But God’s plan for Jacob was big, likely bigger than Jacob ever imagined. God was faithful. Jacob was faithful to God. And Jacob and the nation of Israel was well-blessed.
Be faithful. Share your pain with Him. Pray constantly. Know that He is faithful and is always near, even in the hard times. His plan for you is greater than you could ever imagine.
— Terry West, June 2019