Sharing by: Pam Crawford
“The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.” (LASB)
LIVING IN THE STRENGTH OF GOD’S SPIRIT
It is very easy to feel disappointed when you have been let down. God has me in a place today where I am learning how to properly respond to disappointments and the frustrations of this life. I only wish that I didn’t have so many circumstances that challenge my capacity to get this lesson right. However, I understand without a doubt that how I respond is the key to how things turn out for me. One of the most important things I am drawing from this lesson is that if I refrain from allowing “bitterness” to take root, I’m on my way to experiencing more victories.
There is a particular circumstance in my life that had the potential of causing some real setbacks. Because someone chose to impart what appears to be a vindictive nature; I received a personal character attack that felt nothing short of evil. The words that were spewed at me were so hurtful, and to make matters worse, they were posted on a social networking site before I ever had a chance to address what led up to this blindsided attack. I can't help but wonder, have we really become that desensitized that we bypass live communications with one another in order to react in any manner we feel like? Have we truly forgotten the rule of thumb that there are always “two sides to every story?” I must say that had I responded in my flesh (the way I was accustomed to doing in the past) I might have failed the lesson at hand.
Thankfully, for the first time in my life I chose not to defend myself in this situation. I knew without a doubt that the things that were posted displayed a misrepresentation of truth, so I decided it would be best to just activate my direct line to God through prayer. I asked Him to help me refrain from responding with anger or bitterness. He was faithful to answer that prayer and He kept my emotions in check. Like some of you, I have learned the hard way that some people are just not interested in hearing both sides of a story. They rather rush to judgment and I know this to be true as I have been that person. So what was different this time?
As I reflected on something that God taught me about waiting on Him in times of disappointment, I was reminded of an article by Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries which dealt with Dealing with Disappointment. As I reviewed it, I realized that I was on the right track. I have said this before and it’s something we must remember. You cannot change the heart or mind of another human being, nor can you control a situation that is outside of the will of God. However, never forget the power of prayer and obedience on your part. I believe the following is something to consider when you’re in the midst of personal conflict. Be blessed.
Dr. Stanley writes: “A right response to disappointment begins with resisting the natural tendency toward bitterness. If someone else was involved in the situation, don't be quick to judge his or her conduct. We cannot fully understand what is going on in others' lives or what motivates them to act as they do. Our second step should be to ask the Lord, "How am I to respond?" God can guide us to a wise and righteous reaction because He has all the facts. Third, follow His direction, even if it isn't what you want to do. Oftentimes the Lord's way contradicts our own desires and the advice of friends. However, His plan is the one that will bring about growth and result in our greatest good. And finally, keep your focus on God and His higher purpose in your life. People are prone to dwell on their hurts and the harm that comes to them, which is what makes disappointment so destructive.”
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
As I wait for resolve, I will continue to dwell, rest, and pray that someday God will right this injustice. I must surrender to His timing, His way. And, until then I will simply ask that He will empower me to obey His call to love my enemies (Matthew 5:44). On my own this is not easy, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). It is the only way you survive hurts that you never expected. It has been my personal experience that the more I pray for my enemies, the easier it becomes to let go of the offense. Another thing that is helping me is to never underestimate that Satan loves to destroy relationships. If he can keep unrest amongst God’s creations; then he is on his way to achieving his goal to “kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).” Let’s not help him in his work.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Life’s Application Commentary:
Habakkuk had asked God why evil people prosper while the righteous suffer. God’s answer: They don’t not in the long run. We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. But we can be assured that he is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world. Habakkuk’s feelings were not controlled by the events around him but by faith in God’s ability to give him strength. When nothing makes sense, and when troubles seem more than you can bear, remember that God gives strength. Take your eyes off your difficulties and look to God. At the proper time, God will bring about his justice and completely rid the world of evil. In the meantime, God’s people need to live in the strength of the Spirit, confident in his ultimate victory over evil.
Additional Scripture Reading: James 1
Additional Scripture Reading: James 1
Today’s prayer:Father God, on behalf of all who might be reading, may I ask you to strengthen us against the temptation to become bitter and angry over offense. Keep us focused on what you can do within a situation, instead of focusing on the affect of the situation. Help us to desire to live out Matthew 5:9 so that some day there might be a chance for a peaceful resolution. Until then, encourage us to say nothing to defend ourselves, but rather help us to let you go before us to pave the way for stubborn hearts to be made new. In Your Son’s Precious Name, we pray. Amen.
In Christ by grace,