Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Praise Him In The Storm

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18

The book of Habakkuk ends with these beautiful verses, following two chapters of complaints about injustices around him. God’s solutions didn’t materialize like Habakkuk anticipated, but in the end, he learned to trust God’s wisdom.

We’re like Habakkuk, aren’t we? At times, we’re convinced God has somehow gotten it wrong. After all, we’re faithful, go to church, give to the needy, volunteer, and forgive transgressions…We’re Christians…We deserve to stay on the mountaintop, right?

Mountaintop security is an illusion. True security doesn’t come from a paycheck that could dry up tomorrow or from a house current on its mortgage.

Our only real security is God himself.

The Bible says rain falls on the just and unjust. Christians suffer just like non-believers, this side of heaven. Living in a fallen world, we’re destined to trek through valleys. However, many promises in the Bible point to God not letting the faithful suffer unnecessarily, nor for an indefinite period of time (though it feels like it at times).  

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12.
Some people appear to suffer more trials than others or more than what seems fair. I don’t have an answer for that, except to say God is sovereign, and we have to trust Him to do the right thing. He supplies all our needs, which may look different than we expect.

Seventeen years ago, my husband and I experienced the joy of buying our first house after our second child was born. A month later, my husband was laid off, and we were forced to put the house on the market and relocate to another city. I’ll spare you the details of trying to quick sell a house with no equity.

Two years later, my son was diagnosed with developmental delays, and we began years of speech and occupational therapy.

At five years old, my son had his first seizure. Watching my husband give him CPR, while I begged the 911 operator to expedite EMS, was a low point. There have been many valleys in my life, but you know what?

God is still on His throne. More importantly, He’s on the throne of my heart and never once has He deserted me.

Does it feel like God has deserted you? Consider this for a moment:

The toughest thing God asks is for us to die to self and be willing to sacrifice everything for Him. But hear what I’m saying. That doesn’t mean he’ll always take it.

In the Biblical story of Abraham, he’d waited his entire adult life for a son, and what did God ask of him? To put Isaac on the altar. God had no intention of taking Isaac, but he wanted Abraham’s whole heart and obedience.

God points to whatever our Isaac is and says, “Lay it on the altar.” It’s difficult to do when we can’t see the end result.

Job lost everything, and his wife said, “Are you still holding onto your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job’s answer was, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:9-10). 

The next 36 chapters of Job are filled with Job suffering and his friends giving him bad counsel. Finally, Job 38:1, says, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.”

God answers all prayer—in His perfect timing.

In both Abraham’s and Job’s case, God honored their obedience. This doesn’t mean we can’t cry out to God, even when we have no words to express our pain and outrage (Romans 8:26). He can take it. God will never forsake you.

We have a choice. We can go through life with God or without Him. I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to try to live in this fallen world without Him, regardless of what He asks me to endure. I need His comfort. When I can’t trust what the world hands me, I can trust Him.

As we go to the Lord in prayer, remember our brothers and sisters facing housing crises, unemployment, and health problems, specifically Betty and Tony, as well as the anonymous request last week about a home/farm foreclosure. Pray for difficult family situations lifted up in the past few weeks, as well. Please continue to pray for Courtney, a young mother battling a cancerous brain tumor. She'll have a follow-up MRI this month to check treatment effectiveness.

Please leave your prayer requests in the comment section so others can pray for you. You may email me confidential requests.

Are you waiting on God for an answer to a difficult life situation? While you listen to this uplifting song by Casting Crowns, I encourage you to find one thing to praise God for today!


30 comments:

  1. This is my first time at your blog and I must say today was so inspirational-I printed it and have reviewed several times throughout the morning. Thank you for such a good morning devotional for me. I would like to be on your prayer list-my husband and I are living 800 miles from my children and our first grandchild is due soon. I am hoping for a solution which will allow us to split our time between the two states as I feel God has me in Virginia for a reason. Right now there is no solutions on the horizon but I know that God can accomplish everything especially when nothing seems to be there! Love and prayers.

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by and found inspiration this morning, Lisann. God is great! I will be praying for you and your family, that God will provide a good solution for everyone. God bless you. I look forward to hearing from you again.

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    2. hello lisann - i am a friend of laura and i read your request while posting my prayer request. i just wanted to let you know that i will be praying for you request. felt led to let you know this.
      God Bless
      Betty

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  2. laura once again you used your gift of writing to encourage me. thank you so much. please do continue to pray for the Lord to allow tony to get work. also please continue to pray for karen and mike, she is battling cancer but is doing better and may be transfered back to her home state. thanks to everyone praying!
    God Bless
    Betty

    laura do you happen to know the exact day courtney is going to have the follow up MRI?

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    1. You're welcome, Betty. I am continuing to pray for Karen and Mike, as well as Tony's job situation. I don't know Courtney's MRI date. I'm not sure it has been scheduled yet. I'll post as soon as I know. Thanks for being part of the prayer team!

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  3. HI Laura... stopping by from Beholding Glory... your title caught my attention... I completely agree.. I hard times its all about Praising HIm. This was one of the songs I played over and over when my daughter passed away. Thank you for your encouragement.
    Monica
    www.godsmostprecious.blogspot.com
    Hope you would come by to visit...
    also I have a page up where you can put any prayer request and it will be prayed over daily... hope you would take a look and spread the word... PRAYER is SO POWERFUL!!!
    http://www.godsmostprecious.blogspot.com/search/label/koinonia

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    1. I read your blog post. What an amazing and powerful testimony! Thanks so much for sharing it.

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    2. Monica, I am listing your blog in my weekly prayer post tomorrow.

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  4. Your words here are so true - though it is difficult to praise Him in the midst of a storm, yet as we look back on the difficult times He allows us to go through, we see Him so clearly. That He was with us, and that He uses even the hard times (and especially the hard times) to draw us close to His heart. Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks, also, for visiting me at Pursuing Heart ...

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cherry. You're right. Hindsight is 20/20. I've learned to trust God's nature and what He has promised, even when my circumstances may tell me I'm alone. I know better!

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  5. Such truth you have spoken here! Thank you for the encouragement. We have had the toughest year of our lives and yet, I know that it will be ok. I have thanked God for my feelings of insecurity as I learn that only in Him am I truly secure. God bless you as you minister to others through this blog!

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    1. You're welcome, Tereasa. I'm glad you were encouraged and sorry to hear about your tough year. I pray that this next year will be filled with blessings. Please stop by again and let me know how you're doing.

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  6. Your post's title "called to" me, because I just posted about ice storms in my life. I was praising God not only despite but because of them, but then as the day went on yesterday and a "mini-ice storm" was going on, my spirit lost its focus. What you wrote here is so timely and encouraging for me, especially "The toughest thing God asks is for us to die to self and be willing to sacrifice everything for Him. But hear what I’m saying. That doesn’t mean he’ll always take it." I was beginning to think it did! Your explanations from scripture helped set me back on course. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Sylvia. I'm always thrilled when God uses my blog to touch someone at a point of need. I pray that your storms lessen and whatever growth God is putting you through will be apparent and helpful in your journey. I'll also pray relief for your situation. God bless you. Please stop in again and let me know how you're doing.

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  7. Loved this! I Will Praise You in this Storm is so powerful! It comes down to the heart of what you believe: do you trust Him to fully have control of your life, even when it looks bad?

    He is trustworthy!

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    1. Thanks, Jerralea! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I agree--He is trustworthy! Thanks for stopping by again. God bless you.

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  8. Thank you for writing! This was so encouraging Laura!!

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  9. Betty R. McCartyMay 9, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Didn't mean for my comment to be "anonymous". :)

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  10. Hi Laura,

    I found you from your #prayer on Twitter and love your thoughts. God is always good and right, even when we don't understand Him.

    Hugs from VA :)
    Susan

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I'm so glad you stopped by. God bless you.

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  11. Thanks Laura! I find God "in the storm" more than any other place. I stand in awe of the thunder and lightning and will feel fear if it comes to close. Still, it is better to be near the Lord of the Storm than resting in self-satisfaction. God bless your ministry!

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    1. You're welcome. I agree. I'm closest to God in the midst of a storm. His comforting hand is always upon me.

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  12. This is a WONDERFUL post. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Hallee. I'm glad you were blessed by it!

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  13. I always praise him in my storm for he is all who can carry me through it. It doesn't stop my fears, it just reminds me to hold onto him and know that even though zI am afraid ..

    He Is with mr always. ESPECIALLY IN MY STORMS !

    Lisa V.

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    1. So true, Lisa. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. God bless you.

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  14. Encouraging words.Praising Him through this storm!Though my heart is torn..I will praise You in this storm,Lord!

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  15. Going through separation ,job loss and health problems . Pray that i stay focused on Jesus to hear the Holy spirit show me what to do. I pray that my wife gives her life to God i love and miss my wife and pray for restoration and i need a job in my field of work with great benefits and can use my talents LORD I NEED YOU!

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