God has a wonderful plan for you
By Bill Holland
If we do not learn from our trials, then our distress has been a missed opportunity. Crisis situations are occasions to put our faith and patience to work and may we always remember that we cannot be defeated as God is for us and is constantly working on our behalf. There are times when we will suffer trauma, discouragement, or even persecution, and no doubt it will be uncomfortable but we must eventually get back up and dust ourselves off and get back into the race. God has always known all the fine details about you and has every intention to use you now more than ever before! He is trying to get your attention that he might polish you and challenge you to be a strong and effective instrument to accomplish his purposes. When the blacksmith is working on his vision, he does not toss it in the corner and forget about it. He has invested much effort because he intends to use his creation for a specific purpose. This is not a time to throw in the towel, but to be inspired and encouraged by God’s infinite mercy and grace. Unforgiveness and bitterness can make us vulnerable and powerless to spiritual attacks. The Bible says in Mark 3:27, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” You and I represent the strong man that occasionally lets down our guard and whenever we become discouraged, our feelings can help bind and hold us captive to the enemy that desires to control our lives. Whenever we give allow a circumstance to dominate our emotions, we have lost the ability to manage the direction of our life. Remember, Jesus has already conquered the kingdom of darkness, so there is no need to fear what has already been defeated. We are to pray for spiritual discernment so that we can recognize when deception is trying to defeat us. God wants to heal our emotional wounds and this can begin when we demonstrate forgiveness, sincerely let go of resentment, and continue moving forward in faith and obedience. To remain offended is to be plagued with the ongoing torture of emotional and spiritual infection. The Greek word for stumbling block is skandalon and is often used to describe a snare trap where bait is attached to entice the victim to be held captive. This term is used for anything that causes resentment to arise which can hold us captive. It’s easy to fall for the temptation to be offended and this unforgiveness prevents us from living in the joy, peace, and contentment of God’s presence. The deeper the pain the more valuable the lesson and as you learn from your trials, allow them to build your character and wisdom so you can teach and help others from your experiences. If we have sinned, then it is time to ask God to forgive us and be restored. We do not need to live in the agony of anger and rebellion any longer. It’s not popular, but occasionally we go through severe trials that are a chastisement from the Lord. This is a blessing for those who are truly His children to know that God loves us so much He will intervene and bring discipline if we refuse to listen to His instructions. We are reminded in Proverbs 3:11, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction.” As soon as we repent with sincere sorrow and humility, He is gracious to cleanse and restore the joy of our salvation. To God, you are a masterpiece! Pray for the awareness of His presence as you watch carefully for His unseen hand and listen intently for His still small voice. Some may ask, how can the God of all things have time to care about circumstances that have hurt me? Does He understand how I feel and does He have a solution for helping me overcome these afflictions? Absolutely my dear one, this is why He promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and well-being and not for ruin, but to give you a future and a hope.” He is all things to all people as His merciful and endless love is the greatest authority in the universe.