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Girlfriends in God - Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015
Learning to Trust Through Trials
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

In all your ways acknowledge him {the LORD}, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:6)

Friend to Friend

Yesterday socked me with a one-two knockout punch.

First, I got news that a family friend died suddenly. She was a 45 year-old single mom who loved God. She lived paycheck to paycheck and worked tirelessly to scrape pennies together to help her two kids get a college education. They didn’t have much money, but were rich with love.

Now those two penniless college kids are orphans – shaken to the core and scrambling to find money to pay for a funeral because their loving momma had no life insurance.

Death punches hard.

Shockwaves of grief are running through the veins of all who know and love them.

It seems so wrong. So upside-down. Excruciating. Unfair. Crooked.

A second blow came with the news that another friend – also in his mid 40s – has been diagnosed with a brain function condition that is causing him to have speech and processing issues. He is a godly man, a loving husband, community leader and father of four school-aged children. His treatments begin immediately and his cognitive future is unclear.

Sickness punches hard.

Shockwaves of grief are running through the veins of all who know and love him.

It seems so wrong. So upside-down. Unfair. Crooked.

My soul is restless with questions.

If life in Christ is promised to be abundant and full (John 10:10), then why are there times when it seems so empty and broken? Why does pain sting so violently? Why do good people die young? Why do talented employees lose their jobs and struggle to find new ones? Why are there so many people addicted to porn, addicted to shopping, addicted to eating, drugs, pain pills, and alcohol? Why do honorable Christ-followers face such compelling hardships?

Why, Lord? It doesn’t make sense! I want it to make sense!

And I begin to hear His still small voice… Trust me. Don’t rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge me. I will make every path straight…

How, God? How can You make this right? I wonder, recognizing the mysterious beauty of His sovereignty, but perplexed and disillusioned by the collateral damage left in the wake of loss and hardship.

As I am still before Him, I remember.

I remember what I learned recently about the familiar verses in Proverbs 3. You know them, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (v. 5-6).

You see, the second part never made sense to me. I wondered, Why would “acknowledging” God motivate Him to make my paths straight? In the New Testament, even the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, so why would acknowledging Him make my paths straight?

I looked up the root word and I found a gold mine.

The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” used there is da, the primitive root of which means to know. It means “to understand, to grasp or ascertain; especially to be familiar or acquainted with…”

So, in all of your ways acknowledge him really means: in all of your ways yāda Him... in all of your ways KNOW Him – seek to understand Him – be familiar with Him – be acquainted with HIM… and He will make your paths straight. Which shows us that the key is way less about our challenges and way more about our God.

When we are intimately familiar with God – when we don’t just know about Him, but when we KNOW Him – the most crooked roads we travel are made straight. Not because life is easy. Hardship stings and life is complicated. Not because all that we experience is just. Much of life is unfair. But because when we know God, we know:

His strength that is accessible in our weakness
His comfort that meets us as we mourn
His mercy that withholds the punishment our depravity readily deserves
His peace that defies our unrest
His joy that kisses the cheeks of our sorrow
His courage that emboldens our weary hearts and casts away fears
His redemption that reworks our brokenness into beauty
His love that binds us to eternity and delights over us with singing

Even when the one-two punches come, I can trust God – not because I understand all the circumstances, or even like them – but because I know HIM. And because I know HIM, I can trust that He will provide all that I need to process pains, heal from wounds, and move forward in strength, grace, and peace.

Let’s Pray

Holy Father, You are faithful, compassionate, loving and kind. Thank You for making Yourself known to me through Your Word. Will you calm my restlessness with Your peace today and make straight my paths? Help me to know You more, Lord. Help me to trust You beyond my understanding.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and personalize the invitation that Jesus gave to his followers in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” What would it look like if you did this with your heart burdens today? Will you? CLICK HERE to leave a response on my blog. Say, “I’ve laid down my mess and picked up His rest!”

More from the Girlfriends

Are you struggling to trust that God’s love can bring beauty to your life? Learn how God wants to bring you beyond your past heart-wounds and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It’s also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s website.

Seeking God? Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
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