I don’t know about you, but when I read devotions there are some that I simply read and say “Yeah I see that.” While others grab me by the heart and don’t let me go quite so easily. March 5 was one of those days.
It was also a day that I wondered to myself if anyone else was snagged by it? Am I the only one who has read Romans 8:31-39 a bajllion times only to still struggle with something I no longer had to worry about?
What was is it that I read that had me so entangled?
If you are God’s child, you can rest assured today that both your standing before God and His rule on your behalf are sure and secure.
- It is because of God’s grace that you have a forever place in God’s family.
- It is because of grace that your life is under the careful administration of the King of Kings Himself.
- It is because of grace that on our darkest days, we are still loved and accepted.
- It is because of grace that when nothing in life makes sense, our life is still under His control.
Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies, March 5
As I mulled this over and over, I asked why something that sounds so clear and simple is so hard to remember and live out in the day to day? God reminded me that often those things that look so simple are not as simple as they appear. Often the one at work is a master who makes the task look easy peasy, when in reality to the novice it is a lot harder than it looks and it needs to be broken down into a number of steps in order for them to accomplish the task.
Cooking is like that for me. I have a number of friends who just “throw things together” and out jumps an exquisite meal. They make it look so simple. But when I try to do that well, it looks like I threw it all together!
So what does that have to do with anything?
I have many friends who are going through some pretty horrific circumstances. Some are novices and some are seasoned sufferers. I began to wonder how one goes from being a novice to seasoned sufferer…
I’ve spent a lot of time observing people in general and taking note of how they deal with whatever “life” throws their way, both in the secular and Christian arenas. Unfortunately, in my experience, there wasn’t much difference between the non-believers and the believers in the way they responded to their hard times.
The responses ranged from one end of the suffering spectrum to the other. There were those who griped and complained about every little “difficulty” they were going through and then there were those who were knocked down but kept getting back up standing stoically as though nothing had happened. Both are extremes and are not healthy.
Interestingly enough there was a third group that caught my attention, a group of novices as well as the seasoned. This group was marked by peace and faith, although walking in very different stages of the process.
Having been conflicted by the two extremes I saw; sharing your disdain with the world or sticking your head in the sand pretending everything is ok and wondering how you move forward into peace and faith as seen in the third group, God reminded me of Psalm 92:1-2.
The Psalmist was often faced with difficult circumstances and this was a psalm for the Sabbath, probably to help him re-focus as he began a new week.
The psalmist shows us in two small steps how to grow toward and live out this simple, yet seemingly complex truth of God’s love for us and His sovereignty over us.
2 Steps to Growing into and Living Out the Truth of God’s Love and Sovereignty
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. – Psalm 92:1-2
The psalmist tells us it is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to His name, Most High – the sovereign God, every day. Morning and evening are the typical times to pray.
- In the morning we should thank Him for His lovingkindness.
Confess each morning that His love is one of intense loyalty to us, His covenant people. It helps us to remember that no matter what happens today, you and I are loved. This one fact should put all of the troubles in this world into a new perspective.
How can we be thankful regardless of the circumstances? By remembering God loves us, and nothing can change that. Remembering His lovingkindness should cause us to walk in righteousness and confidence before Him. Doing this each morning sets the tone for the day by putting our focus on God and His love for us.
- In the evening we should thank Him for His faithfulness.
Evaluating all that happened during the day allows us to be reminded of how He was present each day in both the good and the bad and is always working in our favor.
The sovereignty and the steadfast love of God are the foundational truths for thankfulness. By cultivating thankfulness we are able to begin to look at our circumstances from God’s perspective and begin to grow in the understanding and knowledge of God in the midst of great suffering and learn to be grateful for those things we once despised. Without that foundation we will only occasionally find reasons to be grateful for some things.
I have found that by following this two-step practice daily, over time God changes my perspective and allows me to be thankful even for the horrific things I may be experiencing. Only then am I able to focus on His face and instead of complaining about what’s happening, and rejoice in my situation.
My suggestion is that you start each day thanking God for His sovereignty and unconditional love for you.
- Look for His hand at work in your circumstances throughout the day (perhaps writing them in a journal so you can refer back to them in the darkest moments).
- Thank Him for His specific acts of faithfulness during the day, at night before you go to sleep.
In doing so you will not only cultivate an attitude of gratitude but you will know, that you know, that you are loved and that God is working in your favor! Then and only then, if you are God’s child, can you rest assured that both your standing before God and His rule on your behalf are sure and secure.