Life is Hard

I cannot imagine doing life without God. Doing life with God does not guarantee a life free of stress, worry, hurt, or conflict. However, choosing to include God makes going through trials easier, IF we are able to give up CONTROL. This is one area I need to allow God to work:

I need to relinquish control to him because only He knows what is good for me.

This is a big struggle for me because I have OCD and not being in control brings anxiety, stress, depression, and worry. But what am I worrying about? If I am giving up control to the one that created me, then what do I have to be afraid of? Those feelings of worry, stress, anxiety, depression are feelings that the enemy will feed with DOUBT. Satan wants us to doubt God. He wants us to constrict our relationship with God, and when things go south, he feeds our minds with, “Where were you God?”

John 10:10 is a perfect example in Scripture of the roles of God and Satan. Jesus said, “The thief’s (Satan) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Life is going to have hills and valleys, but if we choose to include God in our everyday journeys, then we will have a light with us always. Jeremy Foster is the lead pastor of Hope City in Houston, Texas and he spoke about going through the valleys in our lives and how there is always a light with us. Psalms 23:4 says,

“Even though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

The key word in this verse is SHADOW. How does a shadow work? Only in the presence of light! A shadow cannot appear in the darkness. So, when we walk through the valleys in our lives, God is there guiding us, IF we relinquish control to Him.

The enemy is going to magnify our problems and try to tie them to our identity. He only has one purpose in our lives and that is to try and STEAL our JOY, KILL our FAITH in GOD, and DESTROY our HOPE. However, the enemy is not the one that created us. And if he did not create us, then he is NOT in control of us either. Then why is it so hard to give control to God? Well, for one, it is extremely hard to be vulnerable and allow someone else to have control in situations that seem pretty bad. But, the one in control knows us better than we know ourselves!

“I knew you before I FORMED you in your mother’s womb….” Jeremiah 1:5

Do you realize that out of everything God made in creation, human beings are the only thing he put his hands on? God literally spoke everything into existence, but he FORMED man.

Another reason it is hard to surrender control to God is simply lack of faith. It is hard to trust God when we do not know what the outcome will be or even have an idea of what will happen. However, God has plans for us, plans to prosper us to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). When we hit those valleys and it feels like we will never get out, we cannot let the enemy magnify the valley, but we can magnify the one leading us through the valley, which leads me back to the vulnerability problem we have. Magnifying God in all situations is, in its simplest form, WORSHIP. We love to worship God when life seems to be going good, but worship is extremely hard to do when walking through a valley. There are so many other things that we want to do when going through hard times and they are all driven by FEAR. The best thing to conquer fear is faith. Faith in knowing that God is working everything together for our good (Romans 8:28).

“Fear tolerated is Faith contaminated.” Jeremy Foster

When fear seems to be consuming us, one of the best ways to conquer it is to just fall to our knees, open our arms wide, and worship the one that created us, who has good things planned for us. This reminds me of a time in the book of Joshua that is fairly strange to me. The Israelites are being led by Joshua and as they cross the Jordan River, they come to the city of Jericho. Jericho was a city with high walls and was tightly secured like a fortress. This city stood between the Israelites and God’s Promises. And how did they conquer this city? By marching around it seven times and blowing trumpets?……….What? I dug into this a little deeper and I came to the realization that their obedience to God by marching around the walls and blowing trumpets was an act of worship. Even though they did not really understand what they were doing, they had faith that God was going to come through for them.

Oh how this is so true today. When things are going good and life seems to be just right, we can praise God for it and be the most Christian people alive. But when we are in the valleys, we tend to throw up the walls that we think will be secure, but in all reality they are the SHADOW in the valley. When our arms go up, the walls fall down! When we are able to worship God in all seasons, highs and lows, hills and valleys, we have become vulnerable to what God can do in our lives and have surrendered control to him. You see, the Israelites approached Jericho and saw a great city. They could have magnified the city instead of God and chose not to obey (which is very similar to how the spies approached the Promised Land and saw giants, but Joshua and Caleb saw a God who would deliver them to His promises not matter what, but that is for another day), but they chose to magnify God and once they did this, Jericho was just a small obstacle compared to what the Promises of God were for them.

The same holds true for us today. We spend so much time in fearing the unknown, magnifying what is going wrong in our lives that we forget what God has promised us. Read John 10:10, praise and worship God, pray, do whatever you need to do to allow God to have control and work in your lives because God has promised us ETERNAL LIFE through his Son, Jesus Christ. We just need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to earth to die for our sins, the ultimate sacrifice (John 3:16). Once we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can surrender control to God because of the Promises he has made to us.

Don’t allow your problems to be magnified in your life. Instead, magnify the one that created you, that put special emphasis on creating you, and that has a future and a hope for you. Don’t try to disqualify yourselves because the grace and mercy of God is not earned, it is given as a gift to receive. Believe that. Again, if the enemy did not create you, he is most certainly not in control of you. So, the next time that the enemy reminds you of your problems, your failures, tells you that you are not good enough, remind him of his future and know that God, our Creator, has everything under control.

Lord, I believe you created me and you know me more than I know myself. I pray that I make it my goal this year to know you wholeheartedly, to deepen my relationship with you. I surrender complete control to you. I pray for strength and wisdom as I allow you to work in me and allow your Will to play out in my life. I pray that on my darkest days I cling to you, I use your light to pull me out of the darkness and lead me on the path you have set before me. Please forgive me for doubting you and allowing the enemy to overtake me. I pray for the full armor of God to be on me at all times and I can develop the fruits of the Spirit within me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally! You are a good father and you work everything together for good. I love you Lord and I praise your name. I also pray for those reading this that do not have a personal relationship with God. I pray that they feel led to allow you to work in their lives, surrendering control, and believing and trusting in you.

Amen.

If you do not have a personal relationship with God, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to talk to you about this decision. I can promise you that it will be the greatest decision you can ever make!!