Have you ever questioned your usefulness to God? Have your worried about the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of your faith? If yes, don’t worry… you’re normal. If no, at worst you are lying. At best, you are fooling yourself.
I have had those times as well and such has been the case in recent days. Such difficult situations and tests of faith that I wonder, “Am I up for the task?”
Perhaps even more difficult is walking down the road with someone else. Those who is struggling in their marriage, or those facing hopeless situations in their job or those battling addictions. They come to you looking for answers and your best attempt at comforting words seem to all fall short. All these scenarios can leave you feeling empty.
But never underestimate the importance of being with Jesus, even during times like these. In fact, its most important for us to seek Him…especially during times like these. We need the truth of His word revealed to us in order to protect us from the inevitable lies of Satan. Those lies that tell us, “You’re not worthy. You’re a failure. You should be ashamed.”
One thing we know, our enemy is good…but he is not all that creative. He consistently attacks us when we feel weak so in those moments…especially in those moments…fill your mind with His truth so that you will not believe the lies the deceiver will whisper in your ear.
Just this morning, I read the words of Jesus when he says in John’s gospel:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
Did you see that? Jesus is saying that He can do nothing apart from His Father. He must see His Father doing something and once this is observed, He goes and does the same thing. Jesus later reminds you and I of our same dependence on Him:
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
I read this and I prayed, “Lord, give me eyes to see. Help me to walk in the ways you have prepared beforehand. Teach me to find my satisfaction in You and live in the confidence of your promises fulfilled. By your grace may I see the evidence of your hand upon my life and may my faith be strengthened.”
Soon after, I had a conversation with a friend. One of those difficult situations that I did not have a good answer for but was compelled to be there for them anyway. I listened to the honest emotion and the desired action of this person. I could not blame them for their feelings but I could not support their desired actions. What do I say?
I told my friend, “I understand your emotion. What a difficult situation you are in. Can I ask you to consider something before you make any decisions?”
I continued, “Before you make any decisions, filter them through God. And when you go to Him, don’t pretend. Take your raw emotion as you just shared with me - your anger, your hurt, your disappointment. Go honestly and go humbly.”
“Tell God, ‘This is how I feel…this is what I want to do…’ and then ask, ‘Is this pleasing to You?’ Make an honest commitment that you will not do anything that you are not convinced He is leading you to do. Will you do that?”
“Yes, I will” he said. “Thank you for telling me that.”
I hung up the phone and a light bulb went off in my head. I realized I had just spoken to my friend the words God had spoken to me this morning.
“Filter through Me. Don’t do anything you do not see Me leading you to do. Apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Today my friend and I were both encouraged by the words of God as the hand of God was revealed in our life. He is still at work…do you see Him?