Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Bread of Adversity and the Water of Affliction

Isaiah 30:20-21 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

I was talking to a friend today about a concern (ok, worry!) that I had. He tried to console me and make me feel better about the situation. I realized that I wasn't trusting God with this situation like I should and told him maybe I should review the notes I took on our New Year's Eve sermon about Proverbs 3:5-6. We quoted it together. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."

It is difficult to trust God when the going gets tough. All too often we have in mind how things should go and when they don't go that way, we feel God has let us down. We try to tell God how He should order our lives. Yet, it says in Isaiah 30 that the Lord gives us the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. Why? How can God be loving and good and yet give us adversity and affliction? How can this be good for us?

We often have in mind what is temporal. We want bodies that work right and don't cause us pain. We want children who are healthy. We want nice homes and food to eat. We want spouses that are the picture of health. After all, doesn't Romans 8:28 tell us that "All things work together for good to them that love God..."?

I think that God has a higher good in mind for us than the temporal. He is looking at our spiritual good. He doesn't bring adversity and affliction on us to punish us for some sin we have committed (although He will do that if needed), but he brings these things to us to grow us up spiritually and to teach us to depend and trust wholly on Him.

We may go through dark times in our lives, but He is not going to leave us to flounder without direction if we trust Him. Isaiah 30:21 says, "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."

Trusting God is not passive, it is active. We don't just sit back and do nothing. Trusting Him means we have some work to do on our part. We must stay in the Word, digging for His truth to lead us. We must be in constant communication with Him through prayer and submissive to the Holy Spirit and His will. As we learn to trust Him, He will bring us the direction we need and lead us through the adversity to greater spiritual maturity. God knows what is best for us. Trust Him.

Dear Father, I often worry and fret about things. I get discouraged and depressed over physical difficulties whether it be my own or a family member's. Yet, I fail to really trust You wholly with these things. Help me to trust and depend on You alone to lead me through the wilderness of this life. In Jesus' Name, Amen

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