Monday, October 12, 2009

Praising In The Storm

Psalm 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.


If you are visiting me today from the Proverbs 31 devotion, Cartwheels in Heaven, welcome! I hope you will come back and visit throughout this week as we continue this discussion of finding hope in Christ, and encourage each other with our own personal stories and comments about this mystery called hope.

If you are like me, and as I mentioned in todays devotion, there are probably situations in your life that seem hopeless. Whether what you are hoping for is small or huge, the feeling of hopelessness can be very disheartening, discouraging, and frustrating.

As I studied the Bible recently on the subject of hope, I came across John 14:18, which says "No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you." His words were few in this verse, but the impact was profound.

In these few words, Jesus reminds us that regardless of how difficult the storms seem to be in our life, and regardless of how alone we may feel, that God has not abandoned us, and promises that He never will.

During great storms in our life, when the waves seem to be crashing in from every direction and the pull of the current is so strong that we are afraid we will drown, it is so important to remember some of the most basic promises that God provides. Through His Word we are reassured of those basic promises over and over - that He hears our prayers; He is always near; He also hears our cries, and He catches every tear that falls.

Another verse that helps restore peace and hope in my heart is, Isaiah 41:13 which says, "For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.And I say to you,‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.'" Again, another reassurance that even though we feel alone and forgotten, God has not abandoned us, and He never will. God is there to hold our hand, even when nobody else is.

Where else could we receive such amazing comfort and reassurance, than God?

Where else could we find someone who would catch every tear, besides God?

Where else could we find someone who will be there for us 24/7, at our beckoning call, to hold our hand and walk us through every storm, besides God?

Who else can know with the utmost confidence will never abandon us, but God? Who else can really hold us up when we are too weak to carry on ourselves? Nobody, but God.

But even knowing these truths, and believing them with my full heart, sometimes I still struggle to keep hope, and maybe you do too.

I believe that the key to maintaining hope is to not focus on the situation with my human mind, but with my spiritual heart, and to seek out solace in Gods Word.

When I feel my hope dwindling about a storm in my life, there are many verses that bring comfort, but one in particular always helps me keep my head above water, and that is Romans 8:28, which says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

You see, not only have I read countless passages in the Bible where this truth is portrayed, but I have also seen this verse proven true in situations in my own life. I have seen God take broken pieces of my life, and turn them into a beautiful novel that only He could have written.

So when the outlook seems dismal about a particular situation, I try to remember those miracles that God has already done. As I focus on the reality of His truth of how He used a storm in my life to His glory in the past, it helps me to hold tight to the promise that God can use current difficult situations to His glory as well.

Romans 8:28 always reminds me that no matter how powerful the storm is, my God is bigger, and most importantly, that He always has a plan.

It reminds me that God is still in control, even when things seem out of control, and that He has a purpose and a reason for everything. It reminds me that even though I may not understand why something is happening, why God is allowing it, or what glory could ever be derived from it, that His Word is 100% true.

Our faith can be the strongest, when we feel the weakest, if we hold on to Romans 8:28 as our life-raft during the storm.

If you are facing something hopeless today, my encouragement to you is to keep praying; keep believing in Gods sovereignty; keep seeking the purpose in His plan; and keep meditating on Romans 8:28. As you focus on Gods activity during the storm, instead of the storm itself, your hope will rise, and eventually, in Gods timing, peace will come.

Sometimes I have to smile at how God gets my attention. It seems that every time I am driving in my car with a heavy heart and the threat of tears pressing against my eyelids, the song from Casting Crowns called I Will Praise You In This Storm, begins to play on the radio. I think it is Gods sweet and gentle way of reminding me to continue praying, continue trusting Him, and continue hoping. I am reminded that my help can only come from Him.

Every time that I hear this song, I seize the moment and tell God once again, that no matter what happens, I will still love Him.

Will you?










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19 comments:

Angela said...

Tears in my eyes as I read this devotional. Your banner, Jeremiah 29:11..hand painted on my dining room wall. Psalm 121:1-2, oh how I have prayed this, sang this, cryed this out.Praise You In This Storm, by Casting Crowns,,the song that has carried me through the past year of many violent and turbulent storms. Than as I continue to read, Isaiah 41:13 comes,,which was my scripture taken from God's Promise box just before I started going through my emails.

Romans 8:28..awe yes!! I KNOW in ALL things God will work for good in our lives...

It was a blessing to spend some time with you this early Thanksgiving Canadian morning in the Word of God with you dear sister. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for allowing the Lord to guide you and comfort you as you searched for HOPE. You see, I too have a day to day struggle against pain. I suffer from Muscular Dystrophy and like your sister, sometimes dream of dancing or running, only to wake up to a crippled body. Psalms 121 has been my anthem..I go to sleep reciting it, and wake up claiming it..My help, and HOPE is in HIM, and HIM alone.
I look forward to reading your blog this week, and I will pray for you Sweet Sister's pain and struggle.

Mags said...

Thank you for the reminder of hope in a world of circumstances that do not warrant it. Thank you for pointing us to His word, His hope.

suzi.wollman said...

Dear Tracie! Thank you for your wonderful insights into hope today. I want to share a very recent story with you to encourage you, as you have me.

All my life I have had firgomyalgia (long, long before anyone recognized what was causing my pain). When I came home after mission work in the former USSR fo about 7 years, I was emotionally and physically spent. I immediately went into counseling, and for awhile really saw some major changes. Then I slipped backwards, and I lost ground. One day about four weeks ago, God spoke to me and said He would heal me. That very day, unbeknown to me, He was telling my husband that I would be okay. Within just a few days, all my mental and emotional issues were completely healed, but the physical pain was still there. I was content. I knew my mind and emotions had been healed, and that was enough. Then a couple of weekends ago, suddenly out of the clear blue sky, I realized that all my fibromyalgia pain was gone.

Praise Him! He still does miracles!

Ever in Hope of Him,

suzi

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tracie, for your uplifting words. I have been struggling with discouragement and loss of hope about my sister, who suffers from scleroderma, and about family members who have abandoned her due to conflicts with her husband. I stuggle to believe that "all things work together for good" and your reminder was timely. I also viewed your recent essay "40 tips" and am sending you the link to a video that was set to most of those same words. I view it almost daily.
http://www.stanthony-sacramento.org/multimedia/Take_a_10-30_minute_walk/index.html Enjoy, Michelle

EncourageMentor said...

Tracie-Thank you for you for your encouraging post! That video was just what I needed as I am dealing with my husband's brain cancer. I relate very well to your experience. You blessed me today!
Lisa

LEAH said...

Tracie,

Thank you for sharing your heart with so many of us today.

I couldn't help but think of my mom as I read your devotional. She too is held captive in her own body and is unable to walk or do the simplest of tasks because of the awful disease that restrains her.

It is so hard to watch someone that you love suffer. What I have to keep reminding myself is that even though she is physically restrained her spirit will never be held captive. Although her body and mind is limited, her spirit continues to experience the kind of freedom that only comes through knowing Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.

One day, my mom will stand again, before the throne of God. But, I have a feeling that it won't be for long.

One look at His glorious face and I imagine she will drop to her knees and say "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't is amazing how songs or words from others are used by our sweet Lord to tell us exactly what we need to hear! Thank you-God Bless You!

Carla said...

Dear Tracie,

I’m so glad I came over to your post. Thank you for sharing the insightful and encouraging message today. I also have a rare neuromuscular disease, Myasthenia Gravis. After living an active life of what I called “burning the candle at both ends” as a wife, mom, active member in my church, and professional working woman outside the home for 38 years, I now have a new respect and understanding for those who suddenly find themselves homebound w/ physical limitations. It was not until I learned to thank God for choosing me to bear this disease that I could finally move forward, for in this I knew His ultimate plan and purpose would some day be revealed. If this disease is what it takes to bring my loved ones to personally know God, my Savior and Friend, then it is a small burden to bear. And even while homebound, God can open doors for us to still be of service to others. So to each of you who are facing storms … today … or tomorrow … or in future … remember Tracie’s message and praise Him even in the midst of the storms.

Blessings!

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie,
Prayers were sent up for your sister today.

Hope....Where would we be if we did not have ...."hope".

Psalm 30:11,"You changed my sorrow into dancing. You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.

Quite a few years ago I had lost all hope....today I'm clothed in his happiness.

I'm so sorry to say ....I was angry and mad at God...Just know he seeks you until he finds you.

Pondering...
You can't appreciate the miracle of sunrise unless you've waited in the darkness.
Author Unknown

A Very Special God Bless to Everyone in the darkneness.

Rhonda

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie,
Your sister is in my prayers today. My sister-in-law also has MS. I am sure you and your family has been inundated over the years with advice, but I just wanted to offer something that really seemed to help her. She followed something called the Hallelujah Diet. You can find information about it on-line. Her symptoms really improved. I hope this information blesses your family, too.
Much love,
Jess

Anonymous said...

As I was driving earlier this morning, I cried out to God about a difficult, ongoing storm in my life. I told him that I was laying it at his feet and asked him to please speak to me today; that I would be watching and listening for his voice. Then I came home and read your devotion. It was exactly what I needed to hear from him!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your uplifting devotional today! I find it so true to continue to have Hope in the Lord through Lifes storms. I can definitely relate and this was a perfect reminder for me to keep hoping for God's plans in our lives, even though circumstances havent changed. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your devotional and post today. God has held me tight through some very rough storms and I have learned that while physical healing and an end to pain and suffering have not been promised to us here on earth, He does give strength to suffer through it. And the promise of ultimate healing when Jesus comes to take us home.
I'll be praying for your dear sister and hope to see her turning cartwheels with her kids when we get Home.
God bless your ministry!
Jennifer
p.s. Haven't heard any song from Casting Crowns that was not a huge blessing- thanks for sharing that video. :) (smiling through tears) J

Dana said...

Oh Tracie,

What sweet words!! God Bless you and your sister.

Love in Christ
Dana

Mimi said...

Your devotional was God sent to me Tracie. Thank you. I visited my brother-in-law yesterday at the hospital after hearing that his challenge w/ multiple kidney failures required another emergency room visit. I couldn't stop crying (and still can't) as I held his frail hands. I too pray for his health, and yet have found my mind and heart wandering over to dispair. When will he ever be healed? How long God? You know my little niece and nephew need Ted, why not heal him now Father? It is so comforting to know that I'm not alone in these emotions, even when I am a woman of faith. Again, thank you.

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Tracie! Your devotional was wonderful, and it so touched my heart. My sister-in-law also has MS--for about 18 years now. I've watched her struggle just as you have, and it's tough! I would love to pray for your precious sister and you.

Hugs!
Susan

Anonymous said...

Many times in recent months, I nearly lost all hope. I nearly took my life, due to a reaction to a prescribed medicine, and the mental state I was in. Through it all, the cancer, the radiation, and the great loss of someone whom I thought would always be there for me, God stayed with me. God held me, and let me know that He is always near.

I came across so many Bible verses about hope during this time, through devotional and daily scripture verses. There was no coincidence there. God was showing me that He is the one I need to turn to. He is always there. I want to do a study of "hope" in the Bible and see how many verses I can find!

"Praise You in this Storm" has always touched my heart. It came out a few years ago when three area youths were tragically killed in a car crash. When I sing this song with all my heart, I always cry. For I have heard His voice, clearly, through the storm, say "I'm with you".

There is nothing more that I need.

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Oh my Tracie, I am in tears from listening to the words from the Casting Crowns video after reading your devo. Thank you- I really needed to hear from the Lord in this way today.

You are so encouraging to me-

Thank you,
Lee Ann

Oh, I hope you don't mind if I link your devo and video to my blog post and facebook. It is such a wonderful message of Hope that I know some of my friends need also.