A few days ago I was finally able to go on my early morning walk with my Lord. Over a month has lapsed since my last walk due to travels and illnesses so this one I was extra grateful for. It is amazing how quickly I forget to thank God for things that turn into daily routines. It is as if the consistency of those things devalues my appreciation for them. The Lord has been kind to show me this fault and how very much I have to be thankful for. This is a lesson the Lord has been teaching me in the past few weeks.
For example, when is the last time you thanked the Lord for the breath in your lungs? I know, funny question right, and yet have you thanked the Lord for the ability to breathe this day, this week, in your lifetime? I have been made acutely aware of the gift it is to be able to breathe as I have been struggling with asthma since just before the new year. In the last week I feel I have finally turned the corner regarding my health and I can tell you my gratitude for good health and breath in my lungs has grown exponentially.
So how are you doing this new year? How is your thankful meter? How are you cultivating praise, prayer, and thanksgiving in your life (1 Thess. 5:16-18)? In all honesty this should be so easy considering all the things we have to thank our Lord for. Let me help. It’s ALL THINGS! Don’t wait to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Begin now with the daily things you take for granted such as the breath in your lungs.
Ok, that was just a tangent to what I had planned to write about. So here we go. As I was walking I was surrounded by gray clouds and half way through rain began to fall. As the water grazed my face I began to think about how the Lord washes us new. Whether it be sin, tears, sorrows, trials, or tribulations He is the God who redeems and sets things right. He washes us clean. He restores our strength. He uplifts our souls. He gives us peace. He makes us whole.
Has your soul been cast down? Have the tears been flowing? Have the days been dark with no light in sight? I assure you, if a child of God you will not be in those dark clouds forever. Because what lies above and encompasses the clouds is the beauty and power of the Son.
There may be times in your life where you feel the perception of divine distance. But the clouds of life cannot overpower the Son. Rather they just make us feel forgotten and forsaken, but alas this is not the case. The truth is the Son of God is always there and will never leave you nor forsake you no matter what may come your way (Heb. 13:5-6, Deut. 31:6-8).
So what ought you to do when the clouds surround you? When you feel like giving up, like things won’t ever change, as if the clouds are there to stay? One thing is for certain, don’t feel your way out, trust me, it won’t work. You must worship your way out. What do I mean by this? David explains it well in Psalm 13.
He says “How long, O Yahweh? Will You forget me forever?
How long will you hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Look and answer me, O Yahweh my God;
Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
Lest my enemy says, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries rejoice that I am shaken.
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to Yahweh,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
David can’t feel his way out, because the clouds may be there to stay for some time, but he certainly can worship his way out. Meaning even in the sorrow, in the darkness, in the tears, you must remind yourself of true truth. Truth in the one true God. Truth found in the Scriptures alone.
“Worship is fueled by truth. David is trusting in God’s unfailing love and His bountifulness, His goodness towards Him. Your worship can only go so far as the truth to what you know and hang onto. What fuels your affection for God? What fuels a person is what comes out of them. Our worship must be fueled by that which is good and true and Godward” (Austin Duncan sermon on Psalm 13 entitled “Still Waiting, Still Worshiping”) .
Do you trust that God is fully encompassing your clouds? Your trials? Your sorrows? That He can give you victory over your sin and wash you white as snow cleansing you from the inside out making you whole (Psalm 51:7-19)?
Perhaps the only resolution you need this year is to know God more. Charles Spurgeon said “Tell me where you lost the company of a Christ, and I will tell you the most likely place to find Him. Have you lost Christ in the closet by restraining prayer? Then it is there you must seek and find Him. Did you lose Christ by sin? You will find Christ in no other way but by the giving up of the sin, and seeking by the Holy Spirit to mortify the member in which the lust doth dwell. Did you lose Christ by neglecting the Scriptures? You must find Christ in the Scriptures. It is a true proverb, ‘Look for a thing where you dropped it, it is there.’ So look for Christ where you lost Him, for He has not gone away.”
My friends seek to know God, look to Christ. It is in Him alone you will only find true truth and freedom and fullness of life. John 8:31-32 says “…If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Yes, God’s truth will have you worshipping even as the rain falls. To have joy in the midst of trials requires a mind fixed on something trials cannot touch. Thomas Manton said, “If a man would lead a happy life, let him but seek a sure object for his trust, and he shall be safe; ‘He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting the Lord’ (Ps. 112:7). He hath laid up his confidence in God, therefore his heart is kept in an equal poise.”
May you seek to know God this year. May you look to Christ. May He be your light in the darkness. “And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it” (John 1:5).