Posts tagged ‘submit’

Are You Thankful for Deep Distress?

But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors.  2 Chronicles 33:12

We are told that King Manasseh of Judah “did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” He not only set up idols throughout the land, but put a carved image in God’s Temple! And yet we read that God continued to speak to Manasseh and his people even though they wouldn’t listen. But something changed all that. There was something about the Assyrian army capturing him, putting a ring through his nose, and leading him into captivity bound by bronze chains that got his attention. This is the deep distress that caused Manasseh to seek God with all of his heart, mind, and soul.

Thank God for deep distress! Even when we do evil in His sight, He still loves us, speaks to us, cries for us, and woos us. And when all else fails, He sometimes even sends deep distress to us. There are times I am living in His will, recognize His presence, and hear His voice. But there are other times when I rely on my will, feel the need for no one’s presence but my own, and listen to nothing but the voices in my own head. Sometimes I realize the lack of God’s direction in my life by the lack of peace and calm that only He can bring. But there are other times when I only realize my need for Him as I experience deep distress. The distress can come in many forms – physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

When Manasseh experienced deep distress, he humbled himself before God. In other words, he recognized God to be the Lord of his life. He submitted his will, his plans, and his purpose to God. God was then able to bring Manasseh back from captivity to Jerusalem because he had “finally realized the Lord alone is God!” (2 Chronicles 33:13)  

What a realization to have in our lives – the Lord alone is God! There is nothing quite like this realization. It takes the pressure off. It releases us to be who God created us to be. When we realize that the Lord alone is God, we can love our enemies and have peace in the face of death, joy in the midst of sorrow, and purpose within the chaos of life.

So if deep distress comes your way, humble yourself before God, listen to His voice, recognize His presence, and enjoy the ride wherever He takes you. 

Nothing Else Matters

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21

I have taught and preached the link between physical and spiritual health for years. But in the last three weeks as I have taken the time to consider the alternative therapies to my recurrent heart disease, I have experienced the intimate connection between the physical and spiritual realms. I have found that peace comes from God’s grace and love in my life. It comes when I submit to His will and understand His purpose in my life. Once I submit completely to His will and purpose, nothing else matters. Stress becomes manageable. Even health issues become secondary. 

The result of such an approach has given me the desire to make dietary changes that along with God’s stress reducing peace has eliminated my chest pain. I have been stressed from time to time about my future. I have stressed about things like income, the ability to work, maintenance of a certain standard of living, church growth, expectations I place upon myself for job performance, and much more. And when I stress about any of these things, I have experienced an increase in chest pain. Through this process I have discovered that God’s way is best and that living His purpose in my life ultimately brings peace even if my heart disease worsens. What I discovered is that I am afraid of what the heart disease could prevent me from doing, which of course consists of MY plans. However, when I stop making my own plans and adopt God’s purpose, then I can accept any setback or triumph, any cure or disease, any win or loss because I know the end of the story. I know God is in control. I know His purpose will prevail.

Perhaps for the first time in my life, I can say what the three Hebrews said to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:17-18 before they were tossed into the fiery furnace: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 

Because I know that God’s purpose will prevail, I am optimistic about my condition because my optimism is not dependent upon my plans or my heart disease. My optimism is based on His purpose. Come what may, I desire God’s will in my life. When I submit to Him, I know that I will prevail because God always prevails. What a comfort this knowledge brings to me. Nothing else matters.

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