On Dark Days Remember the Ram

This day is hard. Correction. This life is hard. Life is hard enough that it is tempting to doubt the goodness of God and fall into despair. But the Lord is our refuge and strength. He is our help in times of trouble. I don’t understand, but I don’t need to understand. I need to believe that his ways and thoughts are higher than mine and that He loves his children.

On the hard days we pray: Lord, give me eyes that see beyond now. Give me feet that walk the hard road of obedience. Give me a heart in beat with Yours. Give me the faith to believe that my ram is coming.

“It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham’s life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son’s back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation – the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn’t soaring with joy. He wasn’t dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God’s commands.
Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Quietly. Out of sight. On the other side of the mountain. Something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn’t see it.
For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step.”
– See more at: Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotions

Much like Abraham, we cannot see the other side of our mountains. All we see is the difficult path the Lord has put before us, and all we feel is the impossibility of the task. If you are walking through your own darkness, putting one foot in front of the other in faithful obedience, take heart. Your ram is coming.

We cannot see God’s future provision, but with every heartbeat, we must believe that God’s response to our need is climbing up the other side of the mountain. We will meet God’s perfect provision at the peak where we will fall to our knees worshipping with Abraham at the place named, The Lord Will Provide.

 

*From the archives

Nail-Pierced Tires

He propped those screws right up against the tire. Three times, they punctured. Three times, we limped our way to the mechanic for a patch. Three times, he saw the damage, the inconvenience, the interruption to our day, but never connected his action to the events until the mechanic handed over the screw.

The brother encourages him to tell, because “it is always better to tell,” instinctively knowing that confession is good for the soul.

He scrounged up all the courage his little frame could muster and spoke the hard-honest truth. It was his fault.

My heart swelled at his courage, his decision to speak Slide1and believe what we have been repeating for years.

Our family…

…says what we’re sorry for…

…never stays angry…

forgives.

With trembling lips, he waited to see if our mantra was true. Fearful eyes understood what we didn’t need to say. This was big—bigger than anything he could fix on his own. Worse still, he had no excuse or reason. Equal measures of boredom and curiosity set the plan into motion. Forgiveness, should he receive it, was undeserved, unmerited, and unearned.

Undeserved. He punctured those tires as much as my sin punctured the hands and feet of my Lord. We are both stained with sin.

Unmerited. Grace is the unmerited favour of God toward me. Grace is the best response to his hard-honest confession. He might not deserve it, but one thing I know for sure is that I certainly don’t, yet here I am, drenched in God’s grace.

Unearned. Even with all the coins in his piggy bank, he couldn’t pay for those three patches. It had to be done for him. And even with all of humanity’s good works stacked from bottom to top, the price of sin is still more. It has to be paid for us, for me.

Together we stand as recipients of undeserved, unmerited and unearned forgiveness. Praise the Lord!

*from the archives

How desperation turns into praise

It started bright, but soon dimmed. It grew dark enough to blind even the most positive heart, pounding in the message that I’m broken and unable. I’m at the exhausted end of myself where my wisdom is foolishness and my strength will fail. My constant need for the Lord is displayed in this internal, age-old war between the spirit and the flesh, between the light and the dark.

And the enemy’s half-truths sucker-punch my soul.

I am broken. I am unable. I am foolish and weak. But that is only half of the truth statement. When my inability meets God’s ability everything shifts. I am afflicted, but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed because it shows the world that the surpassing power belongs to God, and that I belong to Him. God can rebuild from my mess. God can make a way where I cannot see one. God provides the strength to accomplish His will and the wisdom I need to discern between His voice and mine.

But, I must seek Him. I must desire the Light.

In those desperate moments when I dip my toes into the water I want Him to part, when I look for the manna I think that I need, when I weep for the mercy that I cannot earn, I must turn my face toward the Light. It is only when I come to the place where I am absolutely and undeniably dependent upon the Lord that my soul is refreshed and given the supernatural ability to not lose heart.

This light and momentary affliction is preparing an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

This turns my sorrow into to praise, my weeping into to thanksgiving. What I need even more than parted water, more than manna from heaven, and more than a false sense of earned favor is the mercy of God opening my eyes to His truth.

I need this humbling, stripping-off of pride. I need the daily sanding of rough edges and the constant reminder that I accomplish nothing of value apart from Him. I need this broken, tired, and desperate heart to not focus on the things seen, but on the things unseen, on the things that are eternal.

I need more than a fleeting prayer for mercy that never thinks of Him again. I need to work out my salvation, to actively pursue obedience, submerged in His presence and His wisdom. I need to search for Him where He promises to be found – in His living and powerful Word. I need to believe that God’s light shines brightest in the dark, that it is impossible to miss His brilliant presence when I earnestly seek His face, and that when I turn to Him on those darker days, He can scatter the shadows and turn my desperation into praise.