Struggle Makes You Hold On Tight

August 21, 2018 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

My new devotional, What a Great Word will come out this fall and as I was looking at writing a blog today, I decided to share one of the entries.  The book focuses on one word each day from Scripture that you might want to study, or contemplate or consider again to get a new perspective.  I chose the word STRUGGLE for today, because that’s what my own life has felt like for the past few weeks.  I’ve spent endless hours praying, worrying, wondering, trying to fix things, and yet, nothing has changed. I’ve put up the white flag of surrender though, believing that the answers will come soon. Now I will simply keep my chin up and trust that God has my back.  Maybe you’ve been there too.  So, here’s the piece on STRUGGLE from the new book:

Struggle is an equal opportunity player. It doesn’t care what you do for a living or where you build a home. It doesn’t care how educated you are or how many children you have. It doesn’t even care if you go to church Sunday after Sunday or simply visit on key holidays. It’s there for you, or perhaps it’s there because of you.

Struggle comes to each of us as a contender, as a boxer in the ring. It’s ready to brag about its winning abilities, to taunt you into fighting, to get you into the arena where it competes. We know this because struggle is not coming first and foremost from the job you have, the family dynamic you live in, or the people in your neighborhood. It’s coming straight from the wily One who prowls the Earth. It comes to you to test you and taunt you and make you question the authority of the absolute power of God. It’s spiritual warfare that attempts to whittle away at your heart and mind and soul until you simply feel lost.

You may struggle to pay your bills, or to lose weight, or to find a great job, or about any number of other life situations, but remember that no matter what it looks like on the surface, it’s really a challenge to distract you from God’s love and grace. It is an attempt to get you out of God’s hand. This is not your day to struggle, though. It’s your day to win! Give God thanks and praise that you are tightly held in His powerful hands.

Scripture: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12, NIV



Job and the Job Search

November 27, 2010 in Inspirational

It may not be coincidence that the ancient man of God, Job, had a name that was spelled the same way as that thing we do when we’re looking for work, looking for a job.  I say that because looking for a job these days can land you in as much of a funk as Job must have felt when everything he had was systematically taken away from him.  He lost it all.  His worldly wealth vanished, his bank accounts were closed, his credit cards no longer were honored and his 401K was useless.  His family was gone and he suffered boils and other health issues.  He went through all of that and didn’t really understand why.

The worst part of the story was that his friends tried to make him feel that either his faith wasn’t strong enough or he was some kind of fool for not giving up on God.  No one believed in Job.  No one thought he was doing the right thing.  No one that is, but God!  For his part, Job was baffled, he had done all he knew to please and obey God and had tried to live a righteous life.  He was a good man.

If you’ve been out there job searching like I have for the past few months, you know how discouraging it can be.  You may have a wealth of experience and expertise, but your usual efforts no longer pay off.  You’re still valuable, you still know  the great things you knew six months ago that got you the last promotion, but for now, you can’t get your foot in the door.  You’ve been trying and everything is disappearing.  Your bank account has dried up and you’re living on hope and credit cards.  You’re sleeping less, watching fatigue set in and hearing that your friends think you should give up on your God-given talents and experience and just go find something, anything.

You feel like Job! You feel like you’ve tried everything and you’ve been faithful to all that God gave you.  You’re not squandering your talents.  You’re not abandoning your life work.  Yet, here it is. Months with no income.  Everything is going upside down and the game looks like it’s over.  You’re not sitting in a heap of boils, but your blood pressure is boiling and you’re working hard to keep your stress level at a minimum.

There are a lot of us.  We’re people who believe and trust that what we do is part of the work of God’s Kingdom.  We’ve worked hard so that in the end, He might call us “good and faithful” servants.  Yet, we live in a world, where debts pile up and those with the money, seem slightly embarrassed with our predicament.  It’s hard to keep the faith.

Ah, but hold on!  Remember the ending of the story about Job?  Remember that God did honor Job’s faith and restored to him all that he had taken away.  In fact, Job had more at the end of his life than he ever had before.  God was faithful and Job was obedient.

Perhaps that’s the thing we have to keep in mind.  When we’re obedient, God can be faithful. He sees you and He knows you have bills to pay.  He still honors your work and you.