For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15a
Society offers us a path to success, but God invites us to leave that enticement behind and embrace His safety and security. We can rely on our sight and interpretation of events, or we can continually return to God, asking for His insight and wisdom. When we pause and seek God’s perspective, we acknowledge that He is in control and does not miss a thing.
Although society is performance driven and applauds those who are constantly striving for more, God invites us to rest. Our value and worth are established in Him. He lavishes His love on us and gives us purpose. Our souls can be filled with peaceful quiet as we remain focused on Him.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was marked by enduring confidence in God the Father. Even though society was encouraging Him to rely on Himself and strive for more, He knew the power of waiting on and following God. This same power is available to us. Return to God’s rest and put your confidence in Him today!
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us. C. S. Lewis
God’s Doing Something New
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12
“Is God doing something new in your life?” was the question the leader asked in a group I was in recently. My friend Mindy, who is dealing with some difficult situations, responded. She told of needing patience with aging parents, stamina for her husband’s health issues, and understanding of her children and grandchildren who have not yet chosen to follow Jesus. Then she made an insightful comment that runs contrary to what we might normally think: “I believe the new thing God is doing is He’s expanding my capacity and opportunities to love.”
That fits nicely with the apostle Paul’s prayer for new believers in Thessalonica: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (1 Thess. 3:12). He had taught them about Jesus but had to leave abruptly because of rioting (Acts 17:1–9). Now in his letter he encouraged them to continue to stand firm in their faith (1 Thess. 3:7–8). And he prayed that the Lord would increase their love for all.
During difficulties we often choose to complain and ask, Why? Or wonder, Why me? Another way to handle those times could be to ask the Lord to expand His love in our hearts and to help us take the new opportunities that come to love others.
I’ve got my own list of things I could worry about, Lord. Change my thinking. Open my eyes to love.
Our troubles can fill our prayers with love and empathy for others.
INSIGHT:Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is filled with warmth and tenderness for dear friends. He ministered in the midst of suffering, imprisonment, and persecution, but his passion for seeing people (like the Thessalonians) enter into relationship with Christ was undeterred. As a result, Paul endured these almost continuous hardshipswithout losing his focus on the needs of people. This is clearly seen in 2 Corinthians 11:22–33, where Paul catalogues the price he paid for the gospel and for them. While we may never suffer as the apostle did, how might we wisely respond to the trials we do encounter so that others can be touched by God’s love?
For more on navigating through trials check out the Discovery Series booklet Change: Following God Through Life’s Crossroads at discoveryseries.org/q0734.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
We are not fundamentally free; external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands, the one thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God. We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be. Conformed to His Image, 354 L