Posted by: pastortomvabeach | November 19, 2018

Thought For The Week November 25, 2018

On Sunday, we joined together for a celebration of thanks to the Lord. By candlelight we worshiped, shared testimonies of gratitude, and participated in the remembrance of Jesus’ death for us with communion. What a wonderful time. Several of the people who shared about their lives this year mentioned difficulties they had experienced or pain that had come in their lives and how God brought them through.

That reminded me of a devotional email I received from Dr. Tony Evans, who is the pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and the President of The Urban Alternative; who is also a noted Bible teacher; and who is regarded as a pastor of pastors and a father in the faith by many Christian leaders. I shared one of his devotionals a couple of weeks ago and this one will be just as helpful, I think. He called it, When Things Don’t Get Better. It went as follows:

“The story of Hannah is one that many of us can relate to. We’re in a difficult situation, yet despite our persistent prayers, it doesn’t get better. Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah and couldn’t conceive children, but Peninnah, the other wife, could. In biblical culture, bearing children for a woman was critical because they would be the ones to care for you. So not only did Hannah bear her own internal shame and pain, but Peninnah would provoke her bitterly to irritate her (1 Samuel 1:6).

“Hannah’s pain drove her to tears—so much so that she was accused of being drunk at the temple when she was crying out to God for a child! Hannah and Elkanah’s yearly Shiloh trip to sacrifice to the Lord was most likely her saddest day. She worshiped the Lord even though her persistent problem worried and distressed her. She would watch as those around her enjoyed their children and rested securely in their futures.

“I suspect you’ve been in a position like this as well. The problem wasn’t that the situation got worse—nothing changed for Hannah. Doubts most likely crept into her head if her husband would continue to love her. Can you appreciate how Hannah must have felt?

“Even though her situation didn’t change she put her trust, hope and belief in God. The point to this story is that Hannah persevered year after year—overcoming her worries through both prayer and worship. God knew her pain, and His silence must not be perceived as inattentiveness or lack of involvement.

“God was bringing Hannah to the point where she was willing to give back to God the very thing she wanted most—her son Samuel. God had a special plan for him to be a great prophet. The only way Hannah would be moved to this place of surrender was through her painful barrenness. Hannah promised the Lord that she would give Him Samuel if He would open her womb. He did, and she kept her vow. And God blessed Hannah with five more children (1 Samuel 2:21).

“Friend, if there is something specific that you are worried about, consider going to the Lord and willingly give it up or give it back to Him. Oftentimes, He is waiting for you to trust Him before He will move. It is far more important to Him to fulfill His purpose and plan in your life than to fulfill your whim.”

I think this teaching is very appropriate for the season of Thanksgiving and the celebration we’re about to enter leading up to Christmas. Someone mentioned yesterday that the difficult things in life can draw us closer to the Lord, if we will let them. Just because troubles don’t go away the first or the hundredth time we pray doesn’t mean that God is not involved or doesn’t care or doesn’t see what is going on with us.

Our default position ought always be like that of David when he said, in Psalm 34:1: I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. If we will continue to trust the Lord, to love Him with our whole hearts, and to give Him praise and thanksgiving, it won’t matter what is going on. We will be blessed and God’s purpose and plan will assuredly be fulfilled in our lives. That’s something to ponder for Thanksgiving. Now don’t forget the turkey!

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