Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).
Have you ever been in a season where you are trying your best to live a life that is pleasing to God yet it feels like you keep getting the short end of the stick in this thing called life? It almost feels like the more you pursue holiness, the more you tithe, the more you serve, the more you obey, the more you sacrifice…it just feels like you keep coming up empty. It can lead you to a place where you just question, God, what is going on?!?
You feel like you’re trying so hard and it just feels like things appear to be looking up only for them to be quickly snatched away. Have you ever been there? It’s frustrating, it’s hard, and it’s really easy to become discouraged because you just feel tired and you don’t know what else to do and you feel like you don’t have much left to give.
Can I share my heart with you? This has been a very quiet, isolated, and stripped season for me. There has been a lot of closed doors and a lot of things that I had plans for that simply put, fell through. Today was one of those days that I had some of the above feelings as one more thing was added to the list of things that just didn’t seem fair. Let me tell you what else happened today though; as I was driving to the gym this morning there was a rainbow in the sky. I took a picture of it and was reminded of Genesis 9:12-13, “Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of My covenant with you and with all living creatures for all generations to come. I have placed My rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of My covenant with you and with all the earth” (NLT). I was also reminded of a post that I saw on Facebook the other day that said, “Every time God gives us a promise, the enemy comes in with a compromise.”
It’s not a coincidence that as you get closer to the promises being fulfilled that God has spoken over your life, that the tests in your life tend to get a tad bit more intense. It gets a little harder to press through and enduring almost seems impossible at times. It can lead you to question what has all the sacrifice been for? You may even consider tapping out and giving into things that you wouldn’t normally because it feels like your obedience is in vain. You know better, but you’re also tired of getting a no and multiple closed doors, while it appears everything is working out peachy keen for everyone else. It’s nothing more than a distraction from the promise. You have to understand that just because the path to the promise isn’t going the way that you planned, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be fulfilled. Don’t allow the tests, trials, or setbacks that you face to make you forget how confident you were when God gave you the initial instruction. He’s still for you and His promises are still true. You can't afford to give up or compromise now because you're closer than you think you are. Don’t get discouraged or distracted by the no’s and the things that aren’t working out. Believe it or not, there’s even provision behind God’s no, so trust that He truly is using all the things that you encounter and sprinkling a whole lot of Romans 8:28 on your situation.
After I saw the rainbow this morning, I received an email this evening and it was one of those messages where you think to yourself “yeah, I can’t do this tonight. I need to have some Angel and Jesus time.” While I felt myself getting frustrated over the circumstances, God reminded me of a message that I preached two years ago called growing pains. I keep all of my journals even after I’ve used them down to the last page so I went through my stash searching for the journal with my sermon notes on this particular topic. The scripture was Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV). I know you may know this already, but can I just remind you that there’s something on the other side of your press that is worth growing through. There’s something on the other side of the tests that you are currently facing that is growing and developing areas in your life that are preparing you for where God’s promises are going to take you. It may seem empty right now and it may even feel dry, but don’t mistake the pain and frustrations that you are experiencing to lead you to think that the tests are going to take you out. They're growing pains as God is refining and maturing you and no it may not be easy or comfortable but I promise that it’s worth persevering through.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete needing nothing (James 1:2-4, NLT).
Can I share one more thing with you? The next page after my notes on growing pains was a journal entry dated October 23, 2015. I made the following list of things that I wanted and as I looked at this list that I didn’t even remember writing, God reminded me of something important. Although your girl is as single as they come with not even a potential prospect in sight, and there is no gut full of human in my near future, the restoration of the friendship that I wanted happened not too long after that journal entry. It was a reminder of how God has answered prayers and shown Himself faithful in the past. It’s easy to lose sight of what God has previously done and the prayers that He has previously answered when we’re in a season that just seems so empty. The beautiful thing about this reminder is that just as He answered prayers back then, He still hears, sees, and knows what you need in this season and He isn’t ignoring you. He hasn’t forsaken you and He hasn’t overlooked you. He sees your obedience, He sees all of the sacrifices that you have made and none of it is in vain.
I just want to encourage you to take rest in Him tonight. As you’re questioning God, when is it going to happen? Is it ever really going to happen? When are things going to change? Is it always going to be like this? Is the struggle always going to be this real? Where am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be doing?…take rest in Him tonight.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).
Take rest in Him worship