As I have gone through this time of heartache and uncertainty, one of the things that I haven’t done well at is what I need to be learning during this time. As I was looking through some old notes and journal entries, I came across the following lessons. I remember writing them down during a time of tribulation with health issues of my wife and financial worries. As the worries mounted, God kept working and teaching me things daily. Sometimes it seemed He was teaching me moment by moment.
God kept reminding me of so many important lessons that I needed to learn during that time. He kept giving me strength to persevere and reminders to not look at the pain or worry and focus on Him. One day at work during a meeting, I didn’t want to lose these valuable lessons. I wanted to be able to write down all that God was doing in my life. I wanted to be reminded of how God loves me and how He has a plan for me. I may not understand it or get it (or even like it), but he was teaching me so much about trusting Him in the middle of a storm. I wanted to be able to look back one day and not forget God’s faithfulness.
Guess what? I came across a file called “lessons” and with the click of a mouse, I was reminded of a hard time but how God got me through. There are definitely times where I will look back and not remember the best times or even that I got through it unscathed. There are unfortunately many occurrences in my life where if I was to look back, I would see a bunch of pain and heartache. But by the grace of God and the nudging of His Spirit will I be able to see some amount of good that came from it. The best thing is when we look back at a hard time, and while it may be full of hurt and pain, it was a time we wouldn’t trade because of how God transformed us and how close we felt to Him. It was a time that took our relationship with God to a different level. Maybe a time of hope for the future. Maybe being reminded this isn’t our home and the only thing that satisfies is Our Father. Maybe any number of reasons.
It is amazing to look back and be reminded of what God did. What was even more amazing was to be able to apply it to my current situation. As I went through each point, I was sad to think I forgot something or did the same mistakes I have done countless times before. No matter how much I want to change, why oh why do I feel like I stay the same.
As I read these, God quickly reminded me to take my eyes off of pain and turn to Him. He reminded me that this is a time of growth. I don’t know what He is teaching me. I don’t know what I am to learn. But I know this, I will start a practice and encourage you as well to try and write down someplace whether in a journal or on a computer or a phone, just what God is doing in our lives. What He is teaching me and what I need to learn and do better at. Sometimes, I feel God is being silent, but maybe just maybe I need to do better at being silent and listening to His whispers. It isn’t easy, but I need to be a better listener (and learner).
I didn’t change these lessons but how funny it is that they still apply.
Lessons over the past week
1. Wait on the Lord
2. God know what you need and will give it to you when He says it is right
3. He has plans to prosper you, it may just not be your way
4. You are greedy, don’t be. Worship God alone and lust after Him
5. Don’t seek the things of this world, its satisfaction, desires. Seek the Lord first and only, live righteously and He will give you everything you need.
6. Surrender. Don’t just say it, live it. All for God, not just some of your life. He is worthy of it all
7. He knows every detail of your life, surrender control. Don’t try to control God or a situation; it will only make things worse. Don’t try to manipulate a situation, let God be God
8. God is with you, even when you do not feel Him or sense Him, He is near and with you in this
9. This is a time of transformation, give it to God. Let him transform you, refine you, purify you. Let him redeem you. God, I pray that you would pour yourself into this time and transform me into the man you want me to be
10. This is a time of processing. Don’t be so fixed on the end that you miss the journey and adventure, let God work.
11. Surrender this time to God, give it to Him and He will help you, transform you. Don’t waste this time. God can take this harm and make good come from it
12. Focus your gaze on Jesus. Amidst the storm and chaos, focus only on God.
13. Remember who God is. Focus on who He is. Remember what He has done, remember He is your hope, remember all He can do, but most of all remember who He is. Don’t focus on what or how or when but on who
14. Faith in God. Don’t trust a big company or what analyst/doctors/people are saying. Trust in the Lord. Don’t let your decisions be guided by emotion, trust in the Lord and trust in Jesus
15. Think long. Long term goals. Life is a journey, enjoy it, and learn from God. You can’t go to millionaire overnight or an apostle, let God prepare you and teach you
16. Don’t be consumed with money, be consumed with God and his plan
17. Look to invest in people and ministries. Money and food will spoil and rot away, but faith in God never will.
18. Sometimes we have to take the long way. Sometimes it is about going the long way instead of taking the shortcut. You may go up a mountain and make wrong turns, wondering why God is letting you do this or why it seems like you have been wandering around aimlessly, but there is a purpose. You will get to the top. You will see the oasis that awaits, but as you take the wrong turns and make mistakes, learn from them. Grow from them. Keep trusting God and His plan. There is a reason to it all. Grow in the journey
19. Be heaven minded. Stop focusing on worldly things and being earthly minded. Focus on God, what matters and the reward of growing closer to Him. Thank you Father for this time of growth. It has been hard and painful and stressful, but thank you for showing me what is important and what I need to do. God help me follow through and learn.
20. Obedience. No matter how tough, no matter if you can’t see where it is going or what is going to happen, be obedient. Obedience to God is more important than anything. Trust Him that he will provide. Trust Him, simply trust and be obedient.