Difficult situations are something no one will escape this life without experiencing. Even Jesus told us ahead of time, “In the world ye shall have tribulation…” (John 16:33). So, as much as we want to avoid them or not have them there at all, what do we do with the difficulties and adverse times when they come?
I think it is not so much about what we do with them. I believe it is more important to discuss how do we respond to them. Our responses give us and the world a little insight into what is on the inside of us. Our responses show what we carry in our hearts and what we genuinely believe, for it is out of the heart where the issues of life flow (Proverbs 4:23).
In prayer, I was reminded of the great truth that it is not all about how we see things. Our perspective can often be overshadowed by the many factors of our story, our emotions, and so forth. But, when faced with challenging times, how do we react?
Negative experiences tend to draw negative responses from us. But what if we can turn that on its heels? What if we could take what appears to be upside down and turn it right side up?
Mind you, when we go forward in this, it is not going to be based on what one sees because we are already coming from a perspective of not liking what we see. Rather, what do we want to see? What is our prayer for change in these types of situations?
Take, for instance, the very familiar story of the dry bones in the valley (Ezekiel 37). Ezekiel knew what he saw before him. They were literally dry bones. No life was there. No possibility of something better beyond what he could see.
But God encouraged Ezekiel to do something unusual. To look beyond how his humanness wanted to respond to what was before him, and in essence, God was encouraging him to speak life over what appeared completely dismal and unrepairable (Ezekiel 37:4-10). In that, Ezekiel got a chance to participate in experiencing something not only wonderful – but something truly altogether miraculous.
What miracles are you praying for today? What looks like a valley of dry bones before you today, but you want to see a change in it and speak life over it?
Another thing I was reminded of in prayer was this great truth: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”, (2 Corinthians 5:7). What is seen is not nearly as important as the faith one has – as what one believes. When challenged with the question, “Can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3a) Ezekiel could have looked at the impossible dead things before him and not have reacted as God was prompting him to. He could have based everything on what he currently saw. Rather, he got into agreement with God, and declared, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest,” (Ezekiel 37:3b), and a few verses down, Ezekiel said, “So I prophesied as I was commanded…” (Ezekiel 37:7).
Both Martha and Mary were challenged in this area when Jesus came after Lazarus had died. Both responded to what they saw, and said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,” (John 11:21, 32). But Jesus encouraged them to believe beyond what they could see.
Jesus, standing at the grave of Lazarus commanded the stone to be rolled away. Again, how they saw things were how they responded. It was Martha who spoke up and said, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he had been dead four days,” (John 11:39).
Jesus’ response to her reaction was, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40; see also 25-26). Jesus’ response was for her to look beyond what she saw, and just believe for more. Believe that He could do and speak something miraculous in what is dead. And in Ezekiel’s case, it was believing that that which appears to be dry and beyond repair can now experience a new life.
What are these experiences speaking to you today? Is God trying to shift our focus from always seeing the negatives? Is He trying to encourage us to speak life into areas that need such a miracle they appear they could never be resuscitated?
Remember what the Bible says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”. Is it time to start seeing beyond? Is it time to start speaking beyond? Is it time to start believing beyond?
Wherever and whatever God is calling us to today if He is calling us, it is because He believes that we can. Even if we do not see immediate changes to our circumstances as they did, keep going in faith and believing, because God applauds and is pleased with genuine faith, for the Bible reminds us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6).
All the greatest stories in the Bible begin with faith. And all that faith begins with believing beyond.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
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