Obviously I enjoy writing a blog, but I also enjoy reading blogs. When I come across one that really hits the mark for me, I love sharing it with you so you can add another one to your reading list. My new friend Hannah has a great blog, and today I've asked her to share with you so you can get a sense of who she is. I hope you'll read it and check out her other works on her site. Enjoy!
"You are invited to join us at for a special Hardship Service.
Come share your darkest moments and hardest seasons with dozens of strangers. Do you have a health issue that God hasn't healed? Come tell us about it! Are you facing eviction because you haven't gotten that raise at work? We'd love to hear about it! Have you been crying over a broken relationship that God hasn't restored? Come cry with us!"
You will never see this service advertised on a church website or bulletin. Why? Because people love to talk about the amazing things that God does.
When He heals the sick. When He provides in miraculous ways. When He raises the dead to life.
But most people don't want to talk about times that God doesn't.
I am not one of those people.
It all started with a blazing furnace and a simple declaration.
You've probably heard the story of crazy King Nebuchadnezzar and the furnace. I like to call him Nezzy for short. The story is found in Daniel chapter 3 and tells of three young men who refused to bow to the idol that Nezzy built of himself.
In a nutshell, they refuse to worship the idol so Nezzy throws them into the blazing furnace. But a miracle occurs and the three friends emerge safely from the flames without even a smell of smoke on their clothing.
This story is pretty unbelievable. But I believe the most unbelievable part comes not in the furnace but at the idol when the friends stand before the king. They say with boldness:
"But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Their faith in God gave them the audacity to say, "REGARDLESS of what happens to us, He is our God." Regardless. It means in spite of everything. Despite the prevailing circumstances. In the face of everything that tries to stop or hinder.
Honestly, sometimes it’s really hard to say those words.
In the GOOD times of blessing, provision, and health it's easy to say, "You are my God."
But it’s a different story when things are hard. In the BAD times, when they stay bad, and when God doesn't show up how you expected Him to.
But, I truly believe that if we want to grow into mature Christians we have to learn to praise God when He DOESN'T just as easily as when He DOES.
This was not an easy thing for me to learn.
In college something happened that changed my faith forever. It was a normal Friday night when all of the sudden I got a terrible headache and couldn't even stand. I tried everything to ease the pain but nothing worked. Months went by and I had every test under the sun but the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me.
My grades slipped. My relationships suffered. My faith in God was shaken.
A year later I was diagnosed with something called NDPH (New Daily Persistent Headaches). The doctor said, "This means that for some reason you suddenly got a headache and you will have them for an undetermined time. There is no cure. Many people have it for the rest of their lives."
As you can imagine, that was not very comforting to me. But I knew that the Bible told me I was healed by Jesus stripes. So I prayed. I asked. I sought. I did everything you’re supposed to do. And you know what happened?
God didn't heal me.
I was so angry with Him because it didn't make sense to me that He could be ABLE to do something and still choose NOT to do it.
Months later, still in pain, I sat down to pray. I couldn't even find the strength to ask him one more time. So instead of praying for healing I simply said, "I love you." They were the only words I could muster.
And in that weak moment, I heard His sweet voice: “Daughter, your faith shouldn't be based on what I do. Whether I heal you or not, I’m still your God."
From that moment on I have been free!
To this day I still have headaches every single day. I don't know if God will ever heal me. And frankly...I really don’t care!
Because REGARDLESS of whether He heals me, blesses me, or gives me anything at all, He is still my God!
Today, you need to know that REGARDLESS of what is going on in your life, He is still GOD!
When we are in the tough times of life we tend to think that it’s God who has somehow changed. But in reality it’s us who decide to change, not God!
Malachi 3:6 God says: “I, the Lord, do not change." Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not human. He does not change his mind.”
God doesn't suddenly change on us. It’s us who change under the weight of our worries, pressures and disappointments.
There are three important lessons I learned when God didn't heal me:
1. DON'T LET YOUR FRUSTRATIONS CHOKE YOUR FAITH
Make a decision right now that you will trust Him REGARDLESS of your frustrations.
My struggle with healing left me so frustrated with God because I knew that He was ABLE to heal me but He chose not to. I started to let my frustrations blind me to who God was. This is a dangerous place to walk.
Maybe you are frustrated with yourself. With God. With others. I understand. But I want to challenge you to have a faith that doesn't hinge on what God does for you or in you, but hinges instead on who He is.
Faith isn't faith unless it is faith even if He doesn't.
2. DON'T LET YOUR WANTS CHANGE YOUR WORSHIP
Make a decision right now to praise Him REGARDLESS of what you get out of it.
We all want things. We want to be blessed. To be healed. To have life go a certain way. There's nothing wrong with having those desires. But the problem comes when we let our wants determine our worship.
We must do what is right, even if God doesn't do what we want or expect.
We often do quite the opposite.
Many Christians tell God that once they get what they want, then they will worship. But we don't worship to receive anything from God. We worship because of who He is.
He is worthy REGARDLESS of what we want!
3. DON'T LET YOUR PROBLEMS STOP YOUR PURSUIT.
Make a decision right now to seek Him REGARDLESS of your problems.
I used my problems as an excuse to stop seeking God. I thought because I was in pain that I got some kind of pass from pursuing His Presence. But I was wrong.
Having problems doesn't change the fact that God is the most worthwhile PURSUIT we will ever have!
REGARDLESS of what is going on in your life, God is still God.
If you ever get misguided in thinking that your hard life exempts you from giving everything to God, let me remind you that not only is He worthy, but He did the same for you.
REGARDLESS of your past. IN SPITE OF all your sin. AGAINST ALL ODDS of having a relationship. IN THE FACE OF EVERY OPPOSITION that tried to stop Him...
He came. He lived. He died. He loved. All for you.
I don't know about you but that is enough for me to say, "REGARDLESS of what is happening in me, to me or around me:
"Oh God, You are my God. Give me nothing And I will still give you everything."
As you can see, Hannah has a great style, and I've really come to enjoy her blog. It's raw, challenging and she writes with humor and passion. Please take a moment to check out her site, A Wasted Life.