I hope all of you jumped over to Mary Burleson's blog and read it. Her blog has been haunting me. Or maybe it's God. ha! God is definitely at work teaching me.
This morning, I met with my prayer partners. After telling them about Mary's blog, we began discussing Psalm 34:4, Lamentations 3:22, Isaiah 33:2, and Matthew 7:7-8. The conclusion we came to is that the VICTORY is in glorifying God. And even before that, it is in submitting to God and His plan. God wants to deliver us from ALL our fears! Imagine that!! Don't you think fear is the most basic weapon Satan uses in our lives? And God is in the process of delivering us from every fear. I can look at our lives (those of me and my prayer partners with whom I've been praying for 15 years) and see that we've each battled one certain area in our lives. One basic fear. And God is so patiently faithful that He keeps speaking to us now one way and now another to get through our hearts, past the fear, to completely deliver us. That's His desire...deliverance.
And I have to ask myself this question: Am I more concerned about how something affects me--or about God getting the glory through that situation? Basically, I just don't want to suffer. Who does?? And you know what? The Bible tells us over and over to expect suffering---but who really teaches that? We all want the happy endings. We expect it, even. And we only honor those testimonies where there was what we identify as "victory." I Peter 4:12-16 says to not be bewildered by fiery ordeals. We should expect them!
Not only should our lives glorify God through our suffering, but eventually, "that suffering will be nothing compared to the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and conferred on us!" If only we could see what God sees. He is our Rock--or wants to be. And like Lamentations tells us, "Great and abundant is His stability and faithfulness." GREAT AND ABUNDANT IS HIS STABILITY AND FAITHFULNESS. I love that! He has all power. He's more powerful than my fear. He's more powerful than my circumstances. He's more powerful than what others can do to me. He's more powerful than Satan. He's more powerful.
I guess the questions I'm left with are these: Am I glorifying God? Do I daily glorify God? Am I letting Him deliver me from all my fears? Do I believe He's more powerful? Am I submitted to His plan? Or am I amazed and bewildered when I encounter suffering or trials like James 1 talks about?
Mary, I hope you're out there and know what you've started!