I’m not a fan of boxing, but I did watch a match on T.V.once. Aside from the movie series “Rocky” (which isn’t real), the idea of watching two adults repeatedly hit each other until one of them can’t get up is not my idea of entertainment. I wince as I see the right hook to the face, or the sock to the abdomen, or the dig into the tender kidneys. I feel their pain and I wish I could make it stop.
I will give them credit in this though, they never hit someone when they’re down. When they strike their opponent to the degree that they can’t get off the floor, the boxer with the upper hand steps back and waits.
Our relationship with God is definitely NOT a boxing match. God is not attempting to knock us down or win some kind of cosmic match of life, but circumstances in this fallen world do beat us up. Maybe you are feeling a little bruised and battered today. Maybe:
- You lost your job
- You got passed up for that promotion
- Your efforts at work are under-valued
- You have a loved one who is dying
- You don’t have enough money for bills this month
- Your car broke down
- You have a dream or passion that is going nowhere
- Your kids are far from God
- Your marriage is on the rocks
Maybe you have experienced one of several of those punches from life and you are wondering how much more you can take before you are knocked down and out for the count. You are wondering why God is allowing all of this, why He doesn’t make it stop.
Take heart, my friend. God is on your side.
This truth from God’s word, and many others, can offer hope:
“He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.”
God sees us when we are down. He is not interested in taking us out of the game, or causing us to give up in exasperation. He longs to help us in our weaknesses, to strengthen us in our testings, to empower us when we feel powerless. God isn’t looking to hit us when we’re down.
The Bruised Reed
Reeds are fragile things. We have a few marsh areas on our farm that are filled with these reeds. They sway and bend at the slightest of breezes. Birds perch not for long on these unstable resting places. But when we feel weak like that reed, God doesn’t reach down and snap us in two. He waits….for us to come to Him, dependent and calling for His aid.
Experiencing trials in life does not mean God has abandoned us. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
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God says that He draws near to those with a broken spirit.
Psalm 35:18 promised, ” The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Are you feeling broken today? Are you feeling crushed by the weight of this life and the circumstances that seem to pummel you at every turn? If so, the LORD is not trying to break you, He is drawing you close to Him.
The Smoldering Wick
The same holds true for the “flickering candle” or smoldering wick. God is not looking to snuff out your passion and dreams just because they don’t come to pass in your time frame. He longs to fan the flames in your heart for Him.
We recently had a tree catch on fire near our house. It was old and half-hollow from decades of decay. An ember from a nearby leaf burning ignited in the dead cavity of that mighty oak, and we spent the better part of an hour trying to put it out. Every time I thought the fire was out, another spot would smolder and flicker, bursting into a flame. The problem with fire is that the oxygen of our atmosphere fuels it. Making it hard to extinguish.
The same is true with that fire in your belly. That dream God has put in your heart doesn’t seem to be happening in your time frame. God is not looking to snuff it out, but rather use His Spirit and His presence to fan the flame He put within you.
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God isn’t allowing trials in your life so that He can see what you’re made of. He already knows what you are made of:
“For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.” (Psalm 103:14 NLT)
God knows what you can handle, He also knows what is coming down the road ahead. If you have a dream in your heart, placed there by God, He is getting you ready for it. It may feel like someone just doused your dream with 300,000 gallons of ice-cold water, but God makes sure your wick is still smoldering enough for the flame to return and continue burning.
So even if you feel like giving up right now. Even if you are certain that the current circumstances of your life are more than you can handle. Even if you see no relief coming on the horizon, know this:
You may feel like giving up, but God hasn’t given up on you.
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- God is for you, not against you.
- God is not your opponent in the ring, He is your coach in the corner.
- God may allow things to knock you down, but He will be the One to help you back up.
- God may be silent, but He is never absent.
- God is on your side.
How about you?
Are you experiencing multiple trials right now?
Do you feel like you getting “beat up”?
How has God shown Himself to you in this tough time?
What has helped you to understand His goodness in the midst of hurt?
What has kept you from quitting?