Author: Cheryl Zelenka
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
“Pressing on in painful circumstances is the discipline of keeping our faith when everything not only goes wrong but becomes worse. It means holding onto the Lord during deep trials and asking Him to hold onto us when we feel weak in faith and hope.” ~ Sheila Cragg
The night Jesus was betrayed He reached out to His Father through prayer. Realizing the painful death He would soon have to endure, He asked if there was any other way to fulfill His Father’s purpose. His emotional petition was centered on God’s desire. “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
God did not change His plan but He did reach out to Jesus by sending an angel to strengthen Him. With love, God equipped His son for the misery that needed to be faced. Jesus trusted His father and obediently conquered the grave. He accomplished God’s perfect will and restored relationship between man and His Creator.
God did not have to change His Son’s heart. It was already focused on His will. Completely yielded to His purpose, Jesus surrendered all and obeyed.
On the other hand, we often look at our situation and ask God to change it to OUR liking. We do not consider whether our circumstances are actually God’s will. We just want out of the unpleasantness and strife. But adversity is what strengthens the child of God! As we facie trials, our roots of faith grow deeper and perseverance is developed. Through fiery tests, our character is refined and purified.
Considering what God has purposed, even in the smallest event of the day, will require spiritual discipline. It is easy to grumble and complain about something without putting any thought to the situation. We must make time! Trouble should not pass us by without any thought. God is always trying to get our attention.
“It is good to remind ourselves that the will of God comes from the heart of God and that we need not be afraid.” ~ Warren Wiersbe
It is wise to consider an event or situation that causes irritation. Ask… How could this issue be a positive? Has it blessed somebody? How? Have I been given an opportunity to witness? Was God trying to bring some hidden sin or habit to my attention? Do I need to pray for someone? Has someone prayed for me and thus been blessed? A perspective change might be necessary. Sometimes God will not change our situation because He is trying to change our heart.
When leaving us in “the fire,” God most is certainly dispensing grace and mercy while answering our prayers. We must look for the grace and search for the mercy in every day for it will be a great encouragement. The answered to a prayer might not be apparent for some time. Push on. God is always at work and it pleases Him when we rely on His provision and help.
We put on an attitude of perpetual thanks rejoicing even while we suffer, for we know refinement is for our benefit. May our hearts be changed from hard to soft, rebellious to obedient, and unforgiving to one of loving forgiveness. We submit to Your will for us. Equip and strengthen us for the divine purpose You ordained for each one of us. May we stand faithful and true giving God all the glory forever and ever. Amen.
“And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire—
See in my quiet places, wishes thronging—
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.”
~ Amy Carmichael