Rise! In 66 days
Throughout these past few weeks, we have been looking at what it means to rise past our circumstances – to look beyond the things we face so that we can seek God's plan for us. This week, we'll be transitioning into the idea of rising in it. This idea involves the difficult truth that more often than not, there are things that we can't change. Sometimes, there may not be a way out. But that doesn't mean that we can't soar. In fact, our darkest days can even strengthen our faith in God. It is in these moments that we learn to place all our hope in Christ.
Trust God's Promises
A perfect example of this lies in the famous story of Noah and the Ark. Noah was told directly by God that there would be a flood – a devastating force of nature that would consume the entire earth. There was nothing Noah could do to change that reality, but there was one thing he could do – be obedient. He trusted in God's promise of deliverance, and he built the ark, just as he was commanded to do. Because of his faith, he and his family were spared, and the world could be replenished once more.
Where is your Faith
Have you ever felt like Noah – helpless and overwhelmed? If so, you can find comfort in his example. Noah stayed faithful to God, and he was able to rise in his circumstances instead of being destroyed along with the wicked. Often, when we face hard times, we can be tempted to "sin our way out of it." We often want to take the easy way out, even if it means ignoring God and others. That's why rising in it is not just about enduring under pressure, but staying obedient under pressure. Anyone can wait out a storm. But it takes great faith to seek God, to follow Him, to thrive even in that storm.
Wait on God
Another truth that we sometimes fail to see is that our struggles make us who we are. Romans 8:28 says: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Everything in our lives – the good and the bad – can be used to shape us into who we're meant to be. These situations are reminiscent of a cake in the oven: if you take it out too early, it doesn't rise. It has to complete the process. So perhaps instead of looking for the nearest exit, we should be looking for ways to find joy as we wait for God to refine us through the flames. In 1951, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr authored a simple prayer that in our day is commonly called the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." These words capture the essence of what it means to rise in our circumstances, no matter what they may be.
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