Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Deliverance from Deep Waters

God is here with me, guiding me, and holding me, today! He is changing me into His image. This is not a news flash, but a basic fact — a fact I know well, but one I was forgetting. Recently, I found this message stated again in a new and exciting way. Let me explain.

I found myself in some very troubled waters and they were way over my head. I did not know where to turn or what to do. Most of us have times like these, but somehow, it seemed as if I just kept getting into deeper and deeper water.

I shared the problem with a good friend who sympathized with me and prayed. I told God that I could not understand what was happening, but knew that He did. "Please God," I prayed, "reveal yourself to me, tell me what to do."

I really wanted God to totally change the circumstances. The prayer helped and I went away feeling better. My situation was that I knew someone was not pleased with me and I wanted to change their perception. I began to think of how I could defend myself and formulated a plan. Vindication became my goal.

I asked another Christian friend for advice because I knew she was knowledgeable in this area.

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV)

She advised me to do and say nothing. "God knows your heart," she said, "and in this situation, it would be wise not to confront the issue."

I was not happy with this counsel, but I had asked for advice. Now I needed to know if this was God's answer.

Amazingly, it did not take long for confirmation to come. It came from my daughter. She told me to wait on the Lord and agreed with my friend's advice. The second confirmation came from a Christian speaker who said Christians should not cause strife.

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)

I did not want to quarrel, but to vindicate myself. I was beginning to see how my plan might cause strife.

In God's mercy, he even sent another confirmation. It came from the friend who prayed with me. She brought me a copy of an article that appeared in her daily Devotion book. It was titled, "Integrity Upheld" from Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Henry Blackaby.

Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Psalm 41:12 (NIV)

The author wrote that Joseph, Jesus' earthly father, was a man of integrity. God knew the truth, that Joseph had treated Mary honorably. Very likely the people in his community did not understand. The article said God may be your only witness and the only one who understands your motives.

I began to think how difficult it must have been for Joseph and for Mary as well. He must have wanted to explain, but he must have known it probably wouldn't change the people's perception. God had a plan for Joseph, and his part was to trust and obey. Just as the hymn states, "Trust and obey for there is no other way to find happiness in Jesus." [paraphrase mine]

Joseph probably realized later how blessed he was when Jesus sat at the table or worked with him at the workbench. The difficult situation became a blessing, an honor — one I can't even imagine. The article stated that our confidence is not in vindication from others, but in God. God would uphold me and set me in His presence.

How I needed to hear this message!

Another speaker, an expert gardener, said in order to have successful growth you need plants native to the climate and soil where they are planted. Some plants are meant for cold weather and others for the heat. Only God knows how we are designed. He is the One that gives us the stresses that will cause our growth. I could see how I needed to grow in Him. I now wanted God to use this situation to strengthen me in Him. I decided to change the goal, not the situation.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

Thankfully, we have a wonderful Savior who uses others to encourage and give us direction. My friends were used to teach and counsel me, just as the scripture says:

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Colossians 3:16 (NLT)

No news flash - God guided and held me through the troubled waters and even changed me in the process. Guess what? He is there to guide and hold you as well. He may even change you. But whatever He does, if you will allow Him, you will grow in character and strength. He will work it for your good.

Copyright © 2004 Kathy Schultz. Used by permission.

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