Yes! Look how you’ve made all your lovers to flourish like palm trees, each one growing in victory, standing with strength! You’ve transplanted them into your heavenly courtyard, where they are thriving before you. For in your presence they will still overflow and be anointed. Even in their old age they will stay fresh, bearing luscious fruit and abiding faithfully. Listen to them! With pleasure they still proclaim: “You’re so good! You’re my beautiful strength! You’ve never made a mistake with me.” [Psalm 92:12-15]
After circling the parking lot for the 10th time, I pulled into the only lousy spot I could find, which seemed to be approximately 3 miles from the building. I was running late and now I would be even more late thanks to the trek I was about to make across this vast tundra of a parking lot. As I took off my seatbelt something splashed on my windshield. Another drip and drop told me the sky was about to open up. A quick search of my car confirmed that not one of the 40 umbrellas I owned was present so I said a quick prayer under my breath for the rain to hold out just a few more minutes, grabbed my things, and jumped out of the car. As I shut the door, the cup of coffee I was holding slipped from my grip and tumbled to the ground.
Have you ever cried over spilled coffee? I have. I’ve cried, yelled, and even thrown my hands up towards the heavens and asked, “Why me?” Picture a full-grown, capable woman losing her mind in a public parking lot seemingly over a spilled cup of coffee. That would be me.
If something similar has happened to you before, you know it’s never actually about the wasted cup of caffeinated comfort. Usually, it’s about the moments that preceded the accident. Perhaps it’s bad news you recently received, a fight you’re in with someone you love, or a stressful season you’re walking through.
When life is hard, everything seems hard.
Trials and tragedies produce in us a unique sensitivity to both our outer surroundings and our inner worlds. In difficult seasons, every little thing seems to hold deeper meaning. Our world seems to shrink down so small while the tragedy seems to expand into every corner of our lives.
We feel helpless because we feel powerless, and we feel powerless because we think we have no control, and we think we have no control because we believe we have no choice. It’s true, we often have no choice about what kind of trials we’ll face in this life, but we still have a choice. How we choose to steer our sensitivities, our awareness, into alignment with our true identity, purpose, and destiny makes all the difference.
In the midst of heartbreak, the spilled coffee is often just the tipping point. It’s these kind of small hiccups and bumps in the road we use as tangible evidence to prove everything is falling apart.
But, friend, the spilled coffee is not the word of the Lord over your life. You were made to flourish in every season—even the hard seasons.
Jesus said, “A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!” [John 10:10]
If you’re experiencing loss, the threat of ruin, or destruction of any kind, it’s not God’s plan for you and it’s certainly not your permanent lot in life. Only a devious thief would have such devastating intentions towards you, but Jesus, your Prince of Peace and Mighty Redeemer, intends for you to flourish.
When you become a follower of Jesus, you’re given a brand new identity, a glorious purpose, and a flourishing destiny.
Your enemy, satan, hates you and your freedom. He wants to convince you that your trials and negative circumstances define your identity so you stay captive. And he knows it’s easier to believe lies when you are hurting.
But, Jesus won the ultimate victory so you could identify with Him. He defines your true identity and makes way for your flourishing.
Every attack from satan is an attempt to strip you of your true identity, so you become distracted from your purpose, and removed from your destiny. Every promise from God is designed to strengthen your identity, so you can be established in your purpose, and fulfill your destiny.
When the coffee spills, set your gaze on God’s promises and be quick to reject satan’s lies.
How do you know if it’s a lie? If it’s not good, it’s not God.
The circumstances surrounding our lives may not always be good, but the goodness of our God remains steadfast.
In fact, God is so good that He made sure we were equipped and empowered to flourish in every circumstance. He gave us what we needed to live victoriously at all times.
You’re not helpless.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. [John 14:26]
You’re not powerless or without control.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. [2 Timothy 1:7]
You have a choice.
“For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.” [John 8:32]
Here’s an honest question I recently asked myself: If God is good, why is my life so hard?
I had gotten stuck waiting around for ease to prove God’s goodness when instead I should have been pursuing His peace. In this life, we may not always have ease, but we can always have peace. The difference? Chasing after ease will strip you of your courage, the joy of adventure, and any desire to live a big life. Peace, however, especially in the difficulty, will embolden you to fully embrace the abundant life Jesus promised.
The good news is we can repent (change our minds) in an instant. In the Kingdom, receiving happens by believing. Do you want something different? Believe differently. Every invitation, every promise, issued by God is accepted by us when we believe it.
Beloved, you have been invited to live a flourishing life. Chronic stress is not your destiny. Don’t let the negative circumstances steer you into a false identity. When life is hard, become sensitive — extra aware — of God’s goodness and guidance by putting your full trust in His faithfulness. When you find yourself in a place where it’s easy to expect the worst, you’re actually right in the middle of an opportunity to empty your enemy’s hands by placing all your expectation on God instead. You can expect to flourish.
Content originally published on the Northlands Church Blog.