The question of the month for me has been “Is God good enough?” or in other words “When I go through hard times and trials in my life, is God all I need?”. I feel like I should know the answer to this question. I’m not bragging or anything but I’ve grown up in church my whole life, had my mom read me devotionals every night, even wore all of the cool bracelets with the weird acronyms on them (W.W.J.D. was ok but then the early 2000’s got weird with P.U.S.H.-Pray Until Something Happens, C.O.P.S.- Christians Obediently Preaching Salvation, Y2K- Yield to the King, and C.R.O.C.S – Chris Rocks of Course Silly. Two of those I made up). Of course, my answer back then would have been “yes God is enough for me to make it through tough times” but now that I’m going through some scary tough moments of my own my answer seems to be more flaky than a scrumptious Pillsbury Grand Buttermilk Biscuit (I just wanted to write the word scrumptious). I’ll be honest with you in that I’ve never actually had to struggle with this pressing question or have had my faith this tested until now. When certain dreams die, when people you love leave, when you feel the storm crash into the heart of where you were headed, is God the only one who can sustain you and carry you through?
These past few weeks I have been diving into the words Paul was able to write so long ago in the book of Philippians where he composes a letter of Christ as our strength during times of trouble. He makes the conclusion that whatever our circumstances may be we will always have a reason to rejoice and know that God will lead us through troubled times. After ten years of first preaching at Philippi Paul reflects at a prison in Rome all the lessons God has taught him. Paul learns over the years
and experiences to thank God for the dirty prison cells he called home from time to time. Paul learned to say “God is good enough” when every situation didn’t turn out his way. Through pain, grief, sorrow, suffering Paul was still able to say he had joy because God was all he needed. I know God loves me, I understand God has a plan for my life, I read about how God works all things for His good, so then why do I struggle so much when I am brought low with the idea that I should be content only in Him? Thank you, Paul, for writing this letter and helping me come to three conclusions I found in reading the book of Philippians.
1. Lay it all Out
In times where we seem to have lost go ahead and cry out to him, wrestle with every issue you have in your life, shout to the Lord of creation all your troubles and woes just whatever you do, don’t stop communicating. Sob, grieve, then give thanks and recognize that your maker cares for you more than anyone. God is there with you and understands the grief and the questions you’re asking him. Out of everyone who understands the most with what you’re dealing with, God gets it. When everything is removed, God cares.
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
2. Speak Truth
It’s crazy to me how the loudest voices come from all the lies I hear from myself. When we center our thoughts towards the Lord we are able to seek out life giving truth that provides us with joy. Whenever my faith gets tested and I am left sifting through my troubles, it’s so important to hear the voice of God whispering to make Him bigger than my problems. “I don’t understand why this is happening to me but I know God loves me. I have no idea why I feel the enemy taking everything away from me but I know one thing, they can never take my salvation. God I need to remember that you are my present help in times of trouble. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what I’m going through but I know that God is the peace that passes all understanding. He is my wonderful counselor!”. These are the thoughts that we need to be racing towards.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
3. Discover the Bigger Picture
I believe God is able to work in every situation in our lives. Nothing can bring us to a point eternal sorrow. God is able to hold us, comfort us, heal us, and redeem us ultimately bringing us to a point where we are able to recognize just how needy we can become for Christ. How many times do I have to remind myself that I’m not the center of my story? I am so thankful God helps us write a bigger narrative, a more concrete truth in which my suffering can lead to others being pointed closer to Christ.
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”
I love this poem I read in studying this specific passage that comes from George Herbert, in his poem “Bitter-Sweet,” he writes:
I will complain, yet praise; I will bewail, approve: And all my sour-sweet days I will lament, and love.
Believe in Him. Trust Him. Give your life to Him. Need Him. I’m learning, growing, and centering my thoughts towards this idea that everything I truly need God already is. As of this moment of writing this I can truly say God is in control and above all of my idols, my priorities, my dreams, my sins, and my sorrows. God is working in my low places and answering the question for me, God is more than good enough to carry you through this.
“You never know God is all you need until He is all you have.”- Rick Warren
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”