Every season of life provides an opportunity to learn something more about God. Though we don’t always get to choose our season of life, we can always choose to call out to God and worship Him in the midst. – Margaret Feinberg
Acts 16:16-34 tells the story of Paul and Silas being thrown into prison for healing a slave girl. You can read the passage here.
They responded to this inconvenient, uncomfortable, and unpleasant time by praying and singing hymns to God. What surprises me most about their response is that they were doing this right after they had been beaten, stripped, flogged, and thrown in jail.
I think everyone’s initial gut response when faced with an inconvenient, uncomfortable, and unpleasant time is disbelief, anger, nausea, or any number of other visceral physical responses. At least that is my initial gut reaction. But it is the response that comes after that initial shock passes, though, that shows where our faith really lies.
When bad things happen, I have always turned to prayer. This past year, though, I have learned what it really means to praise God in all circumstances.
The first two times my ex-husband packed his things and left, I was terrified. I prayed, sure, but I also was scared of what would happen – especially financially – to my child and I if he didn’t come back. So I would bend over backward to try to be what he wanted and do what he wanted to get him to come home, even going so far as to put him in front of God in my life. I made him and my marriage my idol, because I let him determine what I did and didn’t do for God.
Last year, though, was different. I had been through so much with God during the past 5 years that I knew – I KNEW – that God would take care of us, no matter what. I also knew that this time I wasn’t going to compromise my faith and my relationship with God to run after a man who was running away from God. I had to choose between my marriage and my God. This time I chose to stand still with God. And it was the scariest, saddest, and bravest decision I’ve ever had to make.
I KNOW now that God is still God no matter what happens, whether in my own personal life or on a grander scale.
I KNOW that He is always faithful and true.
I KNOW that He will never leave me or forsake me.
I KNOW that He will always keep His promises because He cannot lie.
No matter what He allows in my life, it is ALWAYS for my good and for His ultimate glory. He still deserves my praise in all circumstances because of who He is.
Now when I face difficult times – and, as a single mom, I will face many – I always expect God to reveal Himself in an unexpected way. He has always come through with just what I need just when I need it. I know He will do the same every time I face a trial. I just have to be looking for His blessings – counting my 1000 gifts.
As I transition into this new season of my life – a season of growing into a whole single person – God is showing me that His plans are for my prosperity and not my harm. He will give me a future and a hope. He has done this by taking away all that was holding me back from moving forward spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and relationally. I have been freed to work for God on mission by volunteering more time at my church, teaching a high school Sunday School class, joining a home group with my son, and intentionally discipling my child in a way I was not able to before.
I am developing new, healthy, transparent friendships with people who are also pursuing God and His will in their lives.
I spent years praying that my ex-husband would turn his life over to God and really, truly become a partner to me. But he chose not to do either of those things. Though I won’t blame God for my ex-husband’s actions that led to our divorce, I do believe that He allowed it to happen in response to my ex-husband’s continued disobedience and unwillingness to repent. And the result is that I am now free to pursue God fully and completely.
And I also know that God will one day send me the partner I’ve been praying for all these years. My job is to follow Him, and grow in patience while I wait on His timing.Previous Posts on this Study: