This morning I woke and there was a cloud covering me. It is just hard to think clearly some mornings, and this was another one of those mornings. But I prayed for a clear head and an open mind to read and understand; that I might know and believe. I prayed for help to overcome the doubts that come with these physical struggles. When I finished, I opened my PC.
I opened up my email and started reading that and getting rid of the junk, and I was struck by two email. The first was from K – Love and the second was a YouTube sermon by Charles Spurgeon titled “The Sin of Unbelief.” The verse in K – Love was 1John 5:14. That verse and sermon forced some self-examination, prayer, and repentance.
I do not know about anyone else, but when I am having a tough day it is easy for me to slip into self-pity and this morning I realized that was just another word for doubt. If I truly know God and believe that He is there for me in all circumstances, I should allow not room for doubt. This morning 1 John 5:15 threw the first punch to my ego.
1 John 5:13-15
I opened my Bible and read the verse, and it woke me up and left me humbled.
1 John 5:15 (ESV) 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
I looked at the page and read the heading that the ESV translation chose for this section. It was titled “That You May Know” and I read the first paragraph of the section – verses 13-15.
1 John 5:13-15 (ESV) 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
What a powerful reminder that was for me this morning. I will never stop being amazed at how God works in my life. He knew my struggle, and He reminded me that He was there with me this morning and it did not end there. I read on in chapter five and came to verse 20-21
1 John 5:20-21
This passage served as a further reminder that God’s Word is full of the answer to all my needs.
1 John 5:20-21 (ESV) 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
I read verse 20, and I could feel this ache in my heart. I could feel the exasperation that God must feel when I have these struggles… like, don’t you know?
2 Corinthians 12:9
As I meditated on that verse, I received this understanding on verse 21. I had always struggled with why John closed this letter with this verse. But this morning, at least for me, I understood the idol God wanted me to see was my circumstances. My person. It is so easy to allow a struggle to take the place of God instead of realizing that our eyes should be on Him rather than any issue that may come.
I think about Paul and Jesus response to his plea for relief.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
What powerful reminder of what should be important to me. But I was not done with 1 John this morning. I went to chapter 3 where I got another “gentle” reminder of who I was.
1 John 3:1-3
I am not one that should struggle with my infirmities. They are temporary. I have a gift that is beyond measure.
1 John 3:1-3 (ESV) 1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
That passage adjusted my attitude. Yes, some mornings are tough. Some days headaches and all the rest can bring me down, but I am not alone, and I was reminded of 2Corrinthians 4:17-18
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV) 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I considered all that the Lord had shared with me through His Word by the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit. And all I could see was His love and patience with me. I thought of my Dad and how he might let me go struggling with something until I all but gave up and asked for his help and he would help me solve the issue.
It is so easy for the pride of self-reliance to get in my way. When I let go of that pride, God blesses me with understanding and hope. He reminds me He does not desire for me to struggle on my own but trust in Him for all things.
When I started this, I mentioned a sermon by Charles Spurgeon that also helped me correct my focus. As I listened to this sermon this morning, I thought of the truth of God’s Love and Lordship.
Spurgeon spoke of unbelief. He spoke of doubt, and he reminded me of a passage in Mark 9. Jesus was talking to a father about his son and the demon that possessed him.
Mark 9:21-24 (ESV) 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
The part that jarred me as I read it was “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” I could hear the frustration in Jesus’ voice, and I loved the father’s response: 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed the father’s words and How thankful I am that God does just that; He helps me with my unbelief and every other doubt or fear.
Father thank you so much for your patience with me. Thank you for opening my heart and mind to hear the things that you must say to me. Lord, I can hardly fathom your love and patience, but I am filled with thanksgiving.
Thank you, Lord, for always being with me even when my stubbornness might try to ignore you. I am filled with joy at the kindness you show me. Blessed that you love me enough to correct and discipline me when my pride tries to take hold, and thankful for all the ways you help me know you.
I give thanks for my wife whom you paired with me to strengthen and encourage me in the difficult days, and that I might do the same for her
To you, Lord be the glory. Thanks, be to you in Jesus name, Amen!