Tag Archives: Hillsong United

Taught by Trouble

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
Romans 5:3, NLT*

When trouble comes, or something goes wrong, how often do we respond this way? Or do we react instead, taking it personally? Like it’s one more thing to fight.

Paul writes these words in the midst of teaching about the right relationship and peace with God that we’ve received, the “undeserved privilege (verse 2)” we’ve been given through Christ. He highlights God’s great love for us, and our hope of salvation.

In this context, it’s easier to see that he’s not asking us to somehow celebrate hardship.

He’s giving us a different perspective on what’s happening, and showing a healthier response than our natural one.

If salvation life is all about relationship with God, then problems and trials are opportunities to practice depending on Him. They keep us from drifting back to trusting our own strength. They develop our faith by letting us prove His faithfulness and power.

They may be meant for harm, but God can use them for good. I’m learning to pray “use this” or “help me pass this test” – when I can notice what’s going on before instinctively reacting in battle mode.

God our Rock and our Refuge, grant us spiritual sight to recognize the deeper realities in the trials and difficulties that You allow in our lives. Help us choose to rely on You, so that You can grow our endurance, our character, and our hope. Draw us deeper into relationship with You, for our joy and for Your glory.

Hillsong United’s song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” reminds us where to place our hope.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Intentional. Present. Contented.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:6, NIV*

I usually think of this verse in the context of counting my blessings, but it came back to me this weekend as I sifted through my gleanings from the 2014 LIFT retreat.

Before leaving home, I had opened two email devotionals that spoke about rest. The retreat theme was “Run YOUR Race,” yet those devotionals tuned me into God’s message for me.

Our retreat speakers shared many things, and these are the tidbits that spoke most directly to me:

  • own your journey; accept/embrace who God has created you to be and what He wants to do in/through your life
  • how we journey is as important as the arrival
  • listen
  • discern the things you’re called to do, and the things you’re called to put away
  • intentional living: what does God have for today?
  • fully trust God to show up

Speaker Amanda Andrus compared “today” to one square in a waffle. It’s surrounded by many other squares, but this is the only one I’m in. How does God want to fill this day? What might He want to do with this square of time?

Somehow this spoke to me about being present in the moment—instead of always pushing forward, straining to get into the next measure of time. There’s so much to do, but we can’t do it all anyway. How much better to be faithful in the moments we’re given? How much more contented will we be when we’re not pushing the boundaries God has set?

Yes, this is about living a Christian life, and yes, it’s active, but do you sense a soul rest here? Tie it in with this tweet I saw from Ann Voskamp the next day:

God our Creator, You made each of us unique and gave us a place in Your plans. Quiet our spirits to know Your leading, and help us to follow, day by day, in Your strength. Let us not miss the opportunities of today because we’re itching for tomorrow. Find us faithful, in the little things as well as in the big. Help us be contented in the now.

Here’s the song that blessed me most in my time at the retreat: “Oceans,” from Hillsong United.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.