This journal page was simply made using a fantastic picture I came across in a catalogue. I identified with the person pushing a bike uphill, and on a day that felt like an uphill struggle, I felt God reminded me of this verse which encouraged me greatly. The verse was written out on plain white paper using a stencil, cut out in strips and stuck on the page.
Tip: I like to keep a selection of cut out magazine images in a small box, and will sometimes spend a happy hour just ripping up a pile of old magazines to use later. Sometimes when looking at a verse, God will remind me of a particular image I’ll go and find to use in my journal. Other times, I may have a ‘prayerful rummage’ through the images and often find God draws me towards a picture, and then reminds me of a verse.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.’
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’
I know we all have days like these. Where they start out well, or at least well intended, and the busy sets in, and the flow starts to go, and the ‘to do’ list gets buried under a pile of stuff. When the unexpected needs to be responded to. When things start to go a bit wrong, then a lot wrong. When mistakes are made, communication gets lost along the way and tensions can rise. Usually not over anything significant, just stuff.
There are days when it feels like an uphill struggle. And you can’t wait til bedtime, because God’s mercies are new every morning and you’ll get a fresh day tomorrow. Which HAS to be better than this one.
Thankfully on difficult days like these, God is still good.
And I can remind myself that His love remains, and endures, and cannot be shaken even when I am in the middle of chaos. He is always close by, watching and waiting for us to turn and ask for help. The tiniest whisper of a thought ‘Father, what should I do?’ can bring peace.
When I lean on Him in the midst of the challenging bits, I can find peace. I can ask Him for wisdom, and He helps me find a way through it all.
These two verses remind me to be content, because He is with me; and to not be afraid or live in fear, because He is with me. Found in both the Old and New Testaments, this is a promise of God that is relevant today and every day. He is our Immanuel, God with us!
Sometimes we may ask, why does God allow things to go wrong, and for days that are, frankly, a bit of a disaster (to be melodramatic) why can’t things just go smoothly and swimmingly all the time, we’d all be so much happier without all this rubbish to deal with!
But, what good would that do us? To sit in comfort, to take things easy? We would stay in our comfort zones, never venturing out, never challenging ourselves to take on the truth of the Word of God and APPLY it to our lives. We would miss the opportunity to GROW, to LEARN and to BECOME TRANSFORMED.
Children learn how to do things, how to become mature and independent, by doing things. By trying. By watching. Asking. Copying. By making mistakes.
I am a child of God and need to learn from Him by leaning on Him, in the tough times. This is what builds and forms my character, so that I can become more like Jesus.
I don’t always feel like I’m being transformed, as my failures and mistakes are a constant reminder that, in actual fact, I can’t do this. It’s impossible. I’ve never been brave enough to buy and wear a WWJD bracelet – ‘What would Jesus do?’ Honestly much of the time I don’t really have a clue what Jesus would do, so I just give it my best shot and hope and pray that He guides me, covers me and prevents me from making too much of a mess of things, and yet somehow when I do this He always makes it good. Maybe that’s how we learn to trust. When we see Him doing just that.
His grace is sufficient.
Far better to walk through difficult days with God at our sides, than to walk through this without Him.
Heavenly Father, thank you that You are with me, at all times. You will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you that I can lean on you through the difficult times, and that Your arms are strong enough to hold me close and carry me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Finally: If you are going through difficult times right now, I hope and pray that you will be encouraged today. And know you are not alone, don’t be afraid to ask for prayer and/or practical help from family, friends and your church. We are part of God’s family and are here to support one another. God bless you – may you know that He will never leave you or forsake you, today and every day.