The Lord's presence changes our lives from an obligation to a celebration.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Ever feel reluctant to give thanks? Then you’ll relate to Gideon; he was, perhaps, one of the most unthankful people in the Bible—until God showed up and changed everything. If we’d asked Gideon to share his story, it might have gone something like this:
“Have you ever had a bad day? Well, my bad day lasted for seven years. Our tiny country was overrun by raiders from the East. They were like grasshoppers! They came against us over and over, until we were all poor and starving and desperate.
“Then one day a stranger showed up. He called me a ‘mighty warrior’ and said the Lord was with me. Well, first of all, nobody ever looked less like a warrior than I did. Secondly—and I told him this—if God was with us, why were these things happening?
“That’s when I discovered that the Lord Himself had come to talk to me. And it was time to stop focusing on my past because He was invading my present.
“Everything changed from that day forward. The Lord didn’t actually answer all my questions. And He didn’t do things the way I expected! But He changed my perspective. He changed my choices. He changed the way I related to other people. Most of all, he changed me, from the inside out. Religious duties used to feel like an obligation to me. But once I actually met the Lord, His presence changed my life from an obligation to a celebration.
“If you ever get a chance to encounter the Lord, my advice is to go with Him. He may change some things in you, and it may be a little uncomfortable at first. He may ask you to let go of some old habits and choices that made you feel secure. That’s okay! Doing things with Him is better than anything else you can do in a lifetime.”
What situations have you feeling beaten down today? Invite the Lord into your circumstances. His being there changes our lives—from an obligation to a celebration.
(Judges 6-7, paraphrased; Job 42:1-5)
Lord, I’m facing a big problem here, but I know that You are bigger still. Will you carry this burden and bring me Your victory?