14th September 2023
Gwen Smith talks about
Bridging The Gap Between Your Reality And God's Promises
Do you struggle to connect your questions to God's answers, or the harsh realities of your life to God's power, or your choices to God's wisdom, or your apathy to God's calling?
If you answered yes, then settle in a big, comfy chair. I expect we'll become good friends.
The Bible tells us that
"faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1 ESV).
The writer of Hebrews goes on to tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God.
Impossible. Take that in. It also says that those of us who draw near to God need to
"believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (v. 6 ESV).
I wonder ...does my faith please God?
Do I believe Him a lot or just a little?
At times I find myself on autopilot when I pray.
Especially when the sun is shining and the world is right. I forget the active nature of believing and fall into passivity. Believing is a choice that must be made with every prayer, not just one time.
In the passivity, I forget to expect big things from Him. Or I stamp my feet and demand that He answer me now, now, NOW!
Do you ever do that?
Do you ever pray - but forget to think big thoughts about God and expect great things from Him?
Do you ever get bossy with your prayers and try to tell God how you think He should take care of your situation?
(Hang on. I just stubbed my toe on that one.)
Do you ever pray for big things but doubt that God even hears you?
Do you ever doubt His power?
Don't fret. Doubts are going to happen.
When in doubt, I often throw up a simple prayer: I believe; help my unbelief!
I'm convinced that our lack of belief diminishes the power God wants to amplify through our great expectations of Him.
The good news is that He meets honest hearts in the middle of unbelief and helps us wait in expectation. When we pray the Holy Spirit bridges the gaps between our struggles and His strength.
I pray ... and at times I feel like curling up in a foetal position.
The walls of pain are pressing hard. The aches are real. The groanings are raw.
Under the weight of it all, I'm thankful for what I know of God. For what I know of His power. I know that God is in the middle of it all. That He is right beside me. Right beside them. I know that He is more than able to handle complicated challenges and is faithful to provide the grace needed for each broken moment.
When David was in duress, he often spoke to himself in the Psalms. I love that ... because I do it too sometimes.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him" (Ps. 62:5 NIV 1984).
I turn my heart toward God and talk to myself. Keep calm, Gwen. God is still on the throne, and you are free to approach Him at any time, with any ache, with any question, with any weakness. Thank You, Jesus.
I love the way The Message paraphrases the encouraging verses of Ephesians 3:20:
"God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."
There is power in prayer, power in God's nearness, power in pouring out our emotions, and power in picking up His Word.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17 ESV).
God's Word speaks strength to wilted souls. It bolsters our believing. Press into the Word when the walls of life press in on you.
Even when it's hard to pray. Even when you want to shout to the heavens, "Come on, God! I need You here!" Even when your prayers seem to go unanswered, or when you receive a different answer than the one you were hoping for.
There is never a time when God doesn't hear the cries of His children.
Believe it. He hears your prayers and can be trusted.
When we press past the pain in prayer, when we press into Jesus, peace sutures bleeding hearts and holds them tenderly until they heal. Agony is attended to by the One who knows the wrenching sting of pain, betrayal, and loss.
Though the walls press in, God is able and available to work within - deeply and gently - with a grace that gives strength and is sufficient for your every need.
Yes. Doubts will come ... but God will meet you in your doubts and walk you toward faith. He promises to meet us in the chasm between our needs and His provision.
Believe. Make that choice. Then wait in great expectation of the God you know.
Bible references avaiable, on request
is an author and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina and has been married to Brad, for 23 years.
They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing teens who keep them on their toes and on their knees.
Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net to connect and be encouraged, and her goal is to help women think big thoughts about God and be inspired to live out the grace and truth of Jesus.
Gwen Smith's new book, I Want It ALL, is filled with practical help, Biblical depth and applicable lessons. And it includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back.