North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

    Most people try to run away from the dark clouds of life. The doom and gloom of the darkness frightens them, and they feel alone. So, it’s easy to understand why many commonsense folks want to enjoy the sunny days of life. The song lyrics express it this way: “sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.” But if we live long enough and try to function in society, inevitably troubling clouds will roll in and dampen our spirits. We would prefer our days to have a sunny disposition. So, we ask what divine meaning or purpose do the “clouds of affliction” hold for us? Why should there be a sense of appreciation for days of trouble and hardship?    In a German art gallery many years ago, there was a painting, called “Cloudland”, hanging at the end of a long hallway. At first glance, it looks like a huge daub of confused color, without any distinct form. As you walk toward it, the picture begins to take shape. It proves to be a mass of delicate little cherub faces, similar to those on the canvas of Raphael’s “Madonna San Sisto”. If you come close to the picture, you see an innumerable crowd of little angels and cherubim!

    How often our spirit is frightened by trials and we see nothing but a confused and offensive mass of shattered expectations and crushed hopes! If only our inner heart and soul would not flee in unbelief, fear, and despair, but draw near and walk closer to God, we would soon discover the “cloud of affliction” was full of angels of mercy. Perhaps there would be an angel’s face that expressed the hopeful thought: “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Perhaps another’s angel’s expression would say, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me.” Another’s angels face might say, “In my Father’s house are many mansions and where I am, there you shall be.” And still another face expresses the words, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I care for you.” All of which, if we are believers, will give us comfort and peace during our cloudy and rainy days.

    I am always amazed at how God will help His children. His children are men, women, and kids who trust Him despite the winds of adversity and clouds of affliction and hardship. Psalm 37:40 is a hopeful Scripture passage that says, “The Lord helps them, rescuing them. He saves them, and they find shelter in Him”. The following points reveal some of the ways that God H-E-L-P-S His trusting Children.

    He HEARS them. We know many people who voice their complaints, some for attention, are often ignored. It’s often difficult to be heard in this busy, noisy world. The Lord always hears those who call upon Him. He is ready to help when the clouds roll in. He helps all those who call upon Him in simple, trusting faith (Psalm 34:17).

    He ENABLES them. Relying on our own strength can lead to burnout and disappointment. And ministers, doctors, or friends can only do so much. We must depend on God’s infinite power, believing He will enable us to accomplish the tasks that He assigns.

    He LOVES them. God’s own words speak to the need of our hearts in Jeremiah 31:3, “I loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.” People have a built-in need to love and be loved. In today’s world the love of many has “waxed cold”. Which means, some people are becoming so immune to the horrific stories that we accept them as commonplace. Too often the love of family members cannot be depended upon. The love of God never fails. It doesn’t last for just a day, week, month, or year. It is eternal.

    He PRESERVES them. The devil, acting as a predatory animal, walks about seeking people he can attack, discourage, dishearten, and devour. But the Bible says, “The Lord keeps watch (preserves) you as you come and go” (Psalm 121:7). We must love and trust Him, during the times of Satanic attacks. For we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.

    He SUSTAINS them. Some people never cast their burdens on God. And some that do, lose patience as they wait on God to act. We mustn’t give up on God. We must take our burdens to Him and leave them there. If there’s more to be done on our part, God’s Spirit will speak to you. God is able to carry our load and bring comfort, courage, and victory.

    No cloud of trouble, worry, or affliction is big enough to shut out heaven if we keep our eye toward the Throne! And when we live on a higher plane with God, we get a glimpse of the cloud from God’s perspective. And it will be beaming with the illuminations of His love.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a Public Health Services Manager for the State of Florida, former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York, Florida community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him by email: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Aug 16 2020. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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