June 3, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"I poured out my complaint before him; I showed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path." Psalm 142:2-3
The many encounters David had with Saul's men as they were constantly in hot pursuit of him brought him humbly before God. He realized his weakness and utmost need of finding his refuge in the Lord. He learned to lean upon God for his strength, intervention, and sufficiency. He cried out unto the Lord, completely overwhelmed, and bared his heart and soul before Him. Convinced the Lord knew all about his devastating circumstances and would be his comfort and companion through it all, he went forth with renewed courage, trusting God to work in and through him for His glory, regardless of the circumstances. O that we might learn from David's varied experiences. Although he fell to great depths, he found, through heart-wrenching repentance, the ever-merciful grace of God to forgive, restore, and raise him up amidst the evil of his day to be a "man after God's own heart."
In Southern California, there is an unusual tree named the pepper tree. It is not the prettiest tree, but it is without a doubt one of the cleanest. Its small leaves exude a substance that makes it almost impossible for dirt or dust to stick to them, thanks to a "secret" that God has put within the tree itself. If the pepper tree could talk to God, it might be heard praying, "Dear God, I do not ask you to place me where there is no dust and contamination. I only ask that you keep me from its soiling and degrading effects." And God answers that prayer.
A lotus flower is easily one of the most beautiful flowers, with its delicate hue and spotless texture. You gasp with admiration when you see it. But look at its setting; what a contrast! Muck, mire, algae, and scum make up its surroundings. How can it be so clean and exquisitely beautiful in such a setting? The obvious answer is, that it has a "life within" that enables it to push through the oozy muck, algae, and scummy water, and blossom in all its grandeur. Not because of all the filth, but in spite of it! If the lotus flower could talk to God, we might hear it pray, "Dear God, I do not ask that you plant me where there are no ill-smelling weeds or foul water. I only ask that you keep within me the vitality that lives where death abounds, and blooms in beauty where ugliness runs riot." And God answers that prayer.
How often we cry out for deliverance from difficult or devastating circumstances? Discouraged in spirit, weak in faith, resting in our own weakness, and mulling in defeat. Oh, that we might know the "strength and power of the Holy Spirit" that dwells within us. It makes us "triumphant" wherever God has placed us, enabling us to reflect His love and grace in the midst of the ugliness and sin that surround us, and keeps us "pure and radiant" for His glory. Forbid that we should turn from "His working" or shun that which will conform us to the image of His Son, and bring us into a deeper and more intimate relationship with the Lord. May the pepper tree and the lotus flower challenge us in our spiritual journey. God wants to use us as we are, where we are, empowered by HIS LIFE WITHIN US.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-06-03
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