In the Middle of It
Have you ever felt like even after praying and praying about that tough situation in your life, you still see no sign of improvement? Like you’ve waited and waited, but it still feels like too much to bear? Where is God’s deliverance in these times?
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Psalm 34:17)
Many times, God moves His hand in an obvious and powerful way to deliver us from our circumstances. Other times, He sees fit to deliver us in our circumstances by renewing our strength, even when nothing around us seems to be getting better.
Consider Alma and his band of believers who were enslaved in the wilderness with heavy tasks and burdens. These people poured out their hearts to God, pleading for deliverance. God heard their cries, but He did not immediately change their circumstance. Instead, God delivered them by providing greater strength. They still had to endure for a while longer, but their burdens stopped feeling heavy and overwhelming and instead became light and easy to maintain. (Mosiah 23-24)
We all carry burdens, whether they be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. They look different for each of us, but they can all feel like too much to bear at times. So how can we find the strength to “walk and not faint” with such heavy weights on our shoulders?
How did the Jaredites endure 344 days in barges crossing the ocean without losing their minds? (And we all thought quarantine was bad!)
How did Paul and Silas not give up hope when they were beaten and imprisoned for doing the Lord’s work?
When life feels too heavy to bear, God offers to exchange our “spirit of heaviness” for “the garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3). Don’t underestimate this opportunity.
I used to tell people that once the challenges in my life had passed, I would have the perspective to praise God and be thankful for all of them. The thing is, if I wait for everything to be peachy before I praise God, it may never happen. But God is worthy of my praise today, at this very moment!
Praise God for the atoning sacrifice of Christ that unlocks the gates of heaven! Praise God that He cares about the details of our lives and uses our trials to help us grow! Praise God that He already has a plan to carry us through every trial that has or will come our way!
Both the Jaredites and Paul and Silas had every reason to feel defeated. But they didn't wait for their circumstances to change before they recognized God’s deliverance. The scriptures record that they sang praises to God in the middle of their trials, even with no end in sight! Through their acts of praise, God provided the strength to endure joyfully until the time was right for Him to deliver them physically as well. (Ether 6, Acts 16)
Praising God when you’re in pain or feeling isolated or lost or trapped or frustrated or disappointed is not easy. It’s a choice you may have to make daily, often several times a day. And just like with physical strength, it may start small and grow with time. But whether you choose to praise God or not, whether you choose to “wait on the Lord” or to just “wait,” your burden will still be there until God's perfect purpose is fulfilled. It's up to you to decide if you'll crawl along dragging it behind you or if you’ll learn to “run, and not be weary.”
And who knows, before long you just might find yourself soaring with wings as eagles.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.