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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Once Again, God Changed My Heart

Samson from Gustav Dore Public DomainDespair, Fear, And Hopelessness

That’s what I felt a few days ago.

I had received news about someone I care about who had made unfortunate choices, and was suffering painful consequences.

At times like this, faith in Christ will fill us with compassion so we weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15; Galatians 5:6).

But a few days ago I let unbelief get the upper hand, and instead of compassion, felt overwhelming despair, fear, and hopelessness about this person’s situation.

These emotions were so powerful that I could not imagine being freed from them.

God’s Promises

But one result of writing this blog, with its emphasis on God’s promises, is that I am turning to God’s promises more quickly.

So — to fight the fight of faith, I thought about how God promises that he can change my heart —

He restores my soul.  (Psalm 23:3)

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-3)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

But this heart-change does not happen automatically.  God promises to change our hearts as we pray —

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

“I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

— and as we meditate on his Word —

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7)

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Prayer — And A Powerful Scripture

So I decided to take some time to walk and pray by a creek near our home.  Like I said, my faith was not strong.  I was feeling waves of despair, hopelessness, and fear for this person’s plight.

So I prayed and asked God to help me.  I asked him to strengthen my faith and change my heart.  I asked him to direct me to Scriptures which would help.

And then God brought a verse to mind about Samson, who chose to disobey God and marry a Philistine woman instead of a godly woman from Israel.

But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” (Judges 14:3)

Samson’s father and mother would rightly have been heartbroken, because Samson was dishonoring God, and would bring great pain to himself.

But the author wants us to understand that along with the heartbreak, along with the sorrow, they could trust that God had a purpose even for this.  That’s the point of the next verse —

His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. (Judges 14:4)

There’s mystery here — and questions I can’t answer.  Samson had willingly chosen to do wrong.  Samson was responsible for his wrong.  But Samson’s decision was “from the Lord,” which means God purposefully allowed it in order to bring about His good and glorious purposes.

But this verse is only talking about one person — Samson.  Can I apply it to my friend’s situation?  Yes.  Other passages teach that God’s sovereignty covers everything that happens.  I see this, for example, in Isaiah 45:5-7; Proverbs 21:1; Ephesians 1:11; Amos 3:6; Job 1:21; and Job 2:10.

What God Did

So I quoted Judges 14:3-4 to myself, especially the truth that Samson’s tragic decision “was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines.”

Usually, when I pray over Scriptures, it takes a while for me to feel the Spirit changing my heart.

But this time, it was almost instantaneous.  

That phrase “it was from the Lord,” changed how I saw what was happening to my friend.  Instead of seeing his action only as a sinful choice that was bringing pain, I saw that it also was something purposefully allowed by God which would ultimately display God’s glory.

I also prayed that God would change my friend’s heart so his future choices would be different.  But it brought me great comfort to see that even the wrong and painful choice he had already made would — in some way — glorify God.

As I quoted the phrase “it was from the Lord,” I could feel the Spirit strengthening my faith.  God used that truth to destroy the despair, hopelessness, and fear — and fill me with peace and hope.

Heart Surgery

The Christian life is a fight to trust all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus.

It’s a fight, because our sin constantly tries to fill our hearts with unbelief.  And when our hearts are filled with unbelief, and we feel despair or lust or revenge, it can feel like our hearts will never change.

But there’s good news.

God is an all-powerful heart-surgeon.  If we will turn to him as we are, trusting Christ’s death for our forgiveness, he will immediately welcome us.

And as we cry out to him for help, and pray over his Word, he will go to work and transform our hearts.

So when you feel overwhelmed with unbelief, don’t be passive.  Don’t succumb.

God will be your all-powerful heart-surgeon.

Call on him.

Questions?  Comments?

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(Picture is by Gustav Dore and is in the public domain.)

Category: Hopeless or Discouraged?, Stories from My Life

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11 Responses

  1. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for this posting.

    Reflecting on those many wrong choices I made in the past, which finally implied the temptation to sin against God, I am really wondering today how He brought all things including my “unfortunate choices” to a good end.
    I admit that I do not understand either how God is able to be righteous but simultaneously leads our hearts and steps despite all sins we have been committing. This is too much for my birdbrain. 😉 Maybe, God who sees our future as well knows that He will forgive us then.
    In fact, there so many biblical examples of men and women who were disobedient and sinned – in order to not list them individually, I dare say ALL but ONE (Jesus) though not all sins are recorded (IMAGINE – what a fat book that would be!!!!!)
    If there is only one thing you could tell your friend who, perhaps, I don’t know, like “Samson had willingly chosen to do wrong”, you could tell him what Jesus said to the paralytic,

    “Son, your sins are forgiven.” […] ”
    “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” (Mk 2:5,11)

    Steve, your friend may know that he’s completely forgiven. Since, who of us can erase their past, including their wrongdoings? None of us can – except Jesus.

    Every blessing to you, Steve.

    In Christ,
    Susanne

    PS
    Another word from the Lord:

    “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

    🙂

  2. joseph says:

    Here’s my problem. I can’t deal with the system anymore. There is absolutely nothing I care about. Nothig to motivate me, nothing that brings joy, not even my wife and kids. There’s no job.ou there I care about or nothing. Why postpone the inevitable. I have been depressed for years, my heart shattered, and I’m haunted by dreams that are going to come to pass. I’m just tired, my heart is hardend.towards others and god. And its getting towards that point where enough is enough. If God does not do something drastic in my life soon to ignite hope , and love, to stir me and give me purpose…..I’m done. Because if I have to go another day without feeling anything, just a constant waste of life, where i am numb towards the world, then its time to exit.

    • Paul Walton says:

      Joseph,

      First I want to say that you have come to the right place, God in His sovereign grace has brought you to Steve’s blog. I have known Steve for over four years now, as my Pastor and know his heart for hurting people. Steve himself is dealing with many trials personally, and in the ministry side as well. Please don’t do anything rash, depression can be overwhelming and lead us to make decisions that hurt ourselves and the one’s we love.

      Please give Steve some time to answer your comment, but as I said he is dealing with a lot right now. I’m sure he will respond when time allows. In the mean while I will certainly pray for you Joseph.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Joseph,

      I am so sorry to hear about your struggles and depression and disappointment.

      Are you part of a church with some older, trustworthy godly men that could pray with and for you? Fellowship is a sweet gift from God during times of struggle, and their counsel could be life-giving.

      When I read about your discouragement with life and the world, I think the best thing I could say is that Jesus Christ is truly alive right now, and he himself is the joy and hope you were created to enjoy.

      I’m not sure your spiritual background, but have you come to the place where you have seen Jesus Christ for who he is — Savior, Lord, and all-satisfying Treasure? And have you turned from everything else and trusted him to forgive you, change you, guide you and satisfy you?

      He will do that for you. He is real, alive, powerful, and awesome — and he will meet you in the truth of his Word.

      That’s one theme you will find throughout this blog site — so I hope you stick around, read more, and raise more questions.

      I’ll pray for you right now.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

    • Wanda says:

      Joseph,

      I am so touched by your note. It is honest, and heartfelt. In our humanness, we can all relate to your feelings. It’s times like this that the beauty of Peace Be Still and Know that I Am GOD allows us to be open for the ephiphany, message or meaning we seek to finally come to us.

      Too often we forget that joy is not brought to us by others. For the truth is, others cannot “bring” us joy. Only by GOD’s grace do we have true and lasting joy. And the ultimate joy is being a vessel for “giving” joy to others.

      Thankfully, we all know that grief, despair, and sadness are in the same awful family… And that grief, despair and sadness can really do a number on us, if we allow it.

      We all have had moments were we complained that life is empty and meaningless. Where life is one dreary hour after the next, on uninteresting day after the other, and time drags by while we lead what feels like a useless existence. If we allow these moments to be more than fleeting, it doesn’t take us long to wilt intellectually and to develop a negative, narrow-minded attitude towards life.
      It’s is totally unnecessary for such a situtation to develop in our life because Jesus Christ has given is the ultimate gift in knowing we can go to GOD always. For me, this is the source of “unspeakable joy”. Yes, even when circumstances in large parts of the world leave much to be desired. And yes, even though there are wars and rumors of wars, bitterness, poverty, famine and disasters, corruption and scandals.

      If one takes stock of the situation, one can’t help but feel that the world has veered far from what GOD meant for it to be, and that we humans are abusing that which GOD entrusted to our care. Consequently, humankind can become unhappy, discontented and unsafe. Too often to cope, we all may develop a tendency to assume a critical and pessimistic attitude towards life in general. Even if we accept that there is much that is wrong in the world, the fact remains that you and I as Christians are Christ’s ambassadors, with the duty and the priviledge to preserve the Christian faith in even the most negative and difficult circumstances.

      Steve and others on this website encourages us every day to open our life to the influence of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to strengthen our faith so that our lives may bear witness to the power and glory of GOD’s love for each of us, including you, me, and everyone who comes here.

      If we do this, we cannot be anything but positive. That is my prayer for you that your spirits are uplifted, and by the power of GOD, you find meaning and significance in life. Remember, Jesus has given to you the promise of an abundant life — and the opportunity to experience it to the full. Scripture, history and our personal experiences offer ample testimony to this fact. It testifies that an ordinary, dull lfe is transformed by the power fo the living Christ and through His Holy Spirit. Through the wonder of GOD’s grace, sadness is transformed into joy, defeat into victory, fear disappears, hate changes into love and despair into hope.

      The moment we accept Christ into our lives as Redeemer and Savior, everything in life gets new meaning and purpose. We enter through the door of redemption into a new world. Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”.

      This new life of abundance which Christ offers you is yours every day for the asking. It is also mine, Steve and everyone’s for the asking. Let’s be steadfast in asking, supplication and prayer. This is our “real job”, the life we have been given is a gift and the only real purpose for us. To pray in thanksgiving and praise. In this we are truly living.

      If we only exist, without really living, that is when we can turn to Christ and by His Precious Blood, GOD will open the door for us to a new, meaningful life. He will do this for you. He will do this for me, Steve, and everyone who calls His Name.

      I miss my Mother who passed away 3 years so much, even as I type this reply to your post. So much so that just when I think the tears have stopped flowing, they come back and the pain is so familiar like the day she left us. Thankfully we never choose to cause this type of pain for our loved one. My Mom did not choose my grief and pain. She had cancer that was aggressive, and GOD called her to be with Him. In my grief, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit I am reminded to Be Positive in my love for GOD and my Mother. I love GOD and I share this encouragement with you to “Be Positive Joseph even in the midst of your storm” because I know that GOD loves you and me.

      To ensure peace and tranquility of mind, place yourself, your problems, your thoughts and your feelings in the hands of Our Saviour. Take your problems and secret fears to Him in prayer. Remember, you are talking to someone, who by grace, calls you His friend. He will guide you through His Spirit and accompany you to the place where you experience peace and tranquility of mind. Even though you cannot see the complete road ahead, faith will carry your through. Then you too will be able to encourage others along with Steve, and everyone else on this site.

      If I may ask, please Trust GOD, even when you don’t feel like it, and Love GOD in spite of how you feel.

      Of GOD, In Christ Jesus and The Peace of Jesus, Always

  3. joseph says:

    I appreciate all your responses. But only God himself will satisfy me, nothing more nothing less. There is nothing I desire in this world save one thing. That all men repent and be saved. That is why I am depressed. From the time I leave my house in the morning, people pass people by following the system, and have no concern or thought for there life could end any second. Even worse is where they would spend there eternity. My dream is inevitable, it will come to pass. The sky will be darkened, the sun will not show its light, nor the moon will be seen, everyone will look to the sky and tremble for the stars will be falling as if someone was ripping through them. Some will be taken into the kingdom in the twinkling of an eye seated at a wedding banquet dressed in white rejoicing, but many will be destroyed and cast out into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. These our the dreams and visions I’ve been given, also my fears. It will be like the days of Noah. It will be soon, that is why I pray that people repent, but just as the old days before Jesus, so it is now, that when a weeping prophet speaks there ears become as deaf mens ears. They will not belive. Knowing this is what depresses me. So please forgive me when i vent, and want to die, much has been revealed to me. I have many questions, that i know none of you can answer, only God. that is the only one I can trust, God. I just wish no one would be sent to hell. But God is Good and God is faithful. I will still trust in Him, and Him alone. Somehow God will get all the glory for all of this. What man intended for evil, God intended for good. I’m human, and knowing these things is very depdessing. Ever hear of a weeping prophet? So. Yes I know that I am to reflect God, and do whatever the Lord ask of me.And I do, sometimes you jus get burntnout.

    • jim says:

      joseph,I here your heart that’s full of God’s knowledge .Rebuke satin now don’t delay yes that’s to simple ,you are so full of the word of God he will stop you if you let him .The words of God has to be given by you and only you .Those you will reach is counting on you and God is counting on you .if you don’t tell the People that is led to you ,who will tell them ? God will send someone , But that’s up to you , you said it how much time do we have ,Only God knows .Praying for you .ps I’m one of the weeping ones
      cry myself to sleep cry in church and in town wanting God to do something with the world and me ,it is time today is the day take up your Matt don’t wait 38 years we don’t Have it

  4. nadine nembhard says:

    I am a saved person feel with the holy spirit but these last few weeks i have felt so broken,depress and alone.I am in church and it seems like all the singing and the word there is a wide gulf in my life i feel so powerless like i can’t even pray anymore.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      I am so sorry for your struggles, Nadine.

      But don’t lose heart. Jesus Christ will be faithful to you, as you keep looking to him by faith.

      Is there anyone in your church with whom you could share your difficulties? It would be so god to have others praying with and for you.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

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