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 “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” Psalm 30:11

In Old Testament times when people were in deep distress they would put on sackcloth and wail in anguish. This was particularly true when they mourned over the death of a loved one. As it is today, this was perhaps the deepest agony of all. Death brings with it the loss of dreams, the loss of companionship and the loss of hope for the future.

In Psalm 30 David recounts the many times that God has delivered his people from a variety of disappointments and tragedies. In verse 11 of this song of praise he tells us how, in the midst of their agony God brought them joy. The rough and uncomfortable clothing of sackcloth became clothing of joy and comfort. Their songs of agony became songs of praise.

As we travel along the journey we call life there are many times when tragedy comes upon us. It can be the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or a broken relationship. People we trust let us down. We let people down we trust and love dearly. We grow old and change becomes harder to adjust too. Health and financial woes remove our hopes and dreams.

How we react to the hard times of life is really up to us. We can dwell on the pain or we can allow God to turn even our own most desperate times into a time of joy and comfort. How we respond to adversity is largely dependent on our view of God and of ourselves.

If we allow the words and actions of other people to determine how we feel about ourselves and God then we will feel the pain of life’s disappointments. Life will seem hopeless. Pain and discomfort will be the rule of our days and sleeplessness will spend the night with us.

If we realize God’s great love and provision for us then we enable Him to make our darkest times to be times of comfort and joy. It is only God that can take the sackcloth of our mistakes and the abuse of others and turn it to joy. It is only through God’s love that we can endure the hardship of tragedy that comes our way.

You are a child of the God of the universe. You are His most cherished possession and the apple of His eye. Leave the ashes and sackcloth of yesterdays mistakes and abuse be replaced with the comfort of God’s love for you. Replace the wailing for the failures and tragedies of the past with praise for the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ you will see a better tomorrow.

You won’t find lasting joy here on earth through relationships, toys, wealth, power or popularity. Lasting joy comes only through complete faith in Jesus and the realization of God’s great love for you.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m in such turmoil today. You know the pain I’m feeling. You know the mistakes and tragedies of my past that handcuff me. I’m trapped by feelings of hopelessness and despair. To be honest there have been times of late when I’ve doubted your love or even your presence. I ask that you would empower me through faith in Jesus and the power of your Spirit to clothe myself with your joy and comfort even as I walk through these dark and lonely times. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Reggie Jackson had one thing in common. Failure. Michael didn’t make his eighth grade basketball team, yet became the NBA’s greatest player. Albert Einstein failed middle school math and became the greatest mathematician in history. Reggie Jackson was one of the greatest hitters in baseball, yet holds the record for the most strikeouts.

These men had another thing in common, a refusal to give up. They refused to believe that the setbacks they encountered in life determined their outcome. They believed enough in themselves that they eventually realized their dreams.

One day Jesus was talking to His disciples about the Kingdom of God. He told them what it would take for a person to enter the Kingdom of God and one of the disciples remarked “then who can be saved?” What he was really saying is, “then it’s humanly impossible for any of us to enter the Kingdom. The requirements are too great. We’ll never make it.” Jesus responded by saying, “You are right. Man alone can not accomplish this. Only with God is man able to enter the Kingdom.”

Every day we are met with challenges and obstacles that seem insurmountable. The task seems too great. People tell us we’ll never be able to succeed. The enemy, Satan, reminds us of past failures and mistakes. You may be struggling from an addiction or bruised from a broken relationship. Even family members may step in and tell us we just won’t ever make it. If we listen to those voices we will never be all God wants us to be.

Often times the difference between failure and success is just six inches. That’s the approximate distance between your ears! If you believe in yourself, you will have a much better chance of success. If you rely on God to help you with the task He will lead you, guide you and show you the way. Realistically set goals for yourself. Goals that are small steps to success. Want to write? Do a sentence a day. Want to lose weight? Start with that one walk, skipping that first snack.

Then, above all, grow closer in your walk with Christ. Let Him show you what He wants to accomplish in your life. Believe in yourself and believe that God truly wants you to succeed. With man many things are impossible. With God ALL things are possible because of His great love for us and His overwhelming power.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I have no trouble believing in the ‘big things of my faith’. I know You are the creator God. I know Your Son Jesus came to die and be raised from the dead so I can have eternal life. My struggle believes you for the day by day successes in my life. Help me to believe in you so that I can succeed at all you have for me. Amen.

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