The next time you get discouraged, take an hour or so and go sit on the beach (For you Coloradans the reservoir will have to do!). Pick up a handful of sand and let it trickle through your fingers. Throw it in the air. Try to count the grains as they come down. Look along the shoreline and try to guess how many grains of sand it contains.

If you could number God’s thoughts toward you, you would find they exceed the sands of the sea— and not just the sand on that one beach, but every grain of sand on every beach in the world, and every grain of sand lining the floor of every ocean. That’s a lot of sand, which should give you an idea of the number of God’s thoughts toward you. God is thinking about you constantly. And what kind of thoughts are they?

God has said, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29: 11).

God isn’t thinking, Well now, how can I teach him a lesson that he’ll never forget? What kind of miserable thing can I put him through? No. God is thinking of ways to demonstrate to you that He really cares, that He is in control, and that He loves you. And He thinks those thoughts about you continually, every second of every day. Oh, how glorious to be a child of God, to be under the Father’s care and concern.

But in order for such a truth to impact your soul, you must take it in and believe it. You have to trust that God speaks the truth when He describes in His Word all the magnificent things He wants to do for you.

The temptation always before us is to trust in our own abilities instead of trusting in the LORD. The flesh says, “I can handle it. I can do it.” In my own life, I have found that when the LORD wants to give me victory over some area that my flesh dominates, I tend to say, “Well, LORD, I understand that’s got to go. That thing is not like Your character at all. I haven’t realized that before now, but thank You for revealing it to me. I’ll take care of it, LORD. I’ll have it whipped by next Saturday.”

I wrestle and I struggle, and I try my hardest to bring that area of the flesh under control. But eventually, after a long battle and an utter defeat, then at last I cry, “LORD, help me! I can’t do it. I need Your help.” Finally through faith I access His divine power… and the LORD takes over. At this point, however, I sometimes make another mistake. As the LORD begins to take over and starts to free me, I often say, “I knew I could do it!” So He lets me wrestle and struggle again for a while until I return to the place where I say, “LORD, I just can’t do it. It’s not in me. LORD, please help me.” And once more, I tap into His power by exercising my faith in Him.

— Pastor Chuck Smith