I have said these things to you, so that in me you will have peace.
In the world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
– John 16:33
Sounds like a whole lot of doom and gloom but this is a message of hope, opportunity, and assurance. This life isn’t easy. It is full of pain, disappointment, and hard things but the remarkable thing about having a savior who offers hope and redemption is that this life isn’t our focus. We don’t have to allow life’s circumstances to color our world view and perspective. Why? Because this life and all of it’s brokenness isn’t our focus. It isn’t our end.
I know spiritual warfare is real….. But, I’ve always thought of it in terms of what is happening outside of myself. The brokenness in relationships, conflict, confusion, etc was spiritual warfare. And, although I knew that the Devil was after souls, for whatever reason it never dawned on me that he would be after mine. But, he was. He was after my gifts, my voice, my mind, my hope….. and, it was battle. Y’all… a battle. I would cry to the Lord asking who was interceding for me knowing that that was Christ’s and the Holy Spirit’s job…. “Why aren’t you battling for me?” He was, but he wasn’t going to pull me out without my permission. I had to believe that everything that was going on, that was breaking my heart was not because he didn’t love me. It wasn’t because he saw what I was going through and treated it like the mound of laundry on the couch. He wasn’t going to get back to me and at another time. He was there with me, but he wanted me to choose him. I was frustrated because I was carrying this backpack full of boulders and I couldn’t do it anymore, it was taking me over. But, it was my choice to carry that load. He wasn’t forcing me to carry it. Therefore wasn’t putting me in a position to be weighted down in the way that I was.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you….
– Psalm 55:22
I struggled in my faith and I had a hard time believing the Lord for the things that he promised when at the end of the day it was simply because I was focusing on the wrong thing. A lesson that has been on the agenda for quite some time…… yet I’m guilt free about. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me to feel guilty about struggling with the issues of life. Unpacking all of the crap that was weighing me down – legitimate, hard crap – allowed me to see more of God’s character. I was able to learn more and more about him and honestly, I’m thankful that I get doses of lessons instead of one overwhelming lesson all at once. There’s too much Jesus to understand to get it all at once. Sometimes those lessons are harder than others, other times they’re easier to grasp but I’m thankful that they all drive me to my knees.
I learned that God is greater than any feeling, emotion, physical pain, goal, and I have and any circumstance I find myself in.
He is bigger than any wrong I could ever do. That he is greater than the highs and the lows.
And, that truth brings me to my knees.
He can take my anger towards him, my fears about the unknown, my disappointments about life… and not take it personally.
And the freedom for me is that it doesn’t mean I love him or believe in him any less.
And, he isn’t going to be angry or passive aggressive towards me for how I felt.
I learned that while everything I need is found in him ALONE – all of the acceptance, credit, joy, love, peace, happiness, reward, rest… it’s all in him. There is no one person that can love me or allow me to rest better than my Heavenly Father.
And, I saw that one of the greatest blessings he has given us is people. He created us to be relational and he blesses us with keepers, with people who love like his does. Who served like he did, who accept, teach, and welcome as he did. He surrounds us with people who pour into us and teach us. He gives us physically what he also offers us spiritually. Then, he builds us up enough to be and do that for others. Circle of faith?
Thankful for the war. Thankful for the renewed faith.
Thankful for the love and grace.
For the highs and the lows that keep my feet firmly planted on the rock of my hope and salvation.