Maybe today is a hard day for you. Maybe today reminds you of a loss of a child, a loss that felt like your very heart being ripped from your chest. Maybe today intensifies the longing you feel for a child and the grief that follows you because of this unfulfilled desire. Maybe today reminds you of the broken relationship you have with your children and your desire for redemption. Maybe today reminds you of the strained relationship you have with your own mother.
Have you ever felt forsaken by God? Alone in your suffering? Have you ever felt that your prayers aren't heard by God? That no one, not even God, could understand the depth of what you are walking through? Regardless of what you are walking through, it's precisely here - in these darkest moments - that the events of Easter are so poignant...
In a beautiful way, the birth of this church has been one of the most tangible ways I have seen God's faithfulness to us. But, if I'm honest, I struggle to see God's faithfulness in every area of my life, and I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.
In a way that I can only attribute to the power and sanctifying work of the Spirit, my faith has become less blind understanding, less knowledge of seminary-ingrained truths, and more real, concrete, deeply-rooted-in-my-soul knowledge of God.
How do you articulate to fellow believers, to people who look to you as a "strong Christian woman," that only weeks ago you sat on your bathroom floor, barely able to breathe except to utter the words to God or whoever might be listening, "why don't you love me?"
Sometimes it is so hard to follow and love You in the midst of a broken world and a broken me.
Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn’t have to feel the pain of a world and people without You.
Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn't realize the extent of my own sin.
It's a word we throw around in the church a lot and it's a word that is actually not explicitly written in the Bible.
So what is DISCIPLESHIP?
The Lord is good and gracious in everything that He does, including the times when He walks us through seasons of deep suffering. We can see His goodness and grace even in the deep suffering because it leads us to trust Him and know Him more. It serves to shape us more into the image of God. It helps us to see the temporary nature of the world and the lasting satisfaction found in God.
Why do the righteous suffer? Is all suffering for the sake of God? How do we reconcile the fact that God is good and God is sovereign with the fact that there is evil in the world? Does God somehow ordain evil and suffering? Why do the plans of the wicked prosper?
I used to think life was about chasing those magical, golden hour, butterflies in your stomach, warmth running through your veins moments. Those top of the mountain moments that make you feel alive and full of purpose and meaning. I used to think that the dull, ordinary moments were just to be endured or ignored on the way to those warm and wonderful moments...
Our Father does not look for moral competency – for crossed t’s and dotted i’s and straight-line walking. Instead He takes the sin and the shame, He lovingly deals with them on the cross, and He promises to walk with us as we seek to follow Him and know Him more.
His grace. It saves and sustains. It redeems and it reminds. It is forever and it’s also right now. In every moment, over and over and over. It is available in abundance.
It seems like the enemy has tirelessly worked to bring me low and make me believe lies. And I confess, I’ve allowed him to bring me low and I’ve believed the lies.
But like firm ground underfoot that can’t be seen through the thickness of low-settled fog, with every step I have been able to rest firmly in the knowledge that He is sure and steadfast.
What do you do when you so heavily feel the weight of the brokenness of the world bearing down on you? When you are so overwhelmed with the pain caused by sin that you feel suffocated? When your heart aches with the hurt and grief of the people around you?
How do you let it more deeply root yourself in the goodness and love and sovereignty of the Lord?
Find pleasure in Me. Delight in Me as I delight in you. Be satisfied in Me and let your delight in Me overflow in praise.
Rest in My love. It is perfect. It is unfailing. It is unconditional. It is a love that will not let you go.
And it is enough.
Despite how we fail and choose other things to love, God continues to chooses to love us. His love is incredible.
And then he commands us to "love one another as I have loved you."
But how? I can scarcely grasp His love for me, much less imitate it myself!
And yet He gives us the key to doing so...