Yesterday at church we were talking about what it means to be a true disciple and having the right foundation. The thing that stuck out in my mind the most about Sondor's message was John 16 when Jesus said, "In this life we will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."
Here's the deal: I don't like to hear things like this. I automaticly go into fret-mode. (The worst scenarios possible come to my mind.) Then I start picking and choosing in my mind the bad things that I'd like it to be instead of the worst bad things that it could be. Children abducted, husband gets brain injury and loses the capability of his mind, that sort of terrible aweful thing. So I think, well, a house fire would be aweful but not as aweful as the above. Like Natalie's mom not knowing where she is. Stuff like that. A parent's worst nightmare. So then I go into secondary bad thing thoughts. House fire, loss of income, death of child or other family member, lawsuit, etc, etc.
I'm trying to surrender this to God, so just hold on to your horses. I admit to God that I'm scared to death of what will come. And trouble will come. Bleck. I almost mistyped that verse up there as, "In this trouble, life will come..." I'm thinking that also has an element of truth in it.
Why do I torture myself when the underlying issue is trust? Don't I trust Him enough to know that even if something worse that the worst possible thing my mind can think up (I'm a writer, guys, my mind can think up some pretty aweful stuff) that He would not abandon me in the midst of it? Don't I remember the other things I've gone through in my life? The things He got me through that I never thought I'd get through? So why would I fear what's to come? It could be stuff as simple as difficulty with relationships. Why do I always imagine the worst anyway? Ugh. I hate that about me. I really do and pray God would heal my mind and heart of all this fear.
So if you struggle with stuff like this...just know....no matter what comes...He will never leave you. He hasn't promised that trouble won't come. He's warned that it will. It rains on the Just. It rains on the Unjust. And sometimes....it just rains. He'll be there with you. I learned last night that my best days with God are not behind me but ahead of me. Lord Jesus, help me to saturate myself with you, so that when trouble does come, I'm not tossed overboard...into the depths without hope or help. I will ride the storm out because you love me and refuse to leave your post beside me in this rocky boat called life. You are faithful. I'm sorry for forgetting that. Perfect Love casts out all fear. Deal with it, Lord. Get rid of the junk in my heart. The things in my mind that reflect a lack of love for you and for others.
Another thing: why do I feel like I'm the only person in my life who knows how to apologize first and really mean it? I've apparently deeply hurt some people very close to me. (Surprise! Thought I was perfect, didn't you?) Well guess what? I'm not. The difference between me and some other people (no one I know) is that I know this about me. I freely admit that I have faults. I'm severely flawed. I think awful things in my mind and I say awful things and do awful things. But God knows my heart. I'm not saying that in a vindicative way. I'm saying it in this way: Yes. God knows my heart. He knows the evil that I'm capable of. The evil that I think and do. And He loves me anyway.
He also knows that I know it and that I'm sorry for it. He knows that I know that I can't change myself. He also knows how I beg Him in secret to change me because I don't want to be this way. I don't want to hurt those around me. But you know what? As long as there's life in me...I probably will. Not because I want to, or intend to, but because I am not perfect yet. He loves me the way I am but loves me too much to leave me that way. I don't want an obstinant heart.
Guess what? You're not perfect either. You do awful things and say awful things and think awful things. But guess what else? He still loves you anyway. This unconditional love is not exclusive to me no matter how spiritual you think I am. Like my stories, I am a Work In Progress. The thing I want you to get from this is His sustaining love doesn't just apply to those of us who know Him and love Him. In fact, He loved every one of us first. When we had no thoughts of Him. When we outright ignored Him. When we were in willful disobedience...He died for us. Not after He knew we'd choose to love and serve Him. He went to that cross without any guarantee that it would make a difference. But it did. So I hope this love arrests and captures you. I hope He becomes real to you. The person of Jesus. Not religion. Not what the church said or did that hurt you. Pure Jesus.
So if He's drawing, don't harden yourself to Him over and over. Please. That is a very, very dangerous place to be. Disobedience will petrify your heart, people. In case you haven't figured this out yet: people will always disappoint you. Especially me. So don't put your hope in people. Put your hope in God. He will never disappoint you. Never. And He'll help you deal with difficult people in your life who intentionally or unintentionally hurt you. One of those people would be me. But God and I...well, we're working on it. So instead of fearing what will come in this life, maybe I should be more concerned with the response of my heart to the trouble that will come. To the trouble that's here. I don't want my heart to be hardened. I want to see my faults. All thousand ugly of them. I don't want an adultrous heart against God. I want to stay soft, moldable, teachable.
To make this writing related: Like my story wips, God is still editing me. Editing is hard. You have to take things out, and put new things in. You have to let go of things you love. You have to hear hard things about your writing (and yourself). But in the end it will all be worth it because it will make the story (and your heart) better for it. Something beautiful. Like gold. But gold only shines after it's gone through fire. Submit. Obey. Root and center yourself in Him so that when He edits you through trouble or discipline, the foundation of your faith will not be shaken.
May my heart stary tender to His discipline and my faith stay strong and authentic in the storms. I pray that for every person reading this right now, too. Let us know yo better through it so the suffering becomes a treasure on the other side of the pain. Sometimes the other side of the pain doesn't come until Heaven. But we are safe in suffering if we remain in You. So help us God to remain in you. Help us to learn everything we're supposed to learn through the hard things we go through. Because it's occurred to me through something someone said once that you can't really fail the tests of God. He's one of those teachers who lets you take the test over and over and over until you pass it. Death is the only thing that will halt your chances. So I pray for you and for me, that we can learn the first time. So we don't have to take that test again.