(We insist that God) must surely lead everyone as we believe He has led us. We refuse to allow God the freedom to deal with each of us as individuals. When we think like that, we are legalistic. Jerry Bridges
Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.
Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.
I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So I shall walk aright.
Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.
Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me
My poverty or wealth.
The kingdom that I seek
Is Thine: so let the way
That leads to it be Thine,
Else I must surely stray.
Not mine, not mine the choice
In things or great or small;
Be Thou my Guide, my Strength
My Wisdom, and my All.
“The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father…Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption…The truth of our adoption gives us the deepest insights the New Testament affords into the greatness of God’s love. Were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be – adoption through propitiation.” J.I. Packer
“Observe, concerning the first advent, that the Lord was moving in it towards man. ‘When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son.’ We moved not towards the Lord, but the Lord towards us. I do not find that the world in repentance sought after its Maker. No, but the offended God himself in infinite compassion broke the silence, and came forth to bless his enemies. All good things begin with him.” Charles Spurgeon
“That justification-by which we mean God’s forgiveness of the past together with his acceptance for the future-is the primary and fundamental blessing of the gospel is not in question. Justification is the primary blessing, because it meets our primary spiritual need. We all stand by nature under God’s judgment; his law condemns us; guilt gnaws at us, making us restless, miserable and in our lucid moments afraid; we have no peace in ourselves because we have no peace with our Maker. So we need the forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of a restored relationship with God, more than we need anything else in the world; and this the gospel offers before it offers us anything else…But contrast this, now, with adoption. Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship-he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.” J.I. Packer
“I once knew a good woman who was the subject of many doubts, and when I got to the bottom of her doubt, it was this: she knew she loved Christ, but she was afraid he did not love her. ‘Oh!’ I said, ‘that is a doubt that will never trouble me; never, by any possibility, because I am sure of this, that the heart is so corrupt, naturally, that love to God never did get there without God putting it there.’ You may rest quite certain, that if you love God, it is a fruit, and not a root. It is the fruit of God’s love to you, and did not get there by any the force of any goodness in you. You may conclude, with absolute certainty, that God loves you if you love God.” Charles Spurgeon
there seem to be times in my life when God seems more active than at other times. I don’t know if this is just me, or if everyone feels this way. But at times, I feel God is silent, absent, missing or just simply uninvolved. Then at other times, I see such clear and precise answers to prayer that I cannot doubt His presence.
Now I’m aware that He is just as active in my life when I don’t feel it, that God is always present in my need, that He will never leave or forsake me, and that He cares for me as a Father cares for his children. Not a moment in my life escapes His sovereign gaze, not one hair from my head falls without His notice, and not one step I take is overseen by His guiding purpose. He cares for me. Even when He feels absent. Even when I don’t hear answers. He still cares. Nothing can avert his love from me.
In God’s mercy though, He doesn’t always leave us in seasons of walking by faith despite lack of answers. Sometimes He calls us to walk blindly… sometimes He gives us little glimmers of light along the way. The past few months have kind of been the latter for me.
There are several very very specific answers to prayer that God has given me since July. I thought I’d fill you in on some of them…
1. I considered for several months the possiblity of moving to the DC area. I had been applying for jobs, looking for housing and had a job come along, I would have jumped on the opportunity. After I got back from my DC trip in June (the 3rd one for the year), I was nearly 100% convinced I’d be going there… it was just a matter of the timing. Less than a week after that, I got really sick again. God used that sickness to clearly communicate to me the fact that this was not the right move at this point. There are many reasons why but I am very confident that God closed that door, and that it was a good thing.
2. God’s been working OT in my heart on trusting Him. This has been something He’s worked on over and over again in the past year, but lately its been different… there’s been a complete peace about the fact that I have no clue what God is doing.
3. About a month ago I met someone. Well not just anyone. :) Again, this is an area for me of trusting God… do I trust God to keep providing clarity in this relationship when I can’t look 5 years down the road and see how this will end? I know God is at work in me because I’m not worried about that. I am (albeit imperfectly) trusting Him to make that clear in his timing.
I’m excited. I’m more confident today than I was 4 months ago in the fact that my God cares about my life in a very personal and intimite way. And I’m grateful for that.
My child, do not be afraid. Every day of your life was ordered before you were even born. I was faithful then, to call you to me before you desired me, before you knew me, before you lived for me. I loved you first. There is no need now for you to be afraid in this storm.
What is the worst that could happen to you? Death? I am the God who is faithful to old age, even to death. A lack of answers of clarity? I am the God who knows all. No answer is hidden from me. Darkness? No direction visible to you? I am the God who leads the blind along unknown paths. Loneliness? I am the God who will never leave you. Pain beyond your ability to handle? I am the God who gives strength to the youth who are weak and faint. I am He who provides grace to the weary and help to the tired.
What is it you fear that I in my power am unable to provide? You could bring care after care to me until you have no more and still every care will find a balm in my healing and help. Every need is provided in me. I love you.
Do not doubt my care because my hand is pruning. Do not doubt my love as you feel the winter’s cold wind blow. You are precious to me and I will protect and care for you through every storm. Rejoice, sweet chosen, adopted and dearly loved child of mine, for through this trial and pain, you are seeing the benefit of years of plenty. Now, when it seems there is no fruit on your tree, you are learning that your roots do indeed go deep and this faith I called you to only a few short years ago, that faith is real. It is being tested even now and it is standing firm. Be encouraged, my child, I am producing growth. This trial is bringing endurance and the more you see my hand at work through the unknown, you will grow in faith and hope.
My Son, Jesus, who died to bring you to me, is praying for you right now. He is standing here saying “Father, forgive her weakness, forgive her lack of faith. Be satisfied in her struggle. Look to my payment and be satisfied.” And you know, child, I am fully and completely satisfied with that payment on your behalf.
So come to me, in your weakness, nakedness and need, confident in my affection and care for you. Even now, when you don’t know what to say, my Spirit is also praying for you. He is interceeding on your behalf, interpreting your tears and pain and carrying your woes before my throne of grace. So, child, cry. Cry out to me.
I loved David and I loved to see his dependence on my power as expressed so often through his tears. Cry, even when there seem to be no words. The Spirit of God is carrying those cries directly to me. They are not lost. I am listening and my arm has never been too short to save. Be confident, in the midst of this trial, of my unchanging faithful love to you.
The steadfast love I showed to your fathers, the guidance to Abraham, the protection to David, the redemption for Jonah, the transformation for Rahab, the love that did not forsake Naomi, that provided for Ruth, and that blessed Hannah…sweet child, I am that same God. And I offer those same things to you. I would delight and joy in you coming to me in hope and faith, not cowering in fear. Judgment is paid. Freedom is yours. Live there. Rejoice there. I will never forsake.
But when you feel forsaken, remember my promises. When you feel tempted beyond your strength to endure, remember I will empower you to stand firm against every attack of the evil one. Even Satan is under my control; there is no need to fear his attacks.
Rest. Rest in the storms, for I hold you safe. I never slumber and darkness does not blind me, as it does you. Don’t you see? I want you to be free, not bound by fear. This trial is producing sweet freedom as you are learning of my sovereign care and provision. Like I said to the shepherds the day I sent my son “do not fear.”. Like I told the disciples the day my Son left them and returned to Me… “do not fear.”
And now you join their ranks…the ranks of the weak and helpless of this world whom I have chosen and loved. “Do not fear.” “This trial was given to you as a gift from a hand of love. Though you do not understand the purpose of the gift you do know the hand. You have seen my care and love proved time and time again to you.
And now, sweet child though you do not understand why, take this gift of pain, suffering and confusion and accept it as a good thing given by a Father who loves you. At this time in your life, what you desire is not a good gift. That is why I have chosen this. Won’t you rest in my arms? I can see tomorrow.
This “mistake” will make sense one day. And even if I never choose to show you the reason why, don’t forget I am using this to bring glory to myself and draw others to see my power displayed in you! Is that not enough? My power at work in you? That is why I don’t wnat you to fear. I know what will come tomorrow. And it is good. Rest. Rejoice. Lean on me. I will never ever let you go.”
Trial after trial
and my heart questions why
Has my God forgotten me?
Does he even hear my cry?
I am weak. Where’s His compassion?
I can’t see His hand or hear Him now
Won’t you speak God, give me comfort
As I trust you through this trial…
Then I hear you say “don’t be afraid
For I will never leave.
In your trial I’ve not forsaken you
I will meet you in your need.
Now sweet child, look to me with trust
My power will provide.
In your weakness you will come to know
That I’m your faithful Guide.”
So In this time of testing
I will look to you in faith.
You are faithful though I cannot see
You’re steadfast in your ways.
You are faithful. You are faithful.
All your promises are true
I know You are always with me
I will not fear, I trust in You.
ever have those times where you ask “What are you doing, God?” I know His ways are higher than mine. I know that He loves me and give and takes for my good. I know what He’s given me, He also has the right to take away when He should choose. And I know looking back that every time God has taken something from me its always been for my good, even though immensely painful and gut-wrenching at times. I know that though things can be taken, that nothing can separate me from His love. How I need that love to hold me close today. How I long for my war-torn heart to rest there.
God seems to be shifting me from one furnace to another. And I am as unhappy with this appointment as I was with the last. How I long for it to end. Trials are a funny thing like that… you beg and beg for them to end and as soon as they do you realize that you’ve learned so much more than ever possible had you not gone through that trial. So as incomprehensible as it seems to your feelings, you find yourself thanking God for what you just walked through. And simultaneously you pray that you’d never have to go through it again. In many ways, that’s where I’m at. I’m grateful for the trials that God has carried me through because I know to a greater degree the depths of His love, care and compassion towards me. But as I face yet again another trial, I approach it with the same dread and horror as I faced the last. Horror because as God is calling me to pick up my cross and follow Him, I’m seeing the death, pain, suffering and heartache that accompanies that cross. And nothing in me wants to go there.
Yet somehow my loving Shepherd has promised to be with me each step of the way. He has promised to complete what He has begun. He has already cared for me time after time and He is faithful. Because of that, through His strength to hold me, with His help, I will rest in His control over this. I am choosing to look past the pain, to look past the cross to my Strong Deliverer, who defeated the power of death and the cross. He will preserve me by His mercy. He is my Rock in the middle of the storms. God has promised to complete what He’s begun, therefore I can have hope that He will keep me safe and true in Him…even here, even in this, even though nothing in me wants this.
Somehow I’m excited to see God provide. As He keeps taking and in my mind its getting even more difficult for Him to provide, I look to my Jehovah-Rophe with hopeful anticipation to meet my needs and comfort my sorrows. I haven’t really known what to say lately because it seems there are no words to describe the unutterable ache in my soul. Nothing seems sufficient other than crying to my Maker… the One who knows me and will never leave me alone. So, in my loneliness, I look to the One who will never leave, abandon or forsake. In my pain, I look to the One who suffered in my place. In my despair, I look to the only One who was ever forsaken by God with gratitude that He will not leave me here. And in my moments (or days) when I just want to complain, I remember how good He has been to me. The God who restored my broken soul and gave me life, the God who gives me a reason for joy in my mourning, the God who drew me through His kindness and irresistable love… that God will not quit. So I look to Him.