Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For Our Good

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance"  James 1:2,3

So how do you handle it when things go wrong? When you face tests or those various trials?

How do you make sense of your hard?

Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t deserve things to be like they are?

Take just a moment and ask yourself, do you want what you really deserve?

I remember a discussion I had about a family who were facing some hard things in their lives and I said without thinking, “But they have done everything right!”
I honestly thought this about them; that their lives were at a standard of near perfection that should have meant things like they were facing would never happen to them.

But I felt the Lord’s gentle nudging reminding me that they were not perfect, because no one here is…

None of us have done everything right, lest we forget why there is a cross…

And the reason we don’t get what we deserve… is that He took it for us.

His ways are not our ways.
But we want them to be.  We want Him to act like we think He should and move in ways that we want Him to.
We keep trying to fit the unmeasurable God of the universe into a box.

Our box.

But He doesn’t cooperate with our wishes or our desires when it comes to molding Him into the god we want Him to become.

I wonder when we do that, if we are actually worshiping the God we think we are...
or if we have made some kind of an idol of the god we want.

Is doing it right the key to an easy trouble free life?

When you are trying to live life right, what happens when hard enters the picture?

We need to remember that hard things, trials and suffering in our life do not mean that we serve a God who doesn’t care or is oblivious to our pain.  

If we think this life is an easy journey, then we are mistaken.

If we think we can achieve perfection on this side of eternity, we are mistaken.

A woman who has been like a mentor in my life even though I have never been in her presence, is Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham.
The inscription on her grave reads:
“End of construction. Thank you for your patience”

We are each works in progress, and we blow it sometimes.
But God’s grace…
Still God’s grace…
That is what gets us through.

That is what gets us through and helps us stand.

When we blow it, we can come back to Him and His love will meet us there, just like the Prodigal’s Father.

When the circumstances are beyond our control, and troubles come, His love will meet us there.

Whether we’ve blown it or not.

His love.

Always there and always enough to help us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

His love going over and above anything we could imagine because it is nothing close to what we deserve.

I have been the person that thought that if I did “A, B & C”, then God would follow through with His part and do good things in my life.
Those good things pretty much always involved a easy life and blessings heaped upon blessings. An easy life wasn’t ever really my reality, but it was my unrealized and unstated expectation.

The problem with the equation is that I have not ever been the person who did everything right.

Everything I have... everything is not at all what I deserved.  

It is all grace.

Nothing good that I have done... all of the good that is in my life is because of what He has done.

The Lord has slowly loved me back into His reality, and has tenderly and patiently taught me that He is my Good.

He is your good too.

Is a life free from problems something we deserve?
Even more important, is it something I have to have?
I am learning that His nearness is the only thing I have to have.

Blessings heaped?
I have them, yes… I am an amazingly blessed woman. 
God has shown that to me more clearly than ever these last few years!
A life full of His blessings is my reality, but those blessings are not my good. 
That place is only reserved for Him…for me to be near to Him.

And this?
Let me remind you that we are not finished yet.
There is an eternity with Him ahead and the wonders that wait for us there are indescribable.
And the wonder that will outshine them all is our Lord Himself.

Jesus will be there.

That is when He will wipe the tears from our eyes and we will fully understand what it is to be always and completely in His presence… eternally near to the one who loves us enough to take what we deserved for us so we wouldn’t have to.

Our only good.

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