Reason to Rejoice

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I woke up this morning to the quiet hush of the rain, musically soothing the world back to slumber. In the air there was a sense of anticipation and wonder undampened by the rain’s refrain. In the middle of life’s devastations, there is peace in God’s unchanging character. I’ve been reading Beholding and Becoming, The Art of Everyday Worship, by Ruth Chou Simons. In her book she talks about seeing the greatness of God by being in awe of His creation. It’s quite easy to focus on my troubles and not notice the love letters God is writing to me with the dew on the grass, the rain’s gentle descent, or the sunset’s stunning silence. These are all messages from God asking me to trust Him. He is bigger than my suffering. The realization of how big God is does not diminish my pain, it doesn’t decrease my suffering, but it puts my pain in proper perspective. Because while my heart, emotions, and life are a mess, God is perfectly at peace and perfectly in control. And so, with eyes on Him I can say, yes, it is well with my soul.
This year has had so many high hopes and moments of healing from the past. It’s also had devastating dust storms sweeping and uprooting my heart. From the surface it looked like all was lost, but the foundation, the foundation stood firm and unwavering.
In the middle of the lies, the doubts, the tears, the regrets, and the unanswered questions I must cling to the Truth that is deeper still than my hurt.
My Jehovah Rapha -my healer heals me. (Jer. 30:17)
My Abba Father – comforts me. (Romans 8:15-16, 26-28)
My Strong Tower- hides me. (Prov. 18:10)
My Hero- fights for me. (Ex. 14:13-14)
I am saved by grace alone not by my actions. (Eph 2:8-10)
Nothing and no one can snatch me out of my Father’s hands. (John 10:27-30)
The love of Jesus has no limits. Nothing can separate me from God’s unfailing love! (Romans 8:31-39)
Regardless of how I feel, Jesus is always enough. (Rev. 1:5-8)

Just because one person makes me feel worthless does not diminish the value God has given me.  My value was already ordained by God Himself. I am His image bearer. (Gen. 1: 26-27)
God in His amazing love daily walks with me towards healing and closer intimacy with Him. After a fire there is unspeakable devastation and new growth comes. But the new landscape doesn’t look anything like what it was before. Something new is created. Something new must be created.
Every good gift is from God. This includes healing and restoration. This includes the gifts that God knows are good that I didn’t want and would not have chosen. Did I want to grow closer to Christ? Yes! Did I want to walk through the valley of the shadow of death? No. Not in a million years. But I cannot have closeness with Jesus and not walk through suffering.

 

The wonderful things in life that I cling to aren’t really mine. I know that’s a spiritual cliché, yet it is something I must choose to think. This is has been a season of suffering and stripping surrender. And this won’t be the last time when I must painfully release. Each time looks different. Surrender could be gracefully letting someone else run something at church or work that you would be better at. Surrender could be letting your child go and live the life they have chosen, even if it breaks your heart. Surrender could be learning to walk content in Jesus in the way you didn’t want your life to turn out. Surrender looks different in different seasons; some are natural and hard while others are unexpected and devastating.
But God is still good.
Daily, God calls me to lay aside my past, my idols, how I believed my life would look, and give Him the glory and thanks He deserves. That’s what I will be doing for all eternity! God deserves all the praise, honor and glory regardless of my state of happiness. His deservance of worship is not based on how I feel or whether or not I have what I “need” to make me happy. HE is God and that is reason enough to praise Him.
He beckons me to go deeper. He calls me to see Him in every situation and seek Him during my highs and lows. After all He is the prize. Intimacy with Him is greater than all of life’s wavering seasons and people’s inabilities to meet our hopeful expectations. People will fail and fall short. Your life may be painfully different than what you had meticulously planned. When we give our doubts and dreads and deep hurts to God, we may feel like a tree stripped of its bark. We may feel very empty and vulnerable with arms raised to Jesus. There is no way to rush the grieving season.

But even in this God does not forsake us.

 

Even if you can’t see Him. Even if He seems distant, He is not silent. He is always working even when you can’t see or can’t understand. We cannot allow how we feel to dictate our view of The unchanging Savior.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“Work together for good” does not mean that my original plan for how my life needed to work will fall neatly into place. I cannot forget that God is the Master Craftsman. For those that love Him (adore Him, worship Him) He works all things out for His good, for His glory. God used the death of Jesus on the cross for His glory and for the purpose that you and me and all of humanity could find Hope and eternal salvation in Him. But God didn’t erase the hurtful things that were wrongfully said about Jesus. The death of Jesus was a very terrible thing but God knew it had to happen so we could have the best relationship with HIM forever!
Every day, Jesus is so good to me on a personal level. He sends people in my life to Whisper His Words of hope. It could be a text, a hug, or my army of angels pleading the blood of Jesus over me, or a simple yet profound- how are you doing?
I am blessed by the King of Kings.

I am blessed by the Truth of JESUS which is always greater than the lies.

And so
This Thanksgiving,
This Christmas season,
Through the pain,
I have reason to give thanks. Because no matter what
He is always good.

Amen.

 

Love,

Anna ❤

 

A Beautiful Reminder from one of my younger angels. ❤ 20191124_092246

 

 

All photos taken by Anna. ❤

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