Waiting, Pouring, and Trusting: Finding Your Refuge

Angela

When Healing Drags On: Remaining Faithful in the Process

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7 ESV

My gaze was drawn to them like a moth to flame and my heart flipped longingly – jealously. They were runners simply going for a Saturday morning run. I looked down frustrated at my right foot. My foot injury sidelined me for nearly a year and still there were very few answers. There were a few times the injury seemed better, nearly healed and then something happened…I used a ladder barefoot or I walked barefoot and the pain and swelling returned.

Frustration. Irritation. Anger. It is taking so long to heal. The process is confining, exhausting, and at times feels futile.

God’s gentle nudge shocks me. Spiritual healing takes time too, Angela. The kind where God burns out the garbage I collect, the bitterness I cling to, the habitual anger I feed. And slowly He grows healthy fruit in my life. If only I wait for Him.

But I have to trust Him in the confining moments as well as those free mountain-top healthy moments. I have to trust Him to be near me, heal me, even when there seems to be no end of my habitual sin. And slowly He breaks the cycle. He helps me choose wisely. If only I wait on Him.

Father God I admit that I want to be free from my habitual sins. I confess that I cling to things that I should not and I don’t want to wait for the long healing. Help me to trust You as you slowly rid my life of deep-seeded sin. Help me to wait for Your timing, Your way, and Your healing. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Angela

Falling and Rising: How to Cling to God in the Dirt

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
    but we rise and stand upright.

Psalm 20:7-8 ESV

Trusting in God’s victory over death and this dark world doesn’t mean that we don’t get dirty from time to time.  Since God’s ultimate victory came in the apparent defeat of Jesus on the cross, shouldn’t we, His children, seek God’s victory in the unlikely places?

In Psalm 20:7 those who rise and stand are those who trust in God. But we would not need to rise and stand if we had not already fallen. In other words those who don’t trust in God eventually fall and stay collapsed on the ground, but those who trust in God fall then rise and stand upright. Sometimes God orchestrates life such that we fall flat on our faces and we find ourselves with dust in our eyes and grit in our mouths. Those who don’t trust God collapse and fall, that is the end of their story. But if we trust in the name of the Lord our God, the dirt is not the end of our story.

And so it is when we rub our eyes and spit the grit out of our mouths we can trust God and rise. When our children choose to walk from the faith, or our marriages begin to disintegrate we can wallow in the dust or we can rise as we trust God. This rising doesn’t mean that all our difficult dusty moments in life will turn out how we want them to turn out. Sometimes God has a different miracle in mind– one that doesn’t reconcile a marriage or heal an illness. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t victorious. It just means that God’s ways are higher than our ways. It means that we can trust God whether we get the victory we were looking for or if it comes a different way.

Still we can stand, dusty faced, but triumphant because we trusted in the Lord.

Dear God, we confess that sometimes we dictate how Your victory ought to come in our lives. We trust You only when we can understand how You are working. Father forgive us. Help us to trust You when we are covered in dirt, give us strength to rise and stand firm on Your promises. Remind us that even if we can’t see it or don’t understand it You are victorious. Help us to trust in You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Angela

Getting a Grip on Grace: How to Rest in God’s Goodness

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

There is a nagging tape that runs in my head.  If people knew the depths of evil inside you…if they knew what you struggle with, the dark thoughts that flit unwelcome through your brain…you would be an outcast.

I have seen the depths of yuck inside me. I don’t want to admit it because on the outside I look like a good little Sunday school girl. OK, I’m not that young, but I am not someone on America’s Most Wanted and according to certain standards I appear pretty good. I haven’t committed murder, never abused a kid, I have only had one speeding ticket.

Still there is evil inside me and when I forget grace it can eat away at me. This evil convinces me that I shouldn’t try to do what is right because I can’t be perfect. Or it sends me in the depths of despair because I am not good enough, for anything…

But this revelation that I am the worst of sinners was never intended to drive me to despair. God intended it to drive me into the grip of grace.

“We only grasp the gospel when we understand, as Paul did, that we are the worst sinner we know (1 Timothy 1:15)—and that if Jesus came to die for us, there is no one that he would not die for.”

Timothy Keller, Romans 1-7 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series)

The grace that God gives us freely in the work Jesus did on the cross is not void because of the depths of our sin or evil. Instead our sinfulness only makes God’s grace even more amazing. Furthermore our sinfulness, our evil, our depravity does not disqualify us from God’s grace. God pours out His grace on those of us who look at ourselves and realize we can’t do it ourselves. We are not good enough, kind enough, peaceful enough, loving enough…We can’t be right before a holy and righteous God. But God, He made a way that we cannot mess up. Jesus did it for us. If He can save someone like me, He can save anyone.

That is it. When we begin to grasp God’s grace, we cannot help but be overwhelmed by His goodness.

Father God, I confess apart from You I can do nothing good. Nothing that could make my relationship with You right. I know I am hopelessly bound to sin without You. But…You are a God who loves me so much that You died so I could be forgiven and receive Your righteousness. Help me rest in Your goodness even when circumstances scare me. Help me trust You because if Your grace is that amazing, You have good things (even if those things are hard) planned for me. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

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Angela