Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Joy That Surpasses That of Cookies

Hey everybody. This post is actually going to be a sister post to "From a lover of footy pajamas, grace, and all things confusing." One thing that Abbz and I have always shared is our faith. Over the years we have been on our faith journey together, encouraging each other as we have drawn closer to Christ. This in turn has drawn us closer to each other, and it is something that I am extremely thankful for. All that being said, I'd just like to add my own post to the encouragement that Abbz wrote previously.
With the recent events in gun violence and other social tragedies, there seems to almost be a dark cloud hanging over us right now. In the last week I've gotten some bad news of my own concerning family and friends. A couple of nights ago, after receiving what seemed like the 100th piece of bad news in a week, I went to my dad, feeling broken and at a loss for hope. I have always believed that our God is a sovereign, perfect God who has everything in His control. I also believe that all things work according to His perfect purposes. In fact, in Romans 8:28 it says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." But at that moment that night, I just couldn't understand why there had to be pain and suffering; Why God's plan, though perfect, has to hurt so much sometimes.
Unfortunately, I don't have a perfect answer. My dad didn't have a perfect answer either. When it comes to the mind of God, and the balance between his perfect goodness and the sin in the world, things get a little mysterious. But we do know that because we live in a fallen world, there are going to be trials and tragedies. When we face tough situations and when bad things happen to us, it's not because God does not love us. It's because we are sinful creatures in a broken world. If you drive a broken car, chances are, it's going to be a tough ride. You're going to break down and have countless problems along the way, but if you have a correct map, you're going to reach your destination eventually, despite the difficulties. As Christians, we do have the right map. As long as we keep our eyes on God, and trust Him completely with our lives, we will be going in the right direction.
This brings me to another point. In the last year, I've taken big steps in my faith. God has used things in my life to teach me important lessons. One of these is the true meaning of putting my focus on God. Granted, I don't have it all figured out. And I sure as heck don't do a perfect job of keeping my focus on God. But I did learn an important lesson. As I have encountered personal struggles in the past year, I have done my best to take them to God. I learned a long time ago (and am still learning) that despite my tendency to be a control freak, I am not strong enough to conquer my struggles on my own. So in the hardest times, when my mind was overwhelmed with the things that I was dealing with, I would pray. Usually my prayers looked something like this, "Lord, please rescue me from darkness. Take away my struggles and help me to overcome them for Your glory. Help me to put my focus on You instead of my problems." Over and over again, I would pray prayers like this - asking God to relieve me from my worries and hardships. Then one day, triggered by a sermon I had heard from my pastor and some MercyMe songs I'd been listening too, God revealed something to me. In all of my prayers, I prayed that God would turn my focus to Him and away from my difficulties. This is a good prayer to have, the only problem was my mindset. Although I was praying for a God centered focus, I wasn't working to achieve it. All of my prayers focused on what I wanted God to give me, instead of simply trusting in Him. In praying that God would take away my struggles, I was actually focusing on them too much. I realized that putting my focus on God does not mean praising Him for what he could give me, it means praising Him for who He is and what He has already given me. His son shed His blood for me, and as a result I am washed clean of my brokenness and sin in God's eyes. What more could I ever ask for?
So from then on, although I still ask God for strength, I've striven to focus on the grace that I have already been shown instead of the things that I'm struggling with. I try to ignore the desire for self-pity and put my trust where it belongs.
In telling this personal anecdote, my hope is that this can be an encouragement. Sometimes, we know these things, but it is very beneficial to be reminded. His love is enough, and those of us who live in grace can experience eternal joy and peace despite the darkness of our fallen world. Sometimes, that world is a hard place to live in. But there is always hope if we can remember this truth.
Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Isaiah 12:2 "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."


#Hisloveneverfails #BestillandknowthatHeisGod #ThugLife

1 comment:

  1. That is some much needed truth my friend. Thank you for that word!