Sometimes I battle so hard to do right, but thing weigh me down and I trip on this rocky road called life. I think somehow I just have to muster up a little more strength and push just a little bit harder, then somehow ‘I’ll’ be able to live this life right. So I pull up my boots a little more firmly and try again, only to be met with failure and disappointment as I trip once again. Quietly my head bows in shame, and I imagine that God must be looking down at me as His failure child who seems to constantly be failing, and I forget what he reminds us.
“…for without me ye can do nothing.” ~John 15:5
I can never live this life ‘good enough’ no matter how hard I try, because it’s still ‘I’! But He has unlimited oceans of strength He longs to infuse into our souls if we will only turn to Him.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9
When we fail, He doesn’t look down on us with eyes of condemnation. We are His children, and He looks down at us with a father’s tender love!
Can you imagine how misunderstood and hurt a parent would feel if their child slipped and scraped his knee but didn’t tell his parents because he was afraid they might get mad at him? How do you think God feels when we start believing the devil’s lies and thinking God is just waiting for a chance to pounce on us when we mess up?
“Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” Psalms 36:5
The God of all creation longs for us to rest in His embrace of grace and mercy! Mercy is mentioned 352 times in the Bible. I think if its mentioned that many times, God must have been pretty serious about communicating just how much He values mercy!
May we lay our best efforts, which are but feeble, at His feet and allow our tired and worn souls to be embraced in His arms of love, mercy and grace.
As the Christmas season and New Years has been in full steam this year there has been one word that has just been stuck in my head, Emmanuel – God with us.
As I think back over the year, I think of so many things that happened. It was a year filled with unspeakable joy and pain.
God was with me when I was sitting in the ditch beside my totaled car.
God was with me when joy filled by heart so full it felt it could burst.
God was with me in that hospital room when I said hello and goodbye to my tiny nephew.
God was with me in my victories.
God was with me in my sleepless nights.
God was with me in my hours of driving back and forth to work every week
God was with me when I felt all alone.
Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest. ~ Joshua 1:9
This year made me more aware then ever before that God was with me in everything. There were days when He felt far away, but He wasn’t. He was right beside me even though I didn’t feel Him. He was there for me when I cried out to Him. He was with me! The Creator of the universe never left my side… not even for a moment.
I’ve have been so blessed beyond words the last month just meditating on the fact that HE, Emmanuel is with us!!! No matter how great your joy this next year, or how deep your pain, never ever forget that He is Emmanuel – God with us!
Rain splattered on my windshield as I drove mile after mile on my way to visit a friend. An hour and a half of mulling over faith was on my agenda for that drive. The last few days I couldn’t get the subject off my mind and what our lives would be like if we fully trusted God with everything. So there I was, driving alone in the quiet as I formulated my thoughts and contemplated if I should do a blog post about it.
What would life look like, I wonder, if Christians – if I – took God at His every word, if we based our lives completely on it? What if I had the faith to step out on the water when God said “come”? Instead I hide shaking in the corner of the boat, focused on the crashing waves and comtemplating if I would sink or not.
Sometimes He asks us to take risks for Him, but our eyes grow wide with fear, focusing on the risk. We forget about the faithfulness of the One asking us to take it and trust.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” ~ Romans 8:24-25
The rain continued to fall softly as I drove, mulling over faith and begging God to give me more of it, the kind of faith that has such a deep trust I’d step out onto the water immediately if He said “come”.
As I turned onto a winding road as I neared my destination, my concentration more on my driving, I left my faith ponderings in one of the many folders of my brain to be pulled up later and maybe written out. A few minutes later, I came around a corner that was sharper than I expected and hit a patch of water. I felt myself completely lose control of my car as it began to spin in circles down the road, bouncing from one side of the road to the other. Pieces of my car landed all over as it slid, as if someone had dropped a marble on the floor.
I finally landed firmly in the ditch and all the normal things of an accident happened. I sat shaken up in the ditch beside my car, which resembled a pile of smashed medal more than a car. God spoke to me through the chaos, “Will you live out what you were just saying? Will you trust me that I have a greater plan even though to you it doesn’t look pleasant right now?”
As I sat there, sitting in the cold, wet ditch splattered in mud, the thought hit me – why do I feel “safer” trusting my own faulty judgement and plans when I can’t even see the whole picture? Is it not better to trust the Creator of the universe who knows my life from beginning to end and knows just what would have happened had I not ended up in the ditch Saturday night?
The fact that I walked away with only a sore neck when it could have been so much worse is astounding. A car could have hit me head on as my car spun 150 feet down the road, and I could have ended up in the hospital with serious injuries, or worse. It all reminds me of God’s overflowing mercy and grace.
I never thought I’d say I’m grateful for a smashed car, but tonight I am, as it reminds me that God’s plans are so much greater than ours!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~Isaiah 55:8-9
Will you join me in begging God to give us radical faith to cut the very limb we are sitting upon if God is underneath ready to hold us? Will we live our lives in faith and risk all, held by a faithful God? or will we continue to think we know better how to steer our lives than God? Every moment we’re alive we are risking our lives on faith in someone. Will you take risks trusting and leaning on God, or will you only take risks according to what you can see and plan and think best?