Thank you for your encouragement to me as you read these semi-coherent ramblings of mine. By His grace I love Him and I want to share His work in my life with you for His glory.
For the last few months I have been completely overwhelmed by this season of joy that God has granted me. For the last 2-3 years life has been full of unexpected trials and pain, the kind you never dream of as a wide eyed 18 year old. The kind that take your breath away and make you believe that your heart is, in actuality, breaking. At 26, I’ve learned that suffering is not the exception, but the rule in this life. I don’t mean to be pessimistic. My pastor put it well, “This earth is the only taste of hell we’ll ever experience,” or something to that affect. Point being: God has told us in His Word that Jesus suffered and that we will too. And He told us that this world is not our home, that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for the children of God, for His co-heirs; so even in our suffering we can rejoice that a bright tomorrow awaits us on the other side of this life.
I can say with veracity that finding joy in my Savior through suffering has only made this joyous season of my life that much sweeter, that much more joy filled. My tears of sadness have been turned to tears of joy. As much as I was shocked at the painfulness of suffering I’ve been completely taken aback by the joy of…well, joy. We serve an incredibly loving, merciful, gracious God. And I’ve realized over the last few months that one way that God demonstrates His incredible love, mercy, and grace is by being concerned with the details of our lives. He meets needs that I honestly didn’t even realize I had. Here is my King, condescending to love me in ways that I never anticipated. I can look back on the different chapters of my life and see how skillfully He has written my story; His plot twists, His humor, His tenderness. He is a literary genius. He takes into account every unspoken fear, every insecurity, every hope, everything that makes me, me and in a Father’s love He meets me where I am.
At 26, I know that I don’t know much. I realize that I can’t comprehend half of what this life is going to throw at me, be it good or bad. I know that. But, I also know who holds the future. So regardless of what this life holds, I can trust that He who began a good work in my sin soiled heart will bring that work to completion. He is faithful. He will do it. And it will be beautiful.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite puritan prayers…
“O God, most high, most glorious, the thought of Thine infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but Thou art for ever at perfect peace. Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills. Thy power knows no bond, Thy goodness no stint. Thou bringest order out of confusion, and my defeats are Thy victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
I come to Thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to Thee, every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood; revive deep spirituality in my heart; let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its calls. Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.
Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget Thee. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to Thee, that all else is trifling. Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy. Abide in me, gracious God.”