“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” – CS Lewis.
This struck a chord with me today. I spend so much time relying on God, taking every little infliction and placing as much of a positive spin on it as possible. Sometimes, I struggle through the school day, just about clinging to the thought of Gods master plan that I can’t quite grasp yet. I torture myself with the need to know why things happen at the exact moment they do. I find it difficult to live in the moment because while I’m aware I’ll experience immense blessings in this life with God, I’ll also endure fierce hardships. It makes me so anxious sometimes because I know that for every good thing God provides, he’ll also test me. Relentlessly, in a loving, fatherly way but when I can’t get past all the hurt I may face in the future, for a moment, that doesn’t seem like much of a consolation.
I’ve realised that my fear of what’s to come in this life with God isn’t really about trusting his perfect plan. It’s more that I know the cost at which this plan must unfold. I know there will be many sacrifices, heartache and pain.
I rarely feel scared about what God will do in my life. I trust that he’s bringing me to places I need to be, people i need to meet and allowing me to experience things that will better me as a person. It’s the journey that I tend to obsess over and analyse. I’m assured that everything will be done for Gods glory and that nothing will leave me feeling worse off.
I want my walk with God to be joyful and unhindered by the harsh realities of life. Negative thoughts tend to infiltrate my mind when I’m going through periods of stress, like exams. I’ve been thinking of this quote all day and I’m thankful that Gods showing me parts of myself that I can work on and progress with. As I write this, I’m in a pretty bad mood. In fact, I’m in a pretty foul mood! Exams are on the horizon and I’ve too much on my mind to focus properly.
Within an hour, I know I’ll be fine again. I’ll talk to God; he’ll tell me its okay and quieten my anxious heart. He’ll remind me that I’m living a life that’s been mapped out with immense grace and precision timing. I’ll sit over my bible and read something that stirs that familiar fire in my heart again and I’ll remember that I’m truly happy, even in times of sadness. I’ll step away from Gods throne feeling renewed and ready to fight, ready to submit, ready to learn. This will stay with me until my next downhearted day, and the process will repeat. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s exactly why we need God.
This life consists of constant flying, soaring, falling, crashing, and then mustering up the courage to get right back up and face whatever knocked us down. I don’t think I could do that over and over without a little faith.
Yanno what the most comforting and awesome thing is about my faith? NO ONE is beyond redemption. I’ve always known this – to deny it would go against a lot of what I believe. But I’ve been reading 1st Timothy (literally at a snail’s pace) and I’ve had to consider it a lot deeper. In Chapter One, I’ve been reading about how people such as “murderers, adulterers, perverts etc.” (v9-10) can receive Salvation if they truly repent to their wrong doings and “conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.” (v11) This list goes from extremes to relatively common sins, which we all do, such as lying.
When I actually read words like “murderer”, it really hit home to me. I’m aware this is an aspect of Christianity that can be pretty controversial but that’s because we view things so differently from God. If I see a news story about some deranged killer, of course, I’m furious! And those kinds of emotions stick with you. I could forgive a friend for lying but murder? That would be a no. I’d love to get to that point eventually but to forgive them so readily? Without a little help from God, it just wouldn’t be in my human capabilities. Even then, it’s a stretch. In all honesty, I find this a very difficult thing to accept about my faith sometimes, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I can’t be as gracious as God and I sure as heck can’t be as accepting of others who have caused such harm in choices they’ve made. I WISH I could but that’s something that I’ll never have unless I allow God to change those sides of me.
As depressing as it may seem though, I can’t help but think this is supposed to be an uplifting passage! It lists sins of such a magnitude yet still reminds us that if brought to God, he’ll accept us with open arms. NO sin is so huge, so atrocious, that God will reject you. It may seem like the worst possible thing you could ever do but Gods pretty much like “Chill bro, make amends with me”. In Gods eyes, his children don’t deserve to be bound by the mistakes of their past. But flip, we can be stubborn and he’s STILL willing to take us onboard. And that, considering how deeply flawed and weak I am in practising unconditional forgiveness is a wonderful thing.
And here’s what really got my brain cells going! The passage even states that the law was written for the “unholy and irreligious”, which means people who reject and even insult God, have a book written FOR them regardless. It makes sense. I mean, how can anyone make a decision unless their informed? For me, that’s what the Bibles here for. It draws you to belief in God through its truths and sustains you throughout the rest of your life in LIVING this decision daily.
I suppose the main message I’d encourage anyone, especially myself, to take from these few verses is that NO ONE is more or less entitled to God’s word and his grace. As sinners, we were all doomed to the same fate. As Christians, we can all share in the same Joy. In reality, we can never look upon anyone in judgement without evaluating ourselves. We may not be en route to prison on earth with the choices we make but that doesn’t mean our eternity’s looking any brighter. We’d be imprisoned forever had it not been for such a merciful Saviour.
In my mind, 4 weeks ago was the true beginning of my walk with God and I’ll still be walking with him in another 4 and another 4 and another 4…until my feet become blistered and painful and then I’ll just have to be carried. I won’t struggle or resist his embrace, I’ll lie in his arms until my sores heal and I can walk alongside him for long periods of time. I won’t let go of his hand or divert my gaze from his until I can run and leap. Even then, I’ll be circling around him, ensuring I don’t run too far ahead. I’ll become hot under the sun and my skin may start to burn, but he’ll offer me shade and I’ll drink from his palm. The ocean will intimidate me but he’ll order me to plunge head first anyway. I’ll swim until I get tired and start flailing and he offers me a life jacket. I’ll clamber back to him, dripping wet and sobbing, until he offers me his robe to dry my face.
Then we’ll set off again, side by side, until I reach another sun or another ocean.
Charting spiritual progress used to be extremely easy for me…mainly because there wasn’t a lot of it. One month after recommitting to God, I’m looking at how far I’ve come! I spent a few quiet times praying and writing and I think I’ve boiled it down to a few key changes that have come about.
1. Praying – I pray so much more now! I feel more connected when I pray too. It no longer feels like a facade or a chore. Even at night, when I’m drifting off and suddenly a thought enters my mind, I don’t ignore it. I pray willingly without making an excuse to hold it off for the morning. I pray for meaningful things. Things that I’m passionate about and it’s the kind of passion I only feel when I talk to God now. I know God is listening. It’s like I’m talking to an old friend now! I feel uninhibited and free because I no longer harbour any guilt for being less than perfect. I accept that my words have been accepted by a Father who WILL answer in whatever way he sees fit. In short? Prayer is awesome now.
2. My quiet times have been completely transformed! I’m so much more positive about why I set time aside for God. I’m enthusiastic to learn and receive Gods message, but most importantly, I understand why it’s crucial for me to do so. I don’t second guess myself anywhere NEAR as much. I used to get restless and question whether it was really working or whether I was the problem. Now, if I even get a hint of those feelings, I either address them in prayer or soldier on in my reading until I’m reminded differently. I think experiencing such good quiet times has changed my outlook on a lot of things. I rely on God more to put me at ease with uncertainty because it’s a trait of life that I don’t need to deal with on my own. I can be fully honest about my failings without hopeless regret that sets me back in my faith – I just get on with it! Gods taken my cynical attitude and transformed me into a child who sees my Christian cup as half full. I feel unburdened when I give my fears and worries to God and I expect less from myself and more from him.
I realise that this could all change at any time. There will come a day when I don’t feel like praying or opening up my bible and unfortunately, those will probably be the days it’s most required of me to snap myself back into shape! But I’m going to be as thankful and enjoy it as much as possible whilst I’m at this point because it will stand testament to my relationship with God forever. If I ever do have a succession of very low days, I pray I read this blog and remember how God changed me and intends for me to remain fiery for him until the end of my days.
If you’re a Christian, take a little time to see how you’ve changed in big and small ways. It’s important to acknowledge what you’re getting right sometimes.
Well, it’s been an entire month since I recommitted to the Lord! Not gonna lie, I literally only realised as I sat down to blog. I spent the other night assessing how I’ve grown in just over 3 weeks, and only got round to blogging exactly a month after. I had other plans for this blog but I’m just going to ramble :D
It’s a weird, unexplainable feeling to have reached this point – on one hand, I’m thrilled that I finally took hold of my faith and embraced it. On the other hand, God provided me with a quiet confidence 4 weeks ago that I would be reflecting back, weeks later, on pretty much the same wavelength. I’ve NEVER had that, which is pretty unbelievable considering I grew up in a wonderful Christian home and have really never had an excuse to neglect my faith. I found excuses to justify laziness. Now, I find an excuse to DO my quiet time. I wish I could have appeared to my past self and told her how everything would change so suddenly and get soo much better! But NOW is what matters and noticing all the subtle changes going on in my life reinforces that. I can’t change how I used to be. It’s all about the future when it comes to faith, because our past is set in stone. The future can vary according to how we live in the present and as Christians, God is helping us to live properly to help achieve his future plans for us. I believe this has all happened now for a proper reason! I could have sat on my butt all summer but God had other plans in mind and is definetly preparing me for a proper life in fellowship with him!
I just thought I’d post a blog to mark this stepping stone in my faith :) I’ve received such a blessing in that God allowed me to have this transformation during summer where my heart and mind are far more settled than when I’m in the thick of the school year. He knew I was weak and doubtful, and treated me accordingly! He’s been such a gentle and patient Saviour these last few years. Something tells me he’s about to shake things up this year though. I’m going to be ready though! I’m pumped and ready to go!
BRING IT ON!
When Megz was over at mine, we attempted to harmonise in song! The harmonies may have been a bit off… but it was fun to sing gospel songs at the top of our lungs without worrying about people thinking we need sectioned! :) Our personal best (based on skill, I’ll use the word “best” loosely…:D) is “The Lords my Shepherd”.
The point is that friendship is full of joy, and that’s exactly how I want my relationship with God to be. Joyous and beautiful and expressive in as many ways possible! I want to be as comfortable with him as I am with my friends!
I thought I’d post a few pictures of Megzys doodles to illustrate this kind of friendship! It says at the top, “The storm clouds are dark, but the light is coming.”