Tag Archives: God is good

Faithfully Afflicted

My pastor recently introduced me to the S.O.A.P. Bible study method and, as I’m enjoying it quite a bit, I thought I’d share some of what the Lord’s been teaching me. Hope you enjoy!

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Scripture

Psalm 119:75

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

Observe

The word ‘judgments,’ as it’s used here, doesn’t mean ‘punishments’ but rather ‘decisions.’ God makes the right – and the righteous – decisions every time. He is God. He knows the beginning from the end and He sees the whole picture. He is in Heaven, outside of time, looking out across all eternity. He sees all the little details and He knows how to make them work together for His glory and our good. He makes the right call. Every. Time. And when that call hurts us, or doesn’t protect us from getting hurt, it’s still the right call. What’s more, those calls, even the ones that bring about afflictions, are all made in perfect faithfulness to us. He is kind, wise, merciful, and loving, even when it hurts. Even when He hurts. These afflictions are sent from a merciful and kind heart.

Application

I don’t agree with or approve of several, several, of the decisions God has made in my life over the last… well, over my whole life, actually. If I was holding the pen, I would have written a very different story. Furthermore, I don’t agree with the decisions He’s made in the lives of those around me either. They don’t feel righteous or just or faithful to me. Not at all. Biggest case in point is my infertility. I don’t agree with the Lord’s decision to withhold children from me. And I have a heart full of judgment when I look at women whom He has chosen to bless in that way. I don’t at all like the afflictions He’s placed in my husband’s life, in my best friend’s life, in the lives of other people I know and love… none of it feels like it’s been done in faithfulness.

But it has. The Bible says it has. And we can’t go by ‘the feels,’ we have to stand on the truth. So if I can’t get the truth to reconcile with what I’m feeling, I have to work on my feelings, and the root cause behind them, to get them to align with the truth. And the truth is that God is good. He is a good, good Father. He loves us, and He cares about us, and He knows what He’s doing. Even when it hurts. God. Is. Good.

Prayer

I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Therefore, I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore, I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes. Amen


Playing with Fear

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Greetings from Houston! Here we are, on the other side of our move. And wow was that a lot of work. When did we accumulate so much stuff?!

It was a long, hard two weeks. There were too many tearful goodbyes, several hours of drive time, and a lot of heavy lifting. But in a way, the weeks that preceded them were even more difficult. It was that question people kept asking: “Are you ready?”

Well, I’m a good Christian girl so my answer had to sound spiritual, right? “As much as we can be; the rest is up to God.” “Yep, we feel prepared but in the end, it’s in God’s hands.” “We are if He is.”

The trouble is, whenever I gave one of these answers, it was with a grimace and (I kid you not) crossed fingers. I literally stood in front of people, professed faith in God, and held up crossed fingers.

One night, about a week before we left, I was praying and what I’d been doing hit me like a ton of bricks.

I realized I had been presenting the move to people as if it were some huge risk that my husband and I were spiritual enough to take. I professed faith with my mouth while at the same time, purposely showing that I was fearful because we were taking such a chance.

I realized I was doing this for two reasons:

First, because my faith was (is) weak. I’m all right when it comes to showing faith in big things like Salvation (I only question that when I’m feeling down on myself). But when it comes to relying on God for our daily bread? Well, that’s a tricky one.

The second, larger reason was that I wanted the glory. By making it clear to everyone who asked that we were taking a huge leap of faith, I was keeping the attention fixed on myself. Instead of steadfastly affirming that God is good, I allowed fear into my voice and my face, to show how brave I was to press on anyway. I was down-playing God in order to raise myself up.

Now, I know that we need to keep it real with our brothers and sisters, and that we shouldn’t try to hide or stifle our problems. But the issue here was that I really wasn’t that afraid.

I know God will take care of us and that He’s promised to provide. But when people started making comments on how great it was that we were stepping out in faith, I wanted more of that praise. So I played it up.

Instead of acting like I knew God was good, I told people that I hoped He was.

And I began to buy my own product. “Wow, this is a big risk we’re taking.” “Yeah, I really would rather stay in Colorado.” “Uh-oh, what if things don’t work out?”

Because I wanted credit for overcoming fear, I played with it. And I got burned. I lost my peace and my joy and, even worse, I missed out on a terrific opportunity to give God the glory.

So on this side of The Move, I’m determined to act like I believe in the faithfulness of God. And so far, He has been so good. Our journey down here was completely incident free, our travels were protected, we had some great fellowship with friends, our apartment turned out to be even nicer than the one we left, our stuff arrived safely and we were able to unpack it in record time, and we had a very nice experience in the first church we tried.

God is good. And I can’t wait to see what else He has planned for us.


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