Did God ask me to do this?

175657Currently I am being challenged by Ann VosKamp’s newest book, The Broken Way. She authentically invites the reader into her life telling the stories of her own brokenness and meeting God in those places. I don’t doubt her and find her words encouraging, but it is so much easier to read about being broken by sin and giving Self the boot than it is to actually live it. Would you agree?

Last night, I was at the end of my rope; weary of dealing with a person who brings constant conflict into my life, a broken man-child who cannot understand or accept love, and who resists any and every attempt to help him get life right.  I am reminded of that moment when Peter stepped out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee at Jesus’ invitation.  A moment later the preposterous nature of what he was doing hit him and when he started to sink all he had the presence of mind to say was – “Lord, save me.”  That was me! I prayerfully told the Lord that I just could not do it any longer – out of options, out of hope, spent, done, afraid. Thankfully, my sad, faithless prayer was offered up in the quiet of my bedroom where no one had to actually witness the self-pity.  With the arrival of the dawn, my perspective is a little better, knowing that HE is the Savior, I am not.  In a strange way, I can give thanks for the trial because it does cause me to rely on God.

Have you been in that kind of place, friend?

Peter reflects on his Christian life and reminds us “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. “ (1 Peter 4:12-13, The Message)  We tend to wonder if God has failed us, if He has turned His back on us when pain persists, don’t we?  That temptation is old as Eden. Satan’s approach to Eve was to suggest that God was not good, that He was withholding the best things in life from her.  I have heard that same whisper. When I listen, things get bad. When I go to my knees, I find that He is sufficient.

VosKamp writes “How do you bind up the slow bleeding of your one broken heart and still believe that wounded warriors win, still believe that there is no remission of sins or the crossing of finish lines without things getting downright bloody, still believe that scars and wounds and broken places might become you and become who you are? … I am not enough for any of this.”   She points, not to self-help, not to escape but rather to the place of Broken Love! On the Cross Jesus Himself hung in His place of ultimate brokenness and even He groaned, more like screamed, “My God, why have You forsaken me.”  He had to go through death to find resurrection. So must we.

No, that’s not exactly what I wanted to hear either, but there it is, inescapable truth.  And, there is no neat resolve of our story in 46 minutes, like those TV dramas we watch. There are few burning bush moments where God shows up and says “I AM.”  Mostly there are just prayers for courage and tears that silently entreat Him to hold our hearts together even as we wait for faith’s reward.

In my broken place I hang onto Paul’s confession, making it mine. And so can you! “But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV)  Whatever challenges you’re facing today,  God is present.   He will provide all that you need, if not all that you think you need.   Trust Him.  Wait for Him.

Here’s a word from the Word.  Let the living Word fill your mind with His Presence as you meditate on the promise.   “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things,  may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”  Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.”
(2 Corinthians 9:8-12, NKJV)

________________________
Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my life in vain.
I’m tempted then to murmur,
And of my lot complain.
But when I think of Jesus,
And all He’s done for me,
Then I cry, “O Rock of Ages,
Hide Thou me.”

O Rock of Ages, hide Thou me.
No other refuge have I but Thee.
When life’s dark vale I wander,
Far, far from Thee.
Then I cry,”O Rock of Ages,
Hide Thou me.”

Sometimes it seems I dare not,
Go one step farther on.
And from my heart all courage
Has slipped away and gone.
But I remember Jesus,
And all His love for me.
Then I cry,”O Rock of Ages
Hide Thou me.”

 Hide Thou Me
Harris, Thoro / Tolbert, L.R.
© 1926. Renewed 1953 Singspiration Music
CCLI License No. 810055

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