There’s no comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.
Just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence.
All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life – a life that goes on and on and on – world without end.
now that school has started, all the studying i’m doing to make up for the studying i didn’t do in undergrad is forcing me to sit for hours at a time.
and it’s good because i get to think and process. i’m learning for the first time what it means to allow what i’m thinking and feeling to fully sink in instead of rushing to slap bandaids over anything i think i shouldn’t be feeling. this slower pace of life makes it easier to sort out the junk in my head and heart that isn’t truth or life-giving. it opens up space for His voice to be heard.
it seems like every week i get a new song from Him. this week’s song:
If I told you this was only gonna hurt
If I warned you that the fire’s gonna burn
Would you walk in?
Would you let me do it first?
Do it all in the name of love
Would you let me lead you even when you’re blind?
In the darkness, in the middle of the night
In the silence, when there’s no one by your side
Would you call in the name of love?
If I told you we could bathe in all the lights
Would you rise up, come and meet me in the sky?
Would you trust me when you’re jumping from the heights?
Would you fall in the name of love?
When there’s madness, when there’s poison in your head
When the sadness leaves you broken in your bed
I will hold you in the depths of your despair
And it’s all in the name of love
I wanna testify
Scream in the holy light
You bring me back to life
And it’s all in the name of love
and just like each of the other songs He’s given me this summer, this has been what my soul needed, just at the right time.
three months ago, i wouldn’t have dreamed of being okay with where i am emotionally today. i was obsessed with being carefree and happy and in control of where my heart went. subconsciously making myself believe i was always okay made life efficient and easy. i couldn’t imagine anything other than waking up knowing i could tackle the day ahead of me, just like i did yesterday and just like i would tomorrow. i judged others who didn’t operate the same way i did because i was convinced my way was the best.
numbness was my good friend. i hadn’t felt pain in a long time. and from what i remembered, pain was an outside evil to be avoided, not a feeling that crushed from within when no one else was watching. the heart is pretty dang good at protecting itself – so good that, before you know it, you don’t realize you’ve shut out everything that could ever hurt you, including the good things that must happen in order for your heart to come alive.
since he broke things off a few months ago, i feel like the physical heart that’s sitting inside of my chest has expanded by 3 inches all around. when i’m sad, it pushes against my sternum. when i’m aching, it suddenly gains 10 pounds and weighs like a ton of bricks on top of everything else inside me. when something happens that resonates deep within, my heart starts pumping blood faster and i feel it begin to throb frantically.
but the thing is, never in my life have i felt more alive. through it all, He really has been bringing me back to life and He is more real to me than He’s ever been before. it’s a scary thing not to be god of how i am inside but i’m beginning to actually like it. when Christians talk about God’s destiny for your life and how His plans for you are better than your own, i’ve always tended to imagine giving up external parts of myself. dying to myself meant a different career path, wearing different clothes, relating to people differently. which can all be true, but it also means surrendering the internal.
and for me, that means letting go of trying to control how i feel (or don’t feel). trying to contain God in my head doesn’t cut it; He wants to move into my heart. the first step to freedom is coming to grips with the reality of your ugliness – but how was i to know how my soul was doing if i had no idea what was going on with it ever since i stuffed it 30 feet below ground twelve years ago?
but now. He wants to show me how to stop lying to my heart and teach me to trust what He wants to do with me. and because He is God and i am not, He’s got something for me that’s better than boxing myself up inside an emotional island.
God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.
Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?
The Messiah puts everything right for those who trust him to do it.
Say the welcoming word to God – “Jesus is my Master” – doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation.
it’s a weird thing for me to get to say, but: i kind of like this new way of doing things. it’s annoyingly uncomfortable at times, but it’s also freeing. you know how there are some things in life that make you think, wow that was totally supposed to happen because it just feels and looks right? well, this process of Jesus tuning my heart to look like His by leading me down a path of surrender feels right because it is right. my heart becoming whole is how it was intended to be. it’s a good feeling. it’s a great feeling.
Jesus, You are so good to me.
Can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy.
today was a good day for me. yesterday wasn’t so good, and neither was the day before it. it’s easier to find joy in what He says He’s doing within me on better days like this one, i know.
but Jesus – what i want is to be someone whose pursuit and ultimate reward are not your good gifts. i want to be a girl whose one desire is to be Yours and for You to be mine. when the brokenness inside me comes knocking, i want to be sitting up high with you. i want You to be my strong tower, my safe refuge, my green pasture. You, and not what You allow to happen to me. You, and not my circumstances, both external and internal. You, and not the memory of what was and the possibility of what could be.
You – because You and only You – are my beautiful inheritance.
Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him.
Always glory. Always praise. Yes. Yes. Yes.