Thursday, July 11, 2013

God is love, but I don't feel it.

I've worked with several young women over the years who've shared with me their difficulty in believing that God loves them. It seemed, to them, that life was continually hard and that their circumstances could never have come from the hand of a loving God. Things were ugly and seemed dark and they'd say to me, 'if this is God's love, I don't want anything to do with it'. I worked with these girls over weeks and months and showed them from the Scriptures the truth of God's love and over time most of them started to believe it and grow in sanctification. Their faces changed during this time . Their eyes went from darkness to light and tear stained faces came back full of grace and of peace. It's this part of counseling that I love. Watching the transformation.

But sometimes I need that counsel. And this season of life has been one of them. Someone who didn't know me very well might not notice anything, but wowsers. My spirit has struggled this time. I've gone through hardship before.... family struggles, financial struggles, health struggles. But the last 7 months or so have started taking their toll on my husband and myself and I've found myself for the first time really fighting for my faith, struggling to make myself believe that God is for me. Because it feels like everything is going wrong. I touched a bit on that here. And my husbands situation with his vision in his right eye has most certainly been a part of this equation, but not the whole story. God has allowed certain parts of our lives to become very difficult over the last 6 months and as we look forward at the next few weeks things might completely collide and well.... just blow up. A week ago my stomach was in knots all day every day and had been for a few weeks. So I've been having to do some incredible self counsel... counseling myself if you will. And the best way to do that is to study the Scriptures and examine my own heart. So I've been camping out in the Psalms lately re learning how to pour my heart out to God, begging him for mercy and grace and protection and provision, much like David did in some of the early Psalms (I've been in 18-26 most recently). I haven't had to do this in awhile. Not like this at least. Sitting on my couch after the kids have gone to bed and just letting my heart soak in God's Word and praying it out back to Him.

It has done me so much good. As I've walked through these chapters noting how David asks questions, how he reasons with God at some level, how he even points out all the good he's done asking God if he really deserves the difficulty he's going through. Have you ever felt that way? I most certainly have. As I've watched friends stumble through serious sin, but still have great success in other areas of their life, sometimes I'm dumbfounded as I (sinfully) compare myself, or other friends who have walked in purity in virtually all areas of their life, but still getting knocked down by life. David asked those hard questions and even pointed out how 'good' he'd been (somehow without seeming self-righteous)! But in all of his frustration and doubt his faith doesn't seem to waver. At least not in these songs he's written. And that's where I'm striving to be in this season of life.

And as I've meditated on God's Word and tried to look into every nook and cranny of my heart God has taken me from a place of utter fear and a heart that was starting to grow bitter toward Him, to peace and faith that His plan really is good. And I'm still in the thick of it. Don't think it's over and I'm looking back on the hardship and now things are rosy. Nope. I've got a few more weeks (possibly longer) of wondering and waiting for the inevitable to take it's shape and for life to move onto whatever it is that God has for it to move onto and this waiting is ridiculously hard for me. But I can't do anything about it. So I just wait and trust. And pray a lot. Praying back the very words that God has written and trusting with all my being that He won't fail me. My requests might be selfish. Things might not go my way. But in the end it will be for His glory and my good and I'll have a heart that looks more like His. And I couldn't ask for anything better.

A Prayer of David.

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!
You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings, (Psalm 17:1-8, ESV)

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