i've listened to 6 podcast sermons since last night. even while i was doing my cardio at the gym and typically prefer to tune into PTI or sports nation to get me pumped up, i was already fixated on the first message, desperate for a clue, an answer or maybe just a fresh perspective. i even fell asleep to the sound of bill johnson speaking about divine favor and still i woke up so unsettled and with an ever increasing heavy load on my back. why can't i just shake this off? these days i continually find myself repeating, "God, please. God, please." i don't remember ever using the word "please" with such desperation and longing. i used to think it was just an adverb i would attach to a statement in order to be polite and obliging- something that kind and well-mannered people often use, even when addressing God. that's exactly how i used to pray- keeping my composure, always appropriate and mindful of my carefully thought out words. i'm only now seeing the other side of "please." what i'm praying are actually pleas. cries that must be answered. more like, "God, pullleeeeeeaasseeee!" even though i'd hate to admit it, i was demanding to be justified. i needed justification for my pain and now for my anger. i threw out my best behavior and any attempt at being proper or put together b/c it was just freaking exhausting. i think the problem is that for so long, while facing trials and going through what felt like a fiery furnace, i thought i had to be strong on my own. i was always so concerned about what i said, how i behaved, and i even tried to manipulate what i allowed myself to feel deep inside- making sure there was no sign of weakness or breaking. it was as if i had to prove to myself that i'm fine, everything is under control (my control. scary). something that stuck out yesterday, ironically while i was lifting weights, is that trials don't test how strong our character is, they only test the strength of our faith. if anything, trials highlight how weak and broken we are and how unshakable and mighty is the object of our faith.
1 Peter 1: 7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
i am utterly relieved. these past couple weeks i've been somewhat of a wreck. i haven't been the best example of patience, goodness, gentleness, or self-control. regretfully, i've made hurtful and obscene statements out of fury and outrage and although i hate using the f-word, i said it a handful of times this week. it was just for added emphasis and nothing else seemed to suffice. i was irrational and in retrospect i'm kinda embarrassed b/c that's not my true character at all. up until this afternoon, i didn't know what to do with all the rage and hurt that seemed to keep multiplying. yet through my pleas i finally admitted that i'm weak- it's ugly, mean and uncensored- but it's real and it's liberating. the bulk of my pleas are for redemption and for these trials and hardships to be worth it in the end, to have justice. although i could never quite grasp what it would look like, i figured it would be in the form of an incomprehensible and intangible type of resolution, maybe just a feeling of satisfaction or contentment. if i believe that what the bible claims is true, that this faith that is being worked out during these difficult times is more precious than gold, it sounds like it's more than just a fickle feeling. i confess, i never considered faith to be so valuable and did not give it much reflection. but as i continue to ponder on 1 peter 1:7 and allow the truth of faith to penetrate, my intense rage is literally disappearing and there's just stillness. i'm being filled with so much peace and even joy to the point where i'm still shocked. is this faith? this is hope? somewhere in between finishing up dinner and washing the dishes, the HS spoke so clearly to me, "this is what it means to be justified by faith." i never understood it that way before. yeah, it may not fit perfectly w/in one single context and it'll probably take a lifetime to unfold all the layers in those 3 simple words. what i do know is that i need no further justification. the pleas have stopped. i have no righteousness of my own.
Romans 5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
there is no victory without a battle.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. James 3:10. as difficult as it is, sometimes it's better to stay silent although it may feel suffocating. the irony is that there's just as much power in what is unsaid. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18.
i guess that's why i blog. strangely i feel more and more healed as i hear the clicking of my own typing because i know i'm not holding it hostage inside anymore. it's out in the open. it's done. it's enough. now i can move on.