Coming forth from our pain will emerge a deeper trust in God. . . a beauty we can not even imagine. Even though we can't see Him or at times even understand what we're going through, we can always look around us and see His beautiful handiwork. His creation speaks and gives confirmation that He sees us, knows our hearts, and is aware of our pain.
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
No matter where we are or how we feel, He is there. We are never out of the tender reach of His hand. It brings comfort to me knowing I'm never out of His reach and always on His mind and in His heart. As His child, I can never be removed from His strength, support, and the comfort of His presence. Thank You, Father, for Your tender mercies. They are new every morning.
Every moment is a unique place we’ve never been. The familiar becomes the unfamiliar. Trusting our unchanging God when we’re traveling uncharted territory is vital to finding hope. Sorrow, suffering, brokenness, are all an inevitable part of our journey. We could not know love without loss and sorrow, joy without suffering, and peace (wholeness) without brokenness.
When you're trying to find your way through the messy road of hurt, cling to what you know is true—-we have an unchanging God. That doesn’t mean the road of hurt to healing and hope is going to be easy; it will more than likely be a messy journey full of detours. And your journey is not going to be like someone else’s—-it’s a personal journey with a personal, loving God traveling the road with you. I wish there were five easy steps to no longer feel your pain, but there’s no such thing. What you do have are cross-shaped blazes marking the way to finding hope, reminding you of the truths found in God’s Word. Christ is your hope of glory, your hope for healing and peace. Based upon the truths found in God’s GPS system (His Word), I can promise you, you will get through this. He is with you because He doesn't leave you to walk this journey alone.
Grief tempts us to walk alone because it’s raw and messy and we don’t want to be seen as weak. Fight against that temptation to walk the trail alone. Walk knowing He is with you and ask Him to bring godly friends to walk beside you on this path to healing. They will be “Jesus with skin on’ as you journey through the messy paths of life.
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; f
or why does one also hope for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance, we wait eagerly for it.”
There I stood on the riverbank of the Tellico River, totally enthralled by the glow of the setting sun. It’s luminescence created a pageantry of translucent colors dancing on the trees. The slow moving waters below mirrored the splendor until a gentle breeze captivated some of the dancers and whirled them downward where they became immersed in the reflection of their former glory. Their final waltz in the gentle waters brought them to my feet at the river’s edge, completely submerged, still looking straight into the eyes of their Creator.
I found myself wanting to identify with the journey of those submerged leaves. In every season, they had a purpose in the cycle of life. They did not try to fight their way out of the place they now found themselves. They just continued to reflect His glory.
Trials come in all shapes, sizes, and seasons. It’s not up to me to demand answers from God every step of the way. My response is to be so fixated upon the One who created me that I will find joy in the depths of each trial. Every song He sings over me, whether in a major or minor key, is part of the dance of faith that is meant to produce a willing obedience to follow His lead as He waltz’s me homeward. The fluid motions of faith find me dancing in the arms of my Father. He pulls me in even closer to the intimate chambers of His heart–a place where I encounter unexplainable, uncanny joy. . . and in that moment, I found peace.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . .
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
He is still Jehovah Nissi today. He fights battles on our behalf and provides the victories. What are you battling today? Drugs, sex, abuse, anger, unforgiveness, fear, a false sense of identity? Whatever it is, God will fight this battle with you and give you victory. Do you trust Him? Are you willing to surrender control of your out-of-control life, and place your battle into His hands?
I'm writing about the game Capture the Flag, Sgt. York, and Moses over at Laced With Grace. I invite you to join the conversation over there.
There's at least two sides to every conflict. But seated deep within either side of the conflict is the actual heart of the conflict.
Have you ever said any of these phrases:
"I've got my rights!"
"I've been robbed!
That should've been mine!"
"I don't have to take that from you!"
"It's my way or the highway!"
Overused words of our overkill, me-ism society. I'm not being naive or blind. I know that at times we need either the law to protect us or have reason to complain, and occasionally the wrong must be exposed. But the way we go about it, the spirit with which we handle our conflicts, the attitudes we exhibit while working through the process of reconciliation are crucial. That's where our Christianity is hung out to dry. And that is where we have an opportunity to exhibit the astounding grace of God.
When we understand our hearts, we see the cravings that are underneath every conflict.
"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight." ~ James 4:1,2
There's another way, that of a Peacemaker.
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God." ~ Matthew 5:9
Four Principles of Peacemaking
1. Go to Higher Ground - Glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31) Remember what is most important during a conflict.See conflict as an opportunity to grow and serve others. Live out your highest values and beliefs in the midst of conflict. Christians should ask, "How can I please and honor God in this conflict?” and “How can I show the same love and mercy that God has shown me?”
2. Get Real About Yourself - Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye (Matthew 7:3-5) Take responsibility for your contribution to a conflict.Focus first on your own attitudes, words, and actions. Check your heart for any idols (desires turned into demands). Then confess your part humbly and thoroughly.
3. Gently Engage Others - Gently Restore (Galatians 6:1) Help others see how they have contributed to a conflict.It's important to overlook minor offenses. Everything doesn't need to be made out to be a conflict. But when you do go to the person, go with an attitude of love and concern for the other person. Talk privately first, and then if it's necessary, get help.
4. Get Together on Lasting Solutions - Go and Be Reconciled (Matthew 5:23,24) The goal is to strengthen relationships through genuine reconciliation and agreement.Look out for the interests of others. Forgive the same way you have been forgiven. Keep doing what is right, regardless of what the other person does.
Our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues are watching and they're fast to criticize Christians. Sometimes rightfully so. Let's strive to demonstrate to the watching world the Gospel of Peace in action.
For more information on restoring relationships and resolving conflict, visit http://www.peacemaker.net
Becoming the woman of grace God's designed me to be. it's all simply grace.
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