Have you ever felt like the verse you just read, the devotional you just opened, or the thought someone just shared was…well…for lack of a better word…ugh?
My sister-in-law Debbie sent me a devotional this morning. She surprises me with really beautiful encouraging texts. Just when I need them. This morning the devotional included this verse:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
But this morning, I responded, “Wow and ugh…”
And then I thought, when am I going to stop responding to God’s word with ugh?
When am I going to stop having such a negative view of His plans, will, and timing?
Because really, when I consider who He is and how He does things, shouldn’t I be really excited about His plan for my life?
He is perfect…His ways are perfect. His timing is perfect…who can’t get excited about perfect timing?
His plans are big picture plans like REALLY big picture…like eternity big picture plans. I have next 30 second picture plans. And even then my plans are still clouded by my not perfect thinking.
So when God says humble myself under Him and at the proper (just the right time) time, he will lift me up…why wouldn’t I humble myself?
What does that look like? Humble myself. I feel humbled a lot lately. But I think my definition of humbled is all screwy. My feeling like a failure is not me being humble. In fact, there is probably a little bit more pride than humility in that.
Humbling myself under God’s mighty hand is more about acknowledging that He is bigger, wiser, stronger, and better than me. In all the best ways.
Humbling myself under God’s mighty hand is me saying, “All yours, Lord. All of me. All my stuff. All my hopes, dreams, and even all my stress.”
Hence, the later verses… “…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
I can picture myself…loading all my stuff into a big old black trash bag…my stresses, feelings of failure, fears, insecurities, and even my hopes and dreams.
Struggling to sling it over my shoulder. Staggering under its weight – I have a lot of stuff to put in it.
Stumbling up to the throne of grace and laying it tentatively albeit awkwardly at His feet.
Stepping back embarrassed. My messy, sweaty self. Head down. Knees down.
I tentatively look up. The bag of burden is already gone.
And the only thing I see. The only thing. His eyes. Tender. Compassionate. Loving. Kind. Gracious. Smiling. Focused. Waiting for me to look.
Really look at Him. Really see.
See His love. See His forgiveness. See His strength.
And now my eyes adjust to the beauty of those eyes and now I see that His whole face is smiling at me.
He really loves me. Me.
Shaky, ashamed, red-faced me.
I’m still shocked that big ole ugly bag is gone. Doesn’t He want to pull it all out in front of me? Make me answer for it? Make me understand the great sacrifice dealing with it all is going to be? Doesn’t He want me to know what a mess I am?
I don’t understand. It must show in my face.
His smile softens more, if that is even possible. And He says to me, “Dearest child, it is finished. I finished it at the Cross. When I look at you, the apple of my eye, I only see my precious daughter.”
Is it okay to say “really?” to God?
Because sometimes when I realize His love for me…when I cannot deny what His word says about me, I want to say, “Really, Lord?” Do you really love me? Really? Because I’m so not who I think you want me to be. I want to be so much better.
And again, I cannot deny His word…He loves me.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are! 1 John 3:1
The thing that really surprised me when I was looking at verses about love was how often love is paired with mercy and forgiveness.
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… Exodus 34:6-7
Just what I need – a lot of love and a lot of mercy and a lot of forgiveness.
When I drag my big ole bag of burden to my Savior, He greets me with mercy, forgiveness, and love.
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
Now if I could just leave the bag there and not feel like I need to pick it all back up again.
Each day is a new day of mercy…a new day to begin again. A fresh start. Burden free.
Seems impossible right now. I pray and lay my burden down. I trust that God can handle it, but for some unknown reason I begin almost immediately to find things to stress about…and very often the very same things.
How do I lay it down and not pick it back up again? How do I trust when the answer isn’t there immediately or the situation still exists or the fear flairs again? How do I do it?
I guess that is another thing to pray about…that must be why God says to pray continually…without ceasing. Keep my mind focused on him…keep my thoughts centered on him….hold fast to the word of life.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4
I guess when God shows me something that’s what I REALLY need to do instead of just always feeling like ugh and “Really?!!”
I think I’ll try responding “Ok!” instead.
Maybe even a “Yes!”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2