Problems And Pain // Overcoming Difficulties

Day 4 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

From the Hard and Lonely Place

I am not far away from you. There is no special thing you need to do to hear Me better or make Me love you more. I am already pleased with you. But I can feel you missing Me. You are missing connection and conversation, a deeper relationship with Me. It is love you are after. You want to be known and cared for. You want to hear that you are okay, that things are going to improve, that this situation you are in right now isn’t going to remain forever. You feel stuck. 

But where you are is no accident. Ask Me where I am. Ask Me how I am moving. Ask Me where I am inviting you to go. Ask Me how I am inviting you to stay. Do not think that because things are hard that you are doing something wrong. Do not assume that challenges that feel so difficult right now mean that you have to figure them out on your own. But yet, please also know that I do not want you to remain passive either.

You have a role to play, an important one, in my kingdom. I whisper to you that you are mine. You are the beloved. You are not orphaned. You are not forgotten. You are not doing something wrong just because circumstances are not what you would want for yourself. When you have the attitude of orphan rather than of son/daughter/beloved you struggle to receive my love. You think you are somehow unworthy, unchosen, unwanted, uninteresting, generally undesirable. The most powerful thing you can ever do in your life each moment, each time you feel this lie taking hold of your heart, is break the agreement that you are unloved, unwanted, unchosen by Me. The gifts I give you in the kingdom are difficult to see here on earth. But you can imagine them now. You can ask Me to help you to see them now.

In this life where you face rejection and isolation, abandonment and loneliness, do not believe the lie that you are less loved by Me. Consider this question: what are these experiences teaching you? How are you becoming more resilient, stronger in hardship, more compassionate to others who are facing similar trials? How are you becoming more grateful for what you have been given, for who you are? And how are you getting better at accepting my love despite this hardship, despite challenging circumstances?

There is so much I give you, gift after gift after gift, and you need to see the good gifts I give you--and accept them--rather than look to what you think you lack. What if your circumstances equipped you for what is ahead--would that make you grateful, even, for this moment, even though it is not what you would have chosen for yourself?

Come now, I mobilize your heart. Come now, I stand with you, never leaving your side. Come, now, give Me your mindset, your fragile heart. Turn them over to Me, moment by moment, day by day, and I will replace your doubt with faith; I will show you how you can live from a place of abundance, where you trust in my love. And from that place you will be equipped for anything. From that place, nothing can make you falter. Nothing can make you despondent. Nothing can make you discouraged. Nothing can make you fearful. Nothing can make you doubt your talents, your strength, your heart, your mind. You are made to stand with Me. My arm is around you now. Do you feel it? Ask Me what it is I call you--what name I use--when we stand here, you and I. It is not the name, the words, you think. It is so much better than you could ever imagine.

Perhaps it is time to take action now. Press in to Me. Abandon the orphaned attitude, the orphan ways. You are royalty. There is nothing you lack. So step into the gifts I give you. Ask Me, ask Me what they are! Step in. Step in.

Exercise:

Holy Spirit said, “The most powerful thing you can ever do in your life, each time you [believe the lie that you are orphaned, forgotten, alone and unloved, is to] break [that agreement.]” He says we must break the lies that we are isolated, abandoned by God.

Because the truest truth is that we are not orphans. It’s that we were long ago chosen to be beloved heirs of an outrageously loving Father God.

That truth is so good, it’s hard to get our minds around. Because before our adoption, wrote the apostle Paul, we were “like corpses, dead in our sins and offenses.” But God chose us still. Before our adoption, “we lived by whatever natural cravings and thoughts our minds dictated, living as rebellious children subject to God’s wrath like everyone else.” That’s from Ephesians chapter 2, verses 1 through 3.

Eugene Peterson translates those same words like this: “It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.”

Let’s examine our own lives, our own hearts, and look for what God has done there. Let’s consider how and when He’s shown us mercy and love and poured resurrection power into us and our circumstances.

When and how have you faced rejection in your life? When have you just blown it and felt abandoned, cut off? When have you felt isolated, because of sin?

Now look again. Look harder at whatever experience came to your mind. How has God, since then, been working to redeem your mistake, your sin?

What good has come out of the experience?

What did it teach you? Is there any way you actually benefited from it? While unpleasant, and maybe horrible, is there any way the experience made you a better person?

Have you become more resilient? Is your faith more durable, now? Have you become more mature, more merciful and compassionate toward others who are facing similar trials? Have you become more grateful for what you have, for who you are? Are you getting better at accepting God’s love for you?

Whenever we blow it, whenever we choose our way, instead of God’s way, and whenever we face tough consequences because of our stubborn pride, God is always so quick to forgive and to help. And he’s so quick, every time, to begin redeeming our messes. Turning our ashes into beauty—every time.

We are never alone. We are never cut off. We always have a Father who loves us, whatever we’ve done, and He stands by us no matter what.

Father, it’s amazing to look back at moments in my life, times when I felt ashamed, rejected, alone . . . and see that You were there—not repulsed, not fed up—but in love, and so ready to help. Ready to welcome me back. Ready to bring your grace—the most powerful force in all the universe—right into my mess. Ready to help clean things up. Ready to clean me up. Ready to help me, despite my sin, to get better—to become more of the person you made me to become: beloved and free.

Thank you for your love. Thank you for your son, Jesus.

In His magnificent name, Amen.

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