Journal Entry ~ 10/24/17

20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. 
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  - Psalm 107:20-21

We can’t leave this passage without returning to the recurrent theme of this psalm. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  - Psalm 107:21. So much packed into this verse...so much to cling to when the world is challenging and the enemy is lurking. I love how God wrote this verse over and over in this psalm - He knew we’d need the reminder multiple times. In Hebrew, steadfast means "an eager and ardent desire" and reminds us that God's love never gives up.  When we’re living in rebellious sin and we are far from Him, this is what always brings us back, isn’t it?  His love never gives up. No matter what. His love for us is unqualified and unconditional. He accepts us without reserve. He doesn’t say to us, “fix that and then come to me,” He doesn’t say, “I’ll love you if you follow these rules.”  No, He considers us valuable just as we are - with all our hangups, our strongholds, and our sins. When we cry out to Him, He is there. Even before we cry out to Him, He is there. His steadfast love is always there, unchanging, ever faithful - no matter what we do. It never ceases and He will never give up. A steadfast love is a pursuing, everlasting love that continues to come after us even when we turn our backs on Him. He doesn't get angry and lash out when we hurt Him, He doesn't cross His arms and give us the silent treatment, He isn't fickle, loving us one moment and indifferent the next, He isn't annoyed when we come to Him over and over again with the same request.  He is always loving, always welcoming, always there for us with the same open and loving arms to receive us regardless of the state we're in. His love is perfect. And if you've become at all familiar with the love of God, you know how personal His love is for us. It isn't a love that just blankets all people on earth, it is a love specific to each of us. He loves me. He knows my joys, my desires, my purpose, and He knows my heartache and my grief. He saves every one of my tears in a bottle - those I've cried in joy and those I've cried in despair. He knows every single tear I've cried. It doesn't mean we wont be disciplined when we’re wrong, it doesn’t mean He won’t continue to work our sin right out of us through consequences, just as a Father disciplines a child He loves; it simply means it's safe to be who we are in front of Him. You are loved as you are. We must remember in difficult circumstances that God still loves us, and because He loves us, He is working all things for our good. Everything He allows, everything He withholds, every difficult season, every stretching circumstance, He means it for our good, because He is good. His disposition is kindness and He is loving. He is for us and He is good because He loves us far more than we can possibly imagine. There is such peace in that understanding for me today.

Coupled with the reminder that His love for us is steadfast is the reminder to be thankful once again. How we need this reminder over and over. One of the great enemies of hope is forgetting God’s promises...that’s why we are instructed throughout scripture to "call to mind.” We are to call to mind all the goodness of God when we feel the weight of the world upon us, and shift our thoughts to gratitude. We so easily forget this truth and fix our eyes on the things in front of us. If we are going to have hope in this broken world, then we need to call to mind that God's great love for us is unconditional, His mercies are new each morning, His grace is never ending, His promises are true, His forgiveness is complete, His sovereignty is over all, and His plan is good.  We have so much to be thankful for. The mind has great power to remember what God has said about Himself and about us. If we don't, we suffer. Too many people sell that great power short, claiming they can't. So many people in this world are trapped in the thinking of their weak minds, they suffer the defeat from giving in to spiraling thoughts, they cry from the pit of despair, "you don't know what it's like to suffer with this!"  But God knows. And He tells us how to get out of that pit - by calling to mind the goodness of our Lord. Over and over He reminds us of this in scripture because He knows our heart so well - He knows our tendency is to forget. Without reminding ourselves of the greatness and grace and power and wisdom of God, we sink into despair, bitterness, and defeat. Not only do we need to remind ourselves, but we need to remind others as well.  Have you ever noticed how powerful God's presence is during a testimony?  It's because we are calling to mind the the goodness of God in those moments. We are told to share our stories - over and over again. It's why He calls us to community - so we can call to mind the goodness of the Lord together, reminding one another that He is at work and His promises are true. Our minds alone can be weak at times - we all trip and fall into that pit, we need each other to shout the stories of God at work in our lives down into the pit so that His light can shine and we can see our way out. The verse reminds us where our hope is found - remembering and being thankful for the the steadfast love of the Lord. If we want to be able to face another difficult day in this broken world, we need to have hope....so pause and call to mind all the ways He has shown you His steadfast, pursuing love and give Him your gratitude. 

It’s surreal for me to sit day after day on my couch. I only get out of my house a handful of times each week, and most days pass without me accomplishing much of anything. It can take me a whole week to get my house clean and my laundry done. It’s literally the complete opposite of the life I’m used to living. All that once made me feel valuable and useful is gone from my life, and it’s been replaced with a pace that is so completely foreign to me. I look different and I feel different, and there is nothing about this I like. There are days when I feel like this will go on forever. It can be easy to trip into the pit of despair and hopelessness without the constant reminder that He is here, and that He loves me with a steadfast, pursuing, unconditional love. And for that, I am so incredibly thankful. Not a day goes by when I don’t receive an encouraging note or text from someone, a picture, a meal, or an unexpected gift from my dearest friends and from people who barely know me. It has literally blown me away to watch how He continues to strengthen me every day through the people He has placed in my life.  My heart swells at the thought of His love for me, and fills me with the gratitude I need to face another day. 


Press on, ladies ~ you are loved 💗

Comments

  1. Oh, dear friend. It must be so difficult to not be able to complete the same tasks as you once could. But it is a lie to think that you are not accomplishing much. You are quite possibly accomplishing more for the kingdom sitting typing out your blog than you accomplished on some of those days that were filled with much more yet had very little to do with Jesus. I love the ESV version of Philippians 3:14- "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I love that word "upward" in there. It reminds me that God is the conqueror, the One who rises above all. In the midst of your suffering, may you be reminded that each day brings us closer to that prize of meeting up with Jesus, our precious Savior!

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