This is an anonymous guest post by a friend in Christ. If you’re interested in writing for this blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve all faced rejections, disappointments, and failures. That school we wanted to attend, but we didn’t get an acceptance. That job we’re qualified for, but didn’t get hired. That exam we studied for, and failed. What can be more difficult is knowing that God allowed these things to happen! He allowed me to get hurt over and over again. I find it’s effortless to say we trust God during the easy times —when everything is going the way we planned. During those difficult times, when our thought-out plans are being torn apart, we can get a little skeptical. We say that we know that God’s plans are the best for us, but in our hearts we wonder if our lives would be better if we could control every single outcome — if I could decide which schools accept me, if I could decide how people treat me, if I could decide what scores I would receive. It can be difficult to see God’s hand reaching out to comfort us in these times. Where is God when I’m hanging on by a thread in my hopelessness? There’s a step we need to take to truly let go of our pain, our hurt, our anger, our sorrow and let God take control of our healing.
These verses in Deuteronomy speak about God’s comfort:
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all you heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.” Deuteronomy 4:29-31
Now it’s time to reflect on what role we give God in our lives. We must ask ourselves, “Am I truly seeking God with all my heart and with all my soul?” For me the answer was no.
The past few months have been the most challenging of my life. While I’ve felt so much hurt, this was also the most urgently I’ve sought after God. However, I wasn’t seeking Him wholeheartedly like I thought I was. There was something else dwelling in my heart, something else I was prioritizing.
I had been giving another person the spot in my heart that is supposed to be reserved for God. Once I realized – I had to let God take the spot that He rightly deserves. I was unable to turn (remember the verses?) to the Lord and obey His command to serve only Him. So why was I not obeying but still expecting God to heal my hurt?
I think a lot of us do this. We want to give God the first place in our lives, but we don’t want to let go of the other god(s).
Maybe for you, it’s not a person who resides in your heart where God is supposed to reside. Maybe it’s your job, your aspirations, your health, your schoolwork, etc. God cannot share your heart with someone or something else. Things and people created for us to enjoy cannot replace God’s presence. God can allow hardship to remind us that He is not in His rightful place, the (His) throne of our hearts. Perhaps God allowed that rejection so that He could prevail in our hearts. Perhaps God allowed us to lose that job, position, house or financial stability to show that we do not have our priorities straight, that our eyes are not towards heaven. Perhaps God allowed us to do poorly on an exam so that we can stop taking credit for what God’s grace (free gift) bestows upon us.
So now it’s time to ask yourself about your priorities. If you’re not willing to change your list, then you must know that God cannot lead you. He cannot help you mirror Him, unless you let Him.
C.S. Lewis says something beautiful about this process:
‘Make no mistake,’ [Jesus] says, ‘if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for . . . Whatever suffering it may cost you in your early the life…whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect — until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me.’
If you are willing you can remind your heart that #1thingisneeded, let God dwell in your heart.
Blessed fast brothers and sisters. Make your journey through lent one of repentance and contrition.