Saturday, September 12, 2009


So I have been going through a tough season of late. Well, I really don’t want to use that phrase, but I don’t know the best way to describe it. In generalities, there have been some strongholds I’ve had to face, one in particular of great impediment. But over time, I’ve seen that much of my sin is really just a symptom of some deeper problem.

There have been countless nights I’ve gone to bed, crying out to God, saying I don’t what things to be like this. I’ve felt helpless in my struggles, though that’s been hard to accept because I know I have a will and have felt I should be able to choose the “right” thing. I’m convinced of the Lord’s love and goodness, and I couldn’t imagine Him doing more for me than He’s done; I feel He’s given me the ability to walk in His light. So that leads me to conclude that I must have to do something different, because He’s already doing His part. What you end up with there is the idea of “I have to fix myself”, a pretty big lie.

Wednesday night, as I was driving home from playing frisbee, the thought came to me that perhaps this was a season, a season of struggle that the Lord wanted me to get through. I was very nervous to accept this, because it actually gave me hope (though claiming to love logic, I'm quite often irrational :). Still had a hard night, but something somewhat clicked there.

Then, there was Thursday morning. I don’t imagine ever forgetting this day. I woke up really tired, in a crabby mood, snoozed a bunch, just didn’t want to get up at all. I really think God uses those times on purpose :). On this morning, I finished the book of Hosea. Chapter 14 is incredible. Really. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s your background: imagine a people doing the worst possible things to a God who loved them the most. Then read the chapter. The rest of this note can wait.

In verse 2, Hosea exhorts the people to take words of repentance and return to the Lord. The whole middle section is deeply moving, portraying God’s unending love for His people. The chapter ends with this: (v.9) “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” After reading it, I was challenged to follow this message, and to bring words to the Lord in repentance.

But how do I repent of things I keep turning back to? Eventually you get dizzy after turning to the Lord, then back to sin, then back to the Lord, etc. I’ve questioned if I’ve truly repented of something if I later go back to it. I did forget here a teaching I’ve heard in the past that dismisses this worry, basically saying that though you may stumble, if you’re heart is truly turned to the Lord, that is repentance. I didn’t consider this wisdom until later, so at the moment I was struggling. I knew what I needed to do, but felt unable to do even something as seemingly easy as bring words to the Lord. But God was gracious, and He gave me the words. I repented and cried out for help. I also cried out about the near constant voice of condemnation I feel I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I know some of it has been me being hard on myself, but much of it has been the enemy. I sat there broken, helpless. As I cried out, I felt Him say, “Okay.” And I felt something physically change within me (won’t bother trying to explain it exactly). The voice was gone. Seriously. And the whole day was absolutely unbelievable. The condemnation was gone. The specific hurtful/sinful desire I had been struggling with was gone. I felt a freedom that I honestly do not think I’ve ever had before. Our God is mighty and sovereign and powerful.

I do think much of my struggles have been due to problems with acceptance, something I recently wrote about. I think the sin issues have been a symptom of the condemnation, a way to try to soothe the pain. I’ve known that I needed deeper healing, not just a band aid for the surface level problem. And He provided that. After a season.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:4-5)

God’s been teaching me a lot about grace and acceptance and forgiveness. This moment seemed to be a sort of culmination. And I say that not in whole, as I have so much more to learn and experience.

I do admit that the whole day Thursday was quite a mountaintop experience itself. I know not to expect that as the norm, but to enjoy it when He graces us with it. He gives us those moments to help us through the valleys.

For anyone struggling now, hold on. It feels so banal/cliché/insufficient to say that. But for those who truly believe in God’s power, it is rivers of living water, hope in a dry desert. And I say that to others in hope that they will remind me when I’m in the valley, in the desert.

Praise God for His faithfulness. Hallelujah, and Amen.

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