Originally published Friday, 17 July 2015.
It's been a year. The rhythm of words are falling at a slow drip these days, and the joy I want to feel seems to be a bit repressed by memories of trauma from last July 16th.
That day brought suffering for us and pure joy for him. I know all this, and yet I still long for a selfish ending. Many more years of life with him and the ability to use phraseology such as "my parents" again would taste so sweet while rolling off the tongue. It's an indescribable feeling when familiar words escape our vocabulary because there isn't a place for them anymore.
I'm very quick to say that we cannot allow ourselves to live by what we feel. We have to hold strong to what we know to be true, and believe, in the midst of whatever might be crumbling around us. That thinking has been a lifeline for me over the past 365 days.
I'm learning that feelings must be based on truth for them to be validated by God.
I know that's a hard sentence to swallow because we all want to think of God as a gentle God of mercy and grace who pours love and will validate every need. But what about the God who sent David to defeat foes? What about the God who turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt? What about the God that said He was going to put a rainbow in the sky to remind Himself not to destroy the earth? Again!
We not only serve a gentle God of mercy, friend, we also serve a God that says, and I'm paraphrasing, "There is only ONE WAY and it's through My Son. It's Mine."
I seem to serve the God who has spoken deeply inside my soul to not give in to feelings of despair and grief, and to start having the courage to live what I believe. I feel like He's shouted it to me just like a parent who is a little tired of dealing with their child's messy room. He wants me to overcome, and sometimes that means pushing me a little harder through means of conviction within crisis.
It takes more courage to live what we believe, especially when it's unpopular, than to conform.
I cannot pick and choose what I like about Jesus and mold Him to suit me. I have to allow Him to mold me. And if I don't... Well, you fill in the blank.
Yesterday, I read the following passage out of Proverbs 16:32
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
To rule our spirit means submitting to God in ALL things. Even when someone dies. Even when we "feel" like we've lost everything. Because, the truth is that we will never lose God and He is supposed to be our everything. That doesn't mean loss won't hurt and that He won't comfort us, because He most certainly will, but we cannot allow horrendous circumstances to redefine who God is and meter how much He loves us. He's unchanging. Bad things happen to good, godly people, and He is still the same God despite every second of it.
I used to think worship was sitting at the piano and pouring my heart out. I confused it with attending a service at church and studying my Bible. In some respects it is.
However, for me, I've learned that choosing to rule my spirit according the word of Christ, and confess "it is well" even when it didn't feel like it - even when I wasn't sure it ever would be, is obedience. And choosing that kind of obedience when you're lying in the middle of the hardest places, in the fetal position, is worship in its purest form.
It isn't easy, but sometimes we need to recall the tough God who says, "It's me or nothing" to remember who we are in Christ. When we bear in mind that we belong to a God who can move mountains because of His strength and ability to do ALL things, when we remember the God of David who allowed him to take down the giant Goliath of Gath, then we can feel secure. And that particular feeling of security is amazing because it's based on truth.
So go ahead, confess it is well out loud, at the top of your lungs, even if you aren't sure. Because, do you know what? God is sure. He knows the end.
Have the courage to allow God to rule your spirit and put your feelings under submission. It's a choice. Not always an easy choice, but a choice that is within your control. And, yes, I'm preaching to myself today...
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