Originally published Thursday, 12 November 2015.
What does your face to the outside world show? Mine is a wide smile, almost busting at the seams with the joy of the Lord that's ready to flood the floor before you with a floral arrangement of happy, loved and adored.
And, many times I do feel that way.
Yet, other times are
frustrated times and
How about you? What does your inside face look like? What does it really say about you?
Stopping to really think, can mean the difference between
making a lie out of your faith and starting to walk by real faith.
Let me explain.
Our life mantra is usually: Keep the exterior shiny. The paint pretty. The hedges cut. The grass trimmed. The leaves blown. The exterior of the house beautiful.
The ultimate goal is: Make sure you really believe when you drive up to your house, people aren't falling off their rocker.
Yet, God sees past our outsides, doesn't he? Even when we try to so carefully hide what is wildly out of control within our own house.
"People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7
He sees right in, through the windows, past the locked doors, beyond the fresh coat of smiley paint. He sees the unorganized, chaotic, apprehensive and unsure cabinets of our heart.
And, he still loves. He still wants us. He doesn't care, laugh and stare. But, he says, "Come, child, draw your heart closer to the center of my love, the hearth of all life change."
Here, he proves stuff, valuable stuff, needed-to-hear stuff:
He proves he is not a love me, love me not type of God
willing to drop us off in timbucktoo when we don't know what to do.
He proves he loves the downtrodden and simply draws near to them. He loves truth and every time - no matter how others perceive us - he calls us to it.
He proves that people who share pain, are actually more liked by others. Which is even proven by studies that say, we like those who are like us - not perfect.
Then, as we get real with our own circumstances, pain, fears, dejection - we see what we hold is not some oddity of yuck, but what is common to nearly all men. We see that our pain can be used for other's gain. We see that our fears are the calling card to let others in to speak reality over our lives.
We hear God almost assuring our status by his very Word over us.
It sounds something like this: "The details of your body, your make-up, your home are not hidden from me. Don't you know I made you in a secret places? I saw your eyes before you were born, your mind before you knew it and the details of your day before you breathed. (Ps. 139:15-16). I have so much love for you, because I am rich in mercies. Even when you die all the time to your own failings, still, my grace saves you again and then again. Consider it a gift to the one I dearly love (Eph. 2:4-9). Keep your arms open to this gift, so you can unwrap all its beauty. Time and time again it proves the one that I have destined you to be like, my own son, Jesus (Ro. 8:29). You are becoming. It is a valuable process. Don't detest it, but remember that I have prepared good works in advance for you to walk in (Eph. 2:10). I care about your journey. Don't let your insides discredit my heart for you. I love you the way I made you - always and forever. No feeling can ever change that."
Knowing these things, changes so many things.
If God fully loves us, does it matter if man - does or doesn't?
God's love sets us free to the snare of man's opinion in a way where we can actually love man.
Instead of walking into church being Mr. or Ms. Gregarious, after suffering the worst argument ever - we tell the truth.
Instead of informing others to walk with the "joy of the Lord," after we are walking in the depressions of parenthood, we can instead reach out for help.
Instead of answering with, "I am fabulous," when health issues are about to plunge a loved one into pain, we can be open in a way where we hear the response, "I understand, that is happening to me too."
When God knows our inners, he makes us into faith-reliant winners. Not perfectly happy ones, not halo-covered ones, not sparkly and glittery ones, but ones, like Jesus, ones acquainted with suffering. The real deal.
Then, suddenly, we see it isn't so much about pretty houses, manicured yards, images of glowing Christianity, but it is all about the fire of God inside and the smell of bacon that permeates the mess of chaotic. And, we look around to say, "God is good - all the time. No matter how, I feel, he IS. And that is enough."
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