My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, October 26, 2008

if God is for us, who can be against us?

Borrowed from What's New At My House (which you should all's a beautifully written, wise and positive journal!)

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.
The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. ""As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."
"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.
"So, my friend, why not take a while to just simply RELAX. Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while. Life is short.
Enjoy it!

I've talked many times about how everyone has a "worst thing" that is impacting their lives... and although my worst thing may not even compare to your worst thing... it's still the worst for me. I can very much relate to the little story above because often it's not that our worst thing is that bad... it's just gone on for that long. I've been accused of being an ostrich... of putting my head in the sand to avoid problems... maybe I am... but I also know that there are times that I have to lay my burdens down for a time, to be able to rebuild my strength and to gain a fresh perspective for dealing with them.

One really popular passage of scripture - Matthew 11:28-30 encourages us to come to God with our burdens

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

But do you notice that it says to take His yoke upon us? God isn't asking to be a dumping ground for our issues... He's inviting us to work with him - labor with him - imagine a yoke of oxen - how they are joined together and must go in the same direction and do the same work - He is inviting us to work with him and in that way find rest. I don't know what it will mean to you to take His yoke upon you. For me, at least lately, it has meant a ministry of prayer. I've never seen myself as any great prayer warrior but I am a great talker and God is a Great Listener (capital G, capital L!). For me it's meant to take the hurts and go before Him in sincere, genuine, honest, heartfelt prayer... asking Him to rebuild lives, mend hearts, protect families, uplift, encourage, provide... it means taking my disappointment and using it for His good. It's meant having a personal conversation about my personal conversion and it's meant naming names to the One who already knows the names... and asking Him to create a mighty work in this situation... asking Him to be glorified through this. It means that every day I have to take my hurts and my frustrations and my disappointments and any bitterness that is building up in me and ask Him to be yoked with me and help me keep walking under the weight of all that. And so far, every day He has. In the process... He keeps changing my mind about my anger... and replacing it with compassion... He keeps reminding me that there is nothing done to me that I haven't done to someone else, in at least some small way in my past. He keeps reminding me that "but for the Grace of God" go I. He keeps reminding me that I'm no better... no more righteous... no more Godly when I allow myself to be defined by my circumstances instead of who and Whose I am.

This passage is arguably the most victorious in the Bible for me... at least right now... this is from Romans 8:28-31
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I could spend a day picking apart this passage for you but I want you to take it at face value for what it means to you. I know people have different perspectives of calling, predestination, conformation, justification... I don't want to overwhelm you with the theology and doctrine of this passage. I just want you to see a few key points as how it relates to me...
1) God knew me before I was born... I believe Jesus carried my sins on the cross with Him. They knew what I would be up to here on this earth. He knew me before - "foreknew" me.
2) God's will for my life was always that I would be His child and His servant. At times in my life I have fulfilled that will for me... and at times I haven't. My intention is to be in His Will. He "predestined" me. - predetermined my destiny.
3) God put me in a place, in a position from early childhood to understand who He is. God keeps putting me back in that place an keeps showing me the role I play in His church, His kingdom, His work. I may not be a preacher or missionary or even a teacher, but make no mistake, God has given me a job to do - a calling - a work to complete here on this earth.
4) In my own little ole self I am not worthy of doing anything on behalf of the Maker and Creator and Savior of this world but because of Jesus' death on the cross, the penalty for my mistakes has already been paid. It's just as if those failures never occured. I'm justified. Just As If I'd - never sinned. I'm good enough to do whatever He needs me to do!
5) I'm glorified... I always see this as a future potential... when I go to Heaven, I will receive the reward - or glory - He has promised. But I will tell you, honestly, that if there was NO reward, no afterlife, no Heaven, I would still want to live life this way. I would still pick this life and this lifestyle over what I've had before. I can't imagine that it gets any better than this (but I hear it does!)

Therefore I will adopt this promise and believe that however ugly, painful, disappointing, hurtful the situation that God tells me it will all work together for my good. It doesn't take a huge leap of logic or faith to already see that I am in a better, happier, healthier place... and to see that as time goes on, those hurts will be replaced with joy, as they already are in so many ways today.

Sorry if my Sunday Sermon ran a little long... I really need to get ready for church as we are running late from my long entry... I hope these passages will help you feel Him a little more today and seek Him in your times of trouble. I love you all, even those I barely know! I appreciate that you want to hear what I have to say and pray that every now and then I'll toss out a nugget of wisdom that will be of encouragement to you! *hugs*


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I do thank you for the comment on my blog. I'm glad it touched you today in a special way. I always think everything happens for a reason. God Bless You!
'On Ya'-ma

Lainey Laine said...

Your words are so beautiful and I love the way you show us your strong belief without preaching it to us and saying we must do it too. I am not a strong believer, however I do have a little belief, we have to believe in something to help us through, what can be sometimes, a cruel world.

betty said...

awesome post!!! I'll add one thing more with your Romans 8 message:
Romans 8:39 "Neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus"

We need to grasp that thought too that there is nothing that separates us from Jesus; he loves us completely, unconditionally. He loved us, like you said, before the beginning of time. I too know that my sins were on his back on the cross; that he endured that pain, that agony, that wrath because of my wrongdoing, but he did it because he loves me so much and he did it because he knows how awesome heaven is and he wanted us to get to know him not only here on earth but to spend eternity with him. Just awesome isn't it??

enjoy your day :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this I really needed it.. Isnt that what happens someone writes something that has to do with you and you just here the messesge Thank you Heather We all no you still are very raw But you have come along way Be proud of yourself for all the hard work you havE done!!!! God Bless you and your Family Kat:)

Myra said...

I like how you apply scripture to every day life. It doesn't he;lp to read the bible and not "get it". To know that we are loved, unconditionally, by Him, is humbling! How was Austin's retreat?