My goal through this course is to coach writers, especially new authors, through the writing, editing, and publishing processes. If you are new to the publishing industry, do not fear. I am here to help!
How can you call yourself someone’s best friend and continually shatter his or her heart with lies? I’ll never understand deceit in friendships. I thought the purpose was to bond with another person. The friendship loses its meaning when you can’t trust what comes out of the other person’s mouth. It’s even worse when the person denies it after you confront him or her. There’s no opportunity for reconciliation or forgiveness in that case. The most pain comes when the person denies it and becomes angry with you. All is lost by then.
I gained some powerful insight recently. God is developing and strengthening my faith in this season of my life. Previously, He had me build my trust in Him by looking to Him to help me pull through my trials. Then, I had to receive by faith the prayers I made to Him would be released. Once I received the answers to my prayers, I was stripped of those things I had been praying for. I was literally thrown back to square one! I immediately looked to the Book of Job and the life of Abraham.
God’s testing is rigorous and efficient in perfecting our faith and thereby our reliance on Him. The question I could hear most prevalently during my struggles was, “Will you continue to follow me on the path I’ve led you on through the worst of times even after great loss?” I will be transparent and admit I wrestled with the prospect. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why I would have to suffer multiple losses (some similar in nature). Was I meant to cry out to God in sadness and not joy? Would my victories be sparse and my failures plentiful? It took me a while to finally understand. Besides just the perfecting of my faith, my eyes and ears were being finely tuned to a supernatural frequency. They were being refocused.
Stress and loss can pull us down and burden us. Yet when we have been disciplined to tune into a higher frequency, the confusion of the world falls away. This past Sunday my pastor preached on hope. One of the reiterations in his sermon was that our hope comes from above. And indeed, our hope “….comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:2-3, NLT). He wants all my trust all the time, and He will not settle for anything less.
Though the process is painful, I am encouraged by the fact He watches over me every moment. He watches over me throughout the good and bad, during my waking hours and slumber. He guards me in the mist of it all. I can rest in that knowledge. It gives me peace.
Our endurance and perseverance in the making of our testimony gives glory to God. People are then able to observe that our strength is not of our own creation but of the Lord. We are supernaturally imbued with power, so His “strength is made perfect in our weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Every difficulty creates a testimony to bring deliverance to others. God uses the humble and the least of us to show how mighty and miraculous His power truly is. Just as Joseph, Moses, and Esther were hidden until an appointed time, God will also hide us until the appointed time He wants us to operate in and proclaim His glory.
We are a mess.
Not the kind you find in a kitchen
After a hastily prepared meal.
But a wonderful
We’re the type of mess
Occurring when paint meets brush.
When what was meant to be an exercise in formal technique
Turns into an abstract rendering
A work of aesthetics that only God could properly frame.
You and me,
We’re a mess that’s easy to mistake for chaos.
Like the explosive pressure needed to bring forth a diamond
Yet the yield is wholly worth the hours of precision.
The exhilaration of too loud music,
Its beat rippling through your chest.
The confusion and disorder until you decide to just go with the flow and let your body be carried by the melody.
Tangible and comforting,
This mess leaves me wondering at the possibilities of exploring beauty found in unlikely places.
May we seek and find those hidden treasures in life.
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and [He] will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if [He] does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-20, NIV)
Sometimes we believe God only blesses us when we receive what we desire. We reason away why certain things should come to pass. Deliverance from a fiery furnace would, of course, be right at the top of our logical list of petitions to God. Yet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were aware of God’s glory and the blessings that come from fulfilling His commandments in spite of terrible persecution, even death.
The feeling of helplessness often follows when we endure an offense. Other times the thoughts of wanting to respond negatively to the offense is at the forefront of our minds. Yet there is one thing we must always remember… God will hold people accountable for the offense and deceit they commit. It’s one of the many sureties in life. I’ve learned to rest in that truth.
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). He will definitely repay. He does so in such a seamless way, it supersedes any conceivable reprimand or punishment a person could concoct. He intimately knows the oppressor just as he knows the person who is oppressed.
Find peace in His bound less wisdom. Find rest in His plans.