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Posts Tagged ‘trusting God’

I don't know, but He does. I can't fix it, but He can. I can't rescue anyone, but He already has.

I can’t sleep. Anxiety wakes me before dawn and I feel it’s vice-like grip wrapping around my stomach, pressing hard on my chest.  Thoughts roil and spin as my pulse quickens. Bile rises in the back of my throat as one silent message after another ticks across the screen of my mind like the captions of a silent movie.

Help me, Lord!I don't utter the words aloud, but they pour from my soul thick with worry and fear.#overcomingfear#anxiety#worry Click To Tweet

Help me, Lord! I don’t utter the words aloud, but they pour from my soul thick with worry and fear.

I know I’m meant to pray and I resort to intercession for the dear ones on my heart. I can’t imagine a good outcome. How could anything worthy or beautiful come from an ugly, sin-ridden situation like this one? How can God possibly bring something beautiful from the rubble?

So I continue whispering my prayers and sending them to the heart of the Father. I’m still restless throughout the day, even preoccupied at times. But the sensation of a weight sitting on my chest is gone. In it’s place? I’m reminded again and again of His faithfulness to His children.

When Naomi lost hope, God gave her Ruth.

When Mary heard of Christ’s impending birth, God sent her to Elizabeth.

When David faced the sword of the king, He offered protection through Jonathan.

When Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendego walked through the fire, the Lord stood with them.

When the waves washed over Peter, Jesus pulled him from the depths.

When the enemy laughed because He’d thought he’d overcome, Christ rose from the grave.

I am not the only one to experience both joy and sorrow, celebration and grief, or delight and despair. Because we live in a world designed by God but polluted by the enemy, time will oscillate between glimpses of heaven and encounters with hell.

For. A. Time.

Then Christ will scoop each of His children up in the arms of eternity. The sorrow? Destroyed. The grief? Overcome. The despair? Decimated. Instead, we will only know and remember the love, mercy, and grace of the God who brought us through it all.

I long for the timelessness of all that is good and beautiful, don’t you? In the meantime, our wrestling with worry, anxiety and fear can take a back seat to the faithfulness of God.

If He extended grace before the cross, what will He do for you now? You are safe beneath His wings.#loved#treasured#saved. Click To Tweet

If He extended grace before the cross, what will He do for you now? Oh, Friend, you are safe beneath His wings.

Perhaps you’re struggling this week in the same way I have. Why not recite these words of hope as a proclamation of God’s love for you. Complete the __________ with your name as a reminder that you are beloved by Him.

When _______________ lost hope, God gave her Jesus.

When ________________ knew of impending trials or accusations, God sent her Jesus.

When ________________ faced the sword of the king, He offered protection through Jesus.

When ________________ walked through the fire, the Lord stood with her.

When the waves washed over _________________, Jesus pulled her from the depths.

When the enemy laughed because He’d thought he’d overcome __________________ , Christ rose from the grave.

Then, print off this list of verses to pray over and recite when the enemy comes at you with fear and anxiety. You can print them here.

10 Bible Verses to Help You When You Fear the Future (1)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragements/ Anita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, Dance with Jesus

Wednesdays   Recharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/ Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light / Five Minute Friday

Fridays Dance With Jesus / Faith N Friends / Fresh Market Friday / Grace and Truth / Faith on Fire / Blogger Voices Network/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is the terror that if our dark soul is discovered, we will never be enjoyed, nor desired, nor pursued by anyone. (Dan Allender)

Shame is that inner tormentor that whispers lies and accusations. It is the silent, insidious voice of self-contempt for one’s own need for love, relationship, and acceptance and is the seat of fear and rejection for the woman who bears its burden.

Introduced into my life at the intersection between my parent’s divorce, a stepfather, and a little girl’s desperate longing for love, I’ve been acquainted with shame since before my fifth birthday. I couldn’t have known that my new daddy’s affection and attention were the seeds he’d scattered in my life to engender trust in a lonely child’s heart. But once the abuse began, shame grew from those seeds–unloosing  self-loathing and self-disdain; always asking, What if I hadn’t? or What if I had?

Shame, though, doesn’t limit itself to only those who are abuse survivors. It invades the lives of women who were the first in their family to experience divorce.

Women who were bullied for their appearance or personality.

Women who experienced the pain of an absentee parent.

Women whose husbands indulge in pornography or flit from one affair to the next.

Women living with the trauma of a child’s death.

Do you, too, know the voice of illegitimate shame? Has its poison poured into the soil of your heart, assaulting you with cruel falsehoods?

You’re never enough.

You should have done something.

You shouldn’t have done anything.

You aren’t worth being loved. 

Some of us tuck shame behind our smiles; the great pretenders#nomoreshame#soulhealing#youareworthloving. Click To Tweet

Some of us tuck shame behind ours smiles; the great pretenders. Others of us hide behind success and performance, unhealthy relationships, food or alcohol consumption, or even closed hearts–certain we’re safer not being known at all.

Two thousand years ago, another woman lived with the shame of bloody discharge.

In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” (Luke 8:43-48)

Imagine this women’s desperation. For twelve years she’d lived on the fringe of society as an outcast. The communities societal pollutant. Demoralized and destitute, the woman hid in the midst of the crowd–gathering courage.

Despite the possibility of ridicule or rejection, the woman pressed through her fear as trembling fingers feathered lightly against rough fabric. And in the moment she trusted the Healer, her shame was destroyed.

If shame is part of your struggle, God’s heart is for you to discover freedom from its lies that you, too, might “live well, live blessed.” But, how?

Let’s consider the example of the healed woman who tried to hide from Christ. She pushed beyond her pain, pressed into Jesus, and proclaimed the truth of her situation. These were the stepping-stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness. Relief and restoration.

These were the stepping stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness.Relief and restoration.#nomoreshame#speaktruth#soulhealing Click To Tweet

Oh, friend, this woman’s experience can be mine. Her experience can be yours!

Will you consider taking on a challenge? Starting today, I encourage you to stand up against shame by engaging in the following three activities until you begin to notice a heart change:

  • Push beyond your pain. Write an honest, raw letter or prayer to Jesus about the pain of your shame. What has shame told you? What words or actions have other people taken that have caused you to feel ashamed?
    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him.He will never forsake you. Click To Tweet

    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him. He will never forsake you.

  • Press into Jesus. Reach for the hem of his garment by seeking Him in scripture. Saturate your mind with the Word and replace words of shame with the Living Word that assures you of your identity and worth.
  • Proclaim the truth. Record God’s words of love and place them where you’ll frequently see them. Read them aloud, turn them into prayers, and claim them for yourself because God’s promises are for those who put their faith in Him. Consider inviting a friend, counselor or mentor into the places you need healing from shame. Or, message me and I’ll pray for you.

May you, too, “live well, live blessed.”

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called ...

I’ve never been a fighter.

I’m the sort of woman who gets shaky when speaking with a disgruntled parent during a parent-teacher conference. The type whose stomach flip-flops uncomfortably when an acquaintance clicks ‘send ‘and fills the in-box with angry words. The sort who can’t turn off the tears when a loved one seems disappointed or disgruntled.

I'm not a fighter, but I'm engaged in a battle.You are, too, if you've professed faith in Jesus. Click To Tweet

I’m not a fighter, but I’m engaged in a battle. You are, too, if you’ve professed faith in Jesus. While scripture instructs us to live at peace with others (Romans 12:18), we’re also instructed to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).

Did you notice the strange pairing of two words? Good fight.

We are instructed to fight.And if we are called to fight?Then God will equip us to win. Click To Tweet

Even the most conflict adverse among us are instructed to fight. And if we are called to fight? Then God will equip us to win.

But, what does this battle entail? How are we to know how to live up to this charge? Will we be ensured a victory?

Friend, we are to defend that which is valuable in our lives. To guard against and stand up under the enemy’s assaults.

Fight the good fight for our marriages.Our children.For a faith that makes an eternal impact.  Click To Tweet

Fight…for our marriages. Our children. Our family and friends on the prodigal road.

Fight…for the unborn. The orphaned. The hopeless and hurting.

Fight…for a faith that makes an eternal impact.

During the next few weeks, will you join me as together we prepare for battle with God on our side and our hearts and minds submitted to the word and work of the One who makes us “more than conquerors”? (Romans 8:7)

To launch this series, I’ve linked to several posts that you might find thought-provoking and helpful.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a Christian–one who dares to act as if God tells the truth.”  –Pastor Mark Bates

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.

His life reads like a Hollywood movie–the culmination of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, forced to seek refuge in a distant land, and then offering his life in place of the soldiers who pierced his hands and feet…suffering for the sins of those who pressed a crown of thorns on his head…pronouncing words of forgiveness to a discarded, frightened man bearing the shame of Golgotha.

But, this is not a child’s fairy tale or a superstitious myth dreamed up to explain the unexplainable.  This is Biblical truth; the great love story of God rescuing His people from that great enemy, Sin. The beautiful giving of His life for those willing to risk belief.

Yet the world threatens to overcome…to overwhelm…to overpower belief.

A young man just beginning to live takes his own life–desperate for relief from consuming depression, a child’s small bones ache from arthritis, a next-door neighbor submits to another round of chemo and hopes she’ll have enough energy to play with her children tomorrow.

But there is a story much bigger than our smaller stories–these lives of struggle and prayer, tears and hope.  It is His story–one recorded for us–that tells of the Lion and the Lamb…the Beginning and the End….the Resurrection and the Life.

And while the world threatens, He promises to give abundant life (John 10:10)

…to provide freedom (John 8:36)

…and to love us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).

I dare to believe–to act as if what God says is true. Won’t you? Let us encourage one another to hold to our faith, dear Friend, even when we doubt.

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Peering beneath the edge of the steel frame where the carpet and dark space intersect, I imagined all sorts of evil lurking in the five inches of space beneath the mattress and covers.  Nibbling at the edge of a fingernail, I shifted from side to side considering my options. The risks? Certain punishment if I refused to quickly locate myself beneath the warmth of sleep-inducing blankets or—to my impressionable mind—possible capture by whatever monster or boogie man lurked beneath the confines of a seemingly innocent piece of furniture.

At the tender age of four or five, Shadow had become a thing of nightmares and illusory power.

Too often, though, it seems our fear of Shadow follows us into adulthood. While disguised in more grown-up form, we still tremble at its existence and our thoughts are filled with untrue or unfulfilled imagery that leads us from a place of comfort into the obscure illusion of “What If?”

The “What If’s” come in many shapes and may be different for each of us.

What if…my husband leaves me?

 What if…my child dies?

 What if…I’m really never happy?

 What if…this wound refuses to heal?

 What if? What if? What if?

 Oh, dear One, the Shadow of What If is—and always has been—a robber of joy and imitator of truth designed to obscure the Light of Hope. We fight each dark pursuer—out of breath and in need of relief. Somehow, we’re certain a jab or swing in the Shadow’s direction will ensure some sort of relief. So we listen to Oprah…read books by Dr. Oz…try the newest diet trend…anything to help us battle the dark, elusive threat that is our greatest Fear.

But in so much of the struggle we rely on ourselves—forgetting the promises of scripture. Psalm 23 reminds us that even when we’re surrounded by a darkness so deep it casts death’s shadow, He is there! Even in the most frightening of times or the loneliest moments he guides…protects…comforts. He is the one who will manage our struggles and wage our battles.

Our futile attempts at Shadow boxing can cease. No more useless jabbing or dodging. Let’s give the battle to the Champion of hearts and souls—the giver of life, conqueror of death, and victor over sin and its effects.

 Suggested Scripture and Questions for Reflection

Read Psalm 23.

What dark valleys has God guided you through already? If your journey is taking you through a place filled with Shadows are you relying upon the Shepherd—or self? I know I struggle with this–vacillating back and forth.

As a gentle reminder to yourself about God’s abounding faithfulness and protection, reread Psalm 23. This time, replace each “me” with your name and “my” with the pronoun “her”.

A David Psalm (MSG)

23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

 

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If we can trust Him with eternity, let's trust Jesus with our today

What happens when God doesn’t meet our expectations? When we’ve slipped a toe into the edge of the Jordan and suddenly we’re neck-deep in the river–disillusioned and doubting the call of the One who promised us beauty…bounty…blessing on the other side? What happens when our hopes or dreams are dashed against the rocks–shattered and floating further from our reach?

Do we blame Him for letting us down…for leaving us–struggling to manage the rushing water as we’re dragged somewhere unknown and unanticipated?

Instead of trusting that our Rescuer has already journeyed into the depths for us, do we give in to the pull of the current. Drifting. Doubting. Denouncing Him in our inability to see clearly from this side of the river to the other.

Maybe you’re at the place in your journey where nothing rattles your beliefs or sends you reeling–wondering if the God of scripture sees you…hears you…loves you. No matter the size of the Jordan, you trust Him to carry you across.

I’m not that grown up in my faith.

At times, I’ve been overwhelmed by the dark waves. Smashed against the river bottom. Sputtering for air. Shouting my doubts into the mist. Because suffering? It hurts. And sometimes I’ve felt like I’m drowning even in my living.

Some of you have shared about the Jordan your crossing right now. Cancer. Anxiety. Death. Divorce.

Pain so big it’d be easy to lose sight of the largeness and power of God. My heart aches for that journey you’re taking right now–the one causing fear unequaled. Feelings of aloneness. Deep soul-sorrow.

Can I remind you? He is El Roi–the God who sees.  He is Yishmael–the God who hears. He is Adonai–the God who loves you. And He is the God who walks on the water–right next to you…reaching out for your hand…and reassuring, “It’s me, don’t be afraid.”

If we can trust Jesus with eternity, let’s trust Him with our today–even as we totter toward the beckoning hand over the next wave.

Scripture for Reflection

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

 He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!” (Matthew 14:22-23, MSG)

 

Thought to consider:   In what area of your life is Jesus calling you to “come ahead”.

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“Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it.”.png

One of the most painful seasons of my life was ushered in the day my husband boarded the flight to a training school on the east coast. A military wife, I’d expected challenges. I’d managed years of work-ups, cross-country moves, and deployments. But this time, it seemed as if the one person I’d relied on for strength and direction was stripped from my life when I most needed him.

 Our two young teens were in full-out rebellion and another little child suffered for months as doctors and other experts struggled to determine a diagnosis. Parenting alone through unknown territory, I desperately needed assurance.

Have you been there–in the middle of hurt, heartache, or hopelessness?

While your circumstances are probably different, my guess is that you carry personal scars from your own story. Perhaps some remain open wounds–festering and seeping at the slightest provocation.

I don’t want to suggest there are simple spiritual answers. Some wounds take years to heal–but, He is able. Like the men who inhabited the land God gave the Israelites, your wound may be a giant–large enough to cast a shadow over your faith. Sometimes you might even doubt God is willing–or able–to move you from a place of pain to one of joy. From feelings of desert wandering to the relief of righteous restoration. From self-conceived-condemnation to the comfort of Abba’s eternal approval.

Those doubts? I used to entertain them.

I believed the Word. But, just in case He didn’t come through…on the off-chance His promises weren’t meant for me? I prepared for disappointment.  I lived my faith as if God were only god and the giant loomed larger than the One by whose stripes I had already been healed.

Despite my trust-you-today-but-maybe-not-tomorrow attitude, our merciful Father did the amazing. He slew my giants.

He was able.

The behemoths in my life? They are no larger than those in yours and I am convinced the Healer wants you to cross the Jordan into the land where your Goliath lives. Let’s move ahead in faith, Friends, trusting Him to conquer those places where we’ve been spirit-bruised-and-battered.

He is able.

This is our time to move through the water toward to the shore. Grab my hand–I’m coming with you.

Scripture for Reflection

“We went to the land where you sent us. It really is a land flowing with milk and honey. Here’s some of its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are strong, and the cities have walls and are very large. We even saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev. The Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the mountain region. And the Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and all along the Jordan River.”

30 Caleb told the people to be quiet and listen to Moses. Caleb said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it.”

31 But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people! They’re too strong for us!” 32 So they began to spread lies among the Israelites about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored is one that devours those who live there. All the people we saw there are very tall. 33 We saw Nephilim there. (The descendants of Anak are Nephilim.) We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.” Numbers 13:27-33

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One moment the car was moving smoothly along the highway and the next it was spinning like a top—uncontrolled and careening toward a snow encrusted ditch. Time slowing perceptibly; the momentum of the vehicle carried me along with it. None of my efforts to correct the out-of-control movement or soften the impact proved helpful.

Just fourteen with nothing more than a driver’s permit; I sat motionless in the vehicle—my hands tightly gripping the steering wheel. I felt as frozen as the ice that set the car into a skid.

He can turn our

The thought of continuing toward that morning’s destination caused fear to swell large and unbidden in my chest. I was stuck…stymied…trapped by my own apprehension and unwilling to resume my short trip—even if it led me closer to home.

Not long ago, I felt God calling me to press deeper into my faith. To follow Him where I’d rather not go. To invite Him into the places of my heart that most needed His tender care.

Still, I held back—almost unwilling to place those carefully guarded heart pieces at the feet of the One who could repair them. Like the teenaged girl from years ago, I clung to the steering wheel—going nowhere fast and feeling irrevocably out of control.

Could it be God is gently calling your name? Is He asking you to trust Him? To release a burden you’ve borne for too long? Does He want you to give up the bitterness over a past wound or the guilt you’ve lugged along with you year after year?

Release that burden to Him, dear friend. Don’t allow it to hamper your living any longer. Let’s choose to believe the promises we profess to know. Today—let’s live unburdened lives.

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

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I could see it crouching over her—almost visible in its size and heaviness. Depression. And dragging on its heels, you would recognize Pain and Despair if you looked carefully enough. Sliding slowly into the worn, wooden chair my friend attempted a weak smile as her hands gripped the thin paper cup and its warm contents.

The loud whirring of an industrial coffee grinder erupted over the chatter of the other customers and I asked, “How are you?”

“Desperate,” she replied.

And I thought back to a horrible night when another dear one was desperate and he begged God to help…to show mercy. And it was all he could do to survive physically when his soul felt as if it were drowning in an ocean of isolation and despair.

Then she uttered the words all of us have thought, but few are brave enough to utter in the presence of another—her heart bleeding its hurt from the inside out, “God is good…right?”

When the pain seems bigger than God, how do you answer a question like that?

I didn’t want to offer platitudes. Holy sounding Christian-eze. Cheery look-on-the-bright-side responses. Just what I knew to be true.

“God is still good. I know He is—I’ve seen it.” And I held her hand as we prayed—for comfort…for healing…for hope.

And don’t we all need hope, Friends? When nothing seems to penetrate the dark we need Hope desperately. A Hope that destroys the strongholds and promises deep, abiding soul-peace. Abiding Hope that lives larger than the problems of this world.

Lord, please! Give your child hope today!

 My words seemed almost foolish as I bent my head in a coffee shop asking for what seemed like the impossible. But, I have come to know this God–the Hope-Giver.

And knowing Him is the best hope of all.

So I keep praying for the impossible—until Hope responds to the heart cry of His child. And, He will—because He is good.

 

Scripture for Reflection

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3–5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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psalm 73

 

All of my self-created, self-proclaimed, self-protective vows could fill a book. You know, the ones whispered under my breath when I’ve been near bursting with anger…fear…judgment…hurt. Those silent promises and I-will-nevers intended to set a personal standard or to protect my own heart or the hearts of those I love. They’ve often proven impossible to uphold and are usually a hindrance to personal, relational, or spiritual growth.

You know what I mean, don’t you? We all have our nevers.

The divorced woman who has vowed to never marry another man—but lives as someone’s common-law wife. The woman who swore she would never smoke cigarettes after watching a loved one die of lung disease now burns through at least one pack a day. The grown man who was determined he would never treat his child that way—and hears the same ugly words of his father or mother erupting from his own mouth.

We all have our nevers. Read Peter’s words—his never—spoken boldly to Christ just prior to being turned over to the authorities.

31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” (Matthew 6:31-34).

Did Peter intend to live up to his words? Yes.

Was his motive wrong? Of course not!

Then what is the matter with Peter’s I-will-never? Is there something wrong with our nevers?

The problem begins with the words I will. Peter’s driving force—his strength—was centered on self; not on the sustaining power of God the Almighty. And self can only carry a given distance. Peter’s personal best? He made it as far as the walls of the court before betraying both Christ and his fervent I will never!

Let’s look to Jesus as he seeks solace in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to his arrest.

And going a little farther he (Jesus) fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Did you notice it, Friend? Jesus—who knew of the beatings he would endure and understood the shame of the cross—said, “Not as I will, but as you will.”

Isn’t that remarkable? Christ didn’t choose self. Self-protection. Self-interest. Self-will. Instead, he chose the will of the Father. And the best of Christ joined to the will of the Father resulted in unimaginably beautiful forever-life at the intersection of nail and flesh.

The next time a personal I will never thrusts itself into my thoughts, my hope and prayer is that I would it turn it over to God.

Lord, what is Your will in this situation?  In this moment?   In this hurt?

 And even more—would that I could bravely whisper, “…but as You will.”

 

Scripture for Reflection

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. (Ephesians 6:10)

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.         (Isaiah 40:29)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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