These are my new three favorite words to use to describe God, mostly because they are hard to swallow. Oddly, that’s what I love about them. I love that the unwavering truth behind them battles with “[me] of little faith” and always wins. My heart knows that in every season He is still God, He is still sovereign, He is unchanging when my circumstances are not, and therefore He is worthy of my praise every moment of everyday, regardless of how I feel. My heart knows this, but my flesh doesn’t want to accept it. This has been my problem: I have learned that I often let my feelings and circumstances dictate my perspective of who God is, and thus how much I glorify Him. I struggle to not question Him and get angry when things don’t happen the way I want them to, or when I don’t have the answers I want to have. My circumstances are constantly changing, and God has been teaching me so much about what worship means in all of that. One of my prayers for awhile now has been that He would teach me to love Him above all else; above every other desire in my heart for certain things this side of heaven. I am learning to trust Him, to honor Him, to worship Him, to love Him because He has shown Himself to be sovereign, worthy, and unchanging. Honestly, how many more reasons do I need? I don’t want my love to be contingent upon what He does for me or gives to me. He loves me at all points; when I am angry, faithless, selfish, dishonoring, and having the worst attitude. He loves me unconditionally, and I want to do the same. I want to love Him for who He IS, not just what He does.
I’ve been asking Him to teach me more of His character, circumstances aside. I want to believe that “You’re a good, good Father” not because I finally get what I want; I want to believe it because it is the truth, whether I get what I want or not. Whether my prayers are answered my way or not, You are still a good, good Father, and I am loved by You. And for some reason this is so hard to believe when I can’t see the full picture. I am one to want answers and to want then now. But it is high time I quit relying on my own knowledge and understanding of my circumstances, and start relying solely on the person of God and who He promises to always be. I know God to be sovereign, worthy and unchanging because He is there in my rejoicing and in my weeping; He is the same when I am back and forth with my feelings and struggling to be obedient. He is challenging my heart to be steadfast, and to trust Him at all times. His desire is for me, and when He is silent, I know it’s because He wants me to seek Him. Not just to seek Him as a source, asking Him for answers, but to set that aside and purely seek His face, first and foremost. I know God to be sovereign, worthy and unchanging because I am completely helpless and hopeless if I equate my circumstances to His character… He is infinitely greater than all of them, favorable or unfavorable.
God has shown me time and time and TIME again in the most gentle of ways just how small I am. And in light of that, how often I limit Him, question Him, complain, withhold praise, & don’t spend enough time listening to Him because I’m too busy talking, telling, pleading, instead of surrendering, resting, and waiting on Him. I learned a lot about prayer when I realized how much talking I actually do when I’m being challenged. I thought I was totally doing the right thing by praying so fervently for certain things in my life, but then I realized how and what I was praying, and that it was not lining up with the “more of You, less of me” mentality that we are called to have as followers of Christ. I was telling God repeatedly what I want in life and asking Him for those things, but that’s where it would end. Even in my asking I was still holding on and not letting Him answer the way He wants to. I left the “not my will, but Yours be done” part out of the prayer. I had to switch from constantly asking for the fulfillment of my desires, my way, to instead giving it all to Him, recognizing that He already knows my heart, but also recognizing that because of His sovereignty, He has the freedom to do whatever He desires, regardless of what I ask. Because of His sovereignty, He deserves full access to my heart, and full freedom to move in whatever ways He sees fit. Because of His sovereignty, I have no right to hold onto any of it. I have to be careful that I actually mean it when I say “And if not, still I will praise You.” So I will continue to say it over and over again until I do.
My life is not my own, and the truth of that statement has hit me so hard recently. Not that I have this down… I fight on a daily basis to believe all of the things that I’ve said, all over again. I have to remind myself and ask God to remind me of the truth of who He is because it is so easy to waver and start letting the voice of my circumstances dictate my joy and tell me who God is. Please note the “I am learning” and “I want to…” phrases included in this post. I hope it’s pretty obvious that I don’t have it all figured out. I never want it to just seem like I’ve “arrived.” Yes, I want to be clear at times about specific lessons God has taught me in the past, or already brought me through, but I also firmly believe the struggle involved in those processes is the most important part of the story, and I hope that is always evident. I share the things that are currently on my heart for different reasons. One, it helps me process everything for myself and to refocus my attention on what is most important, and two, I want it to encourage whoever reads it in one way or another, whether you love Jesus, want nothing to do with Him, or find yourself somewhere in the middle. I trust that God guides and uses my words in some way every time they wind up in another post. On that note, I’d like to not end with my words…
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed by Your name. your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” -Matthew 6:9-13