Many of you know the last five years have been hard: relationships lost; doors slammed shut; dreams laid to rest; and health affected. I have been stripped raw.
In the midst of this, God has proven faithful. He has been with me. He has sanctified me. He has loved me. These facts have been the rope to wrap my slipping fingers around. This knowledge is so important--such grace.
Yet, somewhere along the way, I began to believe God was only after my sanctification. That the "good" in Romans 8:28 actually meant holiness. That the stripping was necessary to teach me all I needed was Him. I began to believe God was after my dreams, that wanting anything but Him would lead to its systematic removal from my life. I have taught myself not to ask for anything. Not to hope too much. Not to plan. No dreams allowed.
What a lie this is!
At the conference, God flung doors open left and right. At every turn, He threw blessing my way, exceeding all of my small expectations for that weekend. I had to confess to Erynn the reason I had planned not to attend conference was because I was terrified to hope and have the rug ripped out from under me again. My plan had been just to make it through ACFW without embarrassing myself, never thinking I would actually move closer to being published. Never entertaining thoughts of my dream coming true.
I was shocked when she confessed similar feelings. God has gifted her. Her story is awesome. And I know God wants good for her, that though life has been increasingly hard for her and Leo, this will not always be so.
It's always easier to spot the lies someone else believes, isn't it?
Well, here is the truth: If you belong to God as His child, He is FOR you. He promises to fight for you (Ex. 14:14). He works for your good and your joy (Rom. 8:28; Jn. 15:11). He will grant you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4). He came to give you eternal life (Jn. 10:10, "already but not yet"). He has abundant goodness stored up for you (Ps. 31:19). He gave His only Son for you--will he not give you the lesser good as well? (Rom. 8:32). In fact, Jesus is always interceding for you (Rom. 8:34).
He is for you.
He wants good things for you.
God is not the one who steals. He does not wage warfare against us. He does not condemn us (Jn. 10; Rom. 8). That is never His character.
God is good in suffering, but He is also good in blessing. He gets glory from both trials and joy (Ps. 30:11-12).
God does want my sanctification. He is jealous for our affections. He will make me holy. But I don't worship the One True God when I act as though that is the whole of who He is. The above promises for our good are from Scripture as well. (They may have been misused, but that doesn't change the fact that He spoke them).
I am trying to find the balance, and my prayer is that you will too. I pray that we would see and worship God for who He truly is. Just and merciful. Holy and blindingly gracious. Judge and Perfect Father. The God who takes lesser dreams and grants greater ones. The God who loves us.
May it steep through every part of us and stain us with the truth!