Okay. Time for confession. Ready? Well, here it is. I’m not as strong as I sometimes wish I was, I’m not as brave as I would like to be, and I’m not as smart as I’d like to pretend. I don’t like to be wrong, don’t like to look foolish, and don’t like it when I say something “half-baked”. And I certainly do not want to be ever less than super-spiritual, always knowing exactly how God is working and what specific response He expects in any given situation.
None of things may surprise you I suppose (especially if you know me well), but I generally have a hard time admitting such deficiencies to myself. I seem to run with the notion that maybe if I never admit these things, they’ll magically go away and lose any power over me that they might exert.
But God has a way of helping us to see things as they really are. He is ever busy with the business of plunging into the deep places of our hearts to do a work of deepening His blessings for us.
One morning very recently in a quiet time of prayer, I found God doing His spiritual surgery in my heart as He gave me some new insights into His work in my life. Generally speaking, I have considered myself an intensely private person, careful to guard certain aspects of my life. Some of that guardedness is good and so remains: for instance, my wife and children are a sacred charge to me and I will prayerfully protect, to the best of my ability, the boundaries that provide for a nurturing environment in which God’s Spirit can do His work of building them up into the men and woman God has created them to be.
But there are certain areas of my life that I’ve simply not talked about, in the name discretion, that have perhaps been guarded for less noble reasons. The Lord has brought me to a place to consider my motives in some of those areas and I find that my reason for being “discrete” in some of these instances has sometimes had less to do with not wanting to whine my way through life than it has with my desire to seem strong and invulnerable.
After all, we should never let our problems get us down, right? We should hold our heads high and never let on that we’ve faced and sometimes been overcome by hurts, betrayals, failures, and disappointments. Well, in a moment of grace, the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that a refusal to acknowledge hurt often has at its heart the sin of pride which is the chief obstacle to the thorough healing that God in His compassion desires to bring about in each of His children. Not only that, it robs God of His glory which had the capacity of demonstrating the application of His grace in our lives to a watching world. Furthermore, it robs others the opportunity of seeing how such grace works in the lives of those who are willing to trust Him and thereby leads them to the forfeiture of His grace’s work in their own lives.
This realization was brought home to me by God’s Word in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV), “(God) 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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Am I saying that God wants us to “air our dirty laundry”? No, but it does say to us that it is important – even vital – to recognize, admit, and surrender the broken pieces of our hearts and the miserable failures we’ve brought upon ourselves so that we, loaded with all our finiteness and wretchedness, can appreciate God’s infinite grace!
What God has taught me and is still teaching me is that while His methods can seem harsh, uncaring, and incomprehensible, His love for me is eternal, profound, and inexhaustible. The distortion of my eyesight (spiritually speaking) is not the reality; it is just a misrepresentation that Satan like to exploit and is a tool for his slick smear campaign against God. When in the midst of pain, I believed in God. I even believed that God was good. I just couldn’t see what that “goodness” meant for me or even if that goodness was meant for me.
My hope – my prayer – is that you will see that no matter how hurt you may feel in life, there is an eternal God Who truly does love you and, through Jesus Christ, really does accept you.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort you hearts and establish them in every good work and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV).