Helplessness is one of those feelings that leave you sort of suspended in your emotions. Having to depend on the actions of others to determine the outcome of your circumstance is an extremely daunting position to be in, and I think, especially as stubborn and obstinate human beings, one of the most uncomfortable. But God always seems to work everything out, and it’s easier to fall back into His arms through a sigh of relief after every is over….it’s just remembering that He’s got it all under control that’s the problem.
But whether or not I believe He’s got this one covered, He does, and He’ll come through, like always 🙂
This morning I woke up refreshed. I feel like the last few days, because I’ve been eating well (not drinking coffee) and going to sleep before midnight or just after and actually taking care of myself, I’ve been really awake and rested throughout the day and full of energy…it’s weird, but a good kind of weird. I woke up early enough to take a shower and take my time getting ready.
When I sat down to do my Bible Study, I found myself smiling. You know those memes on Pinterest that say something like, “that moment when you find yourself smiling for no reason and then realize it’s because of so-and-so,” or something like “when I found you, all the songs made sense,” or anything corny having to do with romance and first loves.
Well, that’s how I felt this morning, about God.
I know it might seem kind of weird that I think of the Almighty God as…I’m not even sure I can find a word to accurately describe Him…my Savior would be the best. But He’s the One who makes me smile, He’s the One who makes me want to get up in the morning, He’s the only One who I feel safe with, who I feel entirely protected while being entirely vulnerable. The song lyrics, “Amazing love, how can it be?” have never been so true. How could I be so blessed to be loved by such an amazing God? How could I be so loved by someone so perfect, while I’m just so broken?
Today was all about authority, obedience, and jars of clay. Bible study was about how, while the world sees obedience and submission as an act of weakness, obedience and submission are actually acts of great strength, wisdom, and understanding. Obedience shows that the one who’s obedient holds a certain love, attachment, and respect for the one who they’re obeying. When I obey my parents, I’m doing it because I love them and because I know what they’re asking of me is for my own good, to better me in some way, shape, or form. Likewise, when God asks me to do something, like trust or follow Him into lands unknown, it’s to better me, it’s for my own good.
I understand some of you may look at this and think that God is just another dictator who tells His followers to follow Him because it’s good for them, because He cares for them, when in reality He really doesn’t. Just to assure you this is a false way of thinking, let me show you some examples where this reigns as the exact opposite of God’s character:
While Saul was on the road to Damascus, the Lord struck him blind, saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). Jesus assured Saul that if he would rise and enter the city, he would be told what to do. Saul was totally helpless, totally exposed to the Lord’s influence. So Saul followed the Lord’s instructions and through this he not only gained his sight, but he also gained something much more: he gained salvation, gained peace, gained joy. Saul gained an entirely new identity and became the compassionate, loving Paul of the New Testament letters to Ephesus, Thessalonica, Rome, Corinth, and many other ancient cities.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13, ESV)
Part of this new identity was being able to be flexible and at peace in every situation. He knew what it was to be driven to his knees and to stand on the highest mountain. He knew what it was to be in great need and what it was like to have more than enough. But regardless of his circumstances, he was supernaturally able to withstand it all…because of his obedience to God.
One of the examples Beth Moore used was the comparison between Exodus 23:20-22 and Psalm 81:10-14.
“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. But if you carefuly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.”
By obeying God, we are fully protected and shielded from the fiery arrows of the enemy. Israel disobeyed the Lord and begged for illusions, for prophets who would tell them what they wanted to hear, for things that made them feel good instead of things that made them real. They avoided God, even though obeying Him was one of the greatest things they could’ve done for themselves.
Obedience is a sign of love, of strength, of wisdom and understanding, not an act of weakness.
I went through the day rather quickly. World Literature consisted of a lecture concerning feminism. Critical Thinking & Writing was interesting though. We were continuing our discussion on Descartes, and the concept of the body being a vessel or a conduit came about. Descartes, in his meditations, is basically calling all of his opinions under inspection and negating everything he thinks he knows to be true. Part of this process includes questioning whether he even exists and how he exists (“I think, therefore I am”). In his meditations he spoke of the body as being unable to be separate from the soul, but soul as being able to be separate from the body.
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee….We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5, 6b)
Our bodies are going to die one day. Our pulse will stop, our organs will give out, our skin will be transparent, and our bones will be weak. But even though our physical bodies are temporary, our souls are eternal. This does not mean, however, that every soul, once it leaves the body, will experience eternal life. There is also eternal death.
Hell is a very real place. You think life on earth is bad, complicated, painful? You have no idea. Lakes of sulfur, never-ending suffering…it’s all real. Not everyone is going to heaven. So I guess my question is what kind of eternity is your soul looking at right now: eternal life, or eternal death? Do you care? If you don’t, you should, because whether you believe in it or not, you will one day, along with everyone else on this planet, stand before God after death. “He has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” The Spirit talked about here is the Holy Spirit, which is the seal that proves you are a child of God. The Holy Spirit is how God speaks to His children, not audibly, but a supernatural stirring in their hearts, a new blood running through their veins, new fruits borne by their actions and by their desires. Without the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to walk on streets of gold, but rather through boiling rivers of fire.
I know it’s dark and I know it’s deep, but don’t mistake there to be only a heaven where everybody gets to go. There is a hell.
But thankfully, God is gracious, and loving, and inexplicably merciful, and He sent His son so that we could experience the very real heaven in which He exists, waiting for His children to come home.
Critical Thinking & Writing class ended after we were given a large amount of homework. I ran and grabbed food before heading to the Prattler. This class was surprisingly short and uneventful, which was refreshing. We all left and headed to wherever when class was dismissed early. My head was spinning with how much work I had to do, with how crazy it was that I only had a month and a half left of college, with how many things there were to think about.
Bree and I, later on in the night, had a really good discussion about how we as women can really help guys out by dressing modestly; we also talked about what it means to be married, how submission and obedience are acts of love towards our husbands (or, future husbands), not an act of weakness. It was neat 🙂
God is showing me just what it means to be His girl, reminding me that I am free to be tenderhearted, free to be obedient, free to be submissive, free to be kind and gentle, free to be loving and vulnerable, free to be strong in Him. I don’t have to succumb to the world’s desire for me to be rough and tough, to be independent, to be strong in myself. I’m free to love the One who made me 🙂
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)