May I share with you what I have learned…
God always speaks out against the injustices we suffer. He always upholds us when we are wronged. He walks with us through our hard times. He never lets us down.
I have also learned that even though everyone has a choice, we can’t make anyone choose to do what is right. And, even though their choices may ruin our lives, God always has another way. He redirects our eyes to something new.
Because we understand grief, we can comfort those who grieve. Because we suffer injustice, we can fight for those who are crushed. God doesn’t consider our past as wasted years; it is the foundation on which he builds hope.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
So often the Bible tells me the opposite of what I want to hear. When our house got trashed by renters, steam shot out of my ears. But then Derek drew me aside and we read the Bible. It said, “Rejoice!” God was in control. He had things in hand.
Or there was the time when someone made a decision that caused me a lot of pain. I stomped and cried in the private of my room. But the same thing happened again. Derek drew me aside. We prayed. A verse. Yes, it was, “Rejoice!”
Just today I was reading where Jesus healed the sick. “And people brought to him all who were ill… those suffering severe pain… and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)
Sometimes, those of us who are hurt can’t seem to get to Jesus by ourselves. We need others to bring us close. And then we can hear that wonderful word. “Rejoice!” God is in control. He has things in hand.
I’ve always thought that love is good...
The experts say that we all have a love language, and that each of us wants to be loved. A smile. A hug. A heart-to-heart chat. These are good. But, there are also broken languages of love…
Some think that love will only come through manipulation: “If you love me, you will do what I want.” Others think it will come when they are worshipped: “If you love me, you will put me first in your life.” Should we risk it and fulfill their demands?
I have learned the hard way that it isn’t a good idea. It develops a toxic kind of love where both are destroyed and hurt… Only God can satisfy our deepest heart. Let’s point those we love to him.
Conflict is sparks flying. It is emotions rising. It is experiencing what most of us think we would rather avoid. Yet, sometimes conflict is necessary. When we speak up for the slandered. When we defend the defenseless. When we risk our reputation to protect the innocent.
But our actions can only resolve part of the problem. The slandered might still feel worthless. The defenseless might still feel powerless. And, the innocent might still feel betrayed. These are reactions that continue to harm.
Conflict then shows us another face. It fights for the hearts that sink into despair. It fights against the lies that drag them there. Yes, conflict is sometimes called love.
I have this persistent longing to make a mark in life. I have this one-track mind that says it must look a certain way. Somehow it has sunk deep into my heart that adulthood is where it happens. Why? I grew up with that old Victorian creed, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I believed that life did not begin until one grew up.
But God is challenging me yet again, to go to those silenced ones, any silenced ones, whether children or adult, and listen. To value them and help them find their voice.
God is saying, “Hear and pay attention. Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.” (Jeremiah 13:15) This is a challenge for me… to step away from making a mark… to step into sync with God…. to enable the silenced to speak.
“Who has the biggest ego in this house?” one family member asked.
We looked at each other, not knowing what to say. This was a serious question. Nervous laughter ran around the supper table. It could be any one of us. “The cat!” someone piped up. “She takes first place!”
We laughed again, and I felt relieved. I could hide behind our narcissistic cat. This way I wouldn’t have to examine my life… But I did.
I looked up ‘ego’ in the dictionary: a sense of self-esteem or self-importance. That sounded essential. To look both ways before I crossed a street. To open an umbrella when it rained. Yes! God wants us to care for ourselves, BUT he also wants us to care for others. This is how we differ from cats!