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.
A few days ago someone assured me that I could still fulfill a dream I had as a youth. I had wanted to become a medical doctor, but no matter how hard I tried, the door slammed shut again and again. This ‘someone’ encouraged me to go back to school.
I declined. My doctor dream may have been totally crushed, but God replaced it with something else. You see, our talents can be expressed in many different ways. I had wanted to help people’s bodies to heal, but God wanted me to help people’s hearts
What about you? Has your life turned out different than you had hoped? Do you feel like it has been ruined? Don’t give up hope. Seek God’s perspective. Let him redirect you and you will find life.
Often I wake up in the night, trying to break free from lies I picked up in my past. I have even prayed for Jesus to heal me. But the following day I end up right where I started, acting as if those lies are still true.
If I told you those lies, you would shake your head. You would say, “Eva, but those are just LIES! They aren’t true!”
I know that too. But breaking free from what has become a part of our emotional DNA is not an easy thing. Even Jesus knew that. Nowhere in the Bible (I have searched!) did he instantly heal an emotionally hurting person. Instead he stretched out his arms. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… Learn from me.” (Matthew 11:28-29) Jesus is our comforter, our teacher, our gradual healer. He shows us how to live without lies.
I wish it hadn’t happened, but this thing called fear was planted inside me as a child. Even now it tries to grab a hold of me. It tries to take over.
I can tell you that fear is a prison. It tears away from us the courage to fight back. It makes us powerless. But knowledge of fear, and how it works, doesn’t mean it goes away.
There is only one way I have found to overcome fear. I make a choice. I choose to look at God, not the one who causes fear. I choose to care what God thinks of me, not the opinions of others. I choose to be what God wants me to be, not what others demand.
When I do that, fear disappears.
Memories can become our masters. When we have been broken and hurt, and don’t know how to move on, those memories enslave us. It is as if they take over our life.
In the Bible God’s people were enslaved as well. They knew they couldn’t escape the pain and suffering inflicted on them. God knew they couldn’t… He rescued them. He sent hope. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Let God fight for your heart today. Believe him when he says, “Don’t be afraid.”
I figured life was about being serious, sensitive, and saintly. But I decided to ask God how he had made me. One word came back. Funny. I doubled up in laughter. I purposely stopped being funny at age fourteen. We were at a camp. My father was the director. One morning early, I ran his underclothes up the flagpole. I thought he would laugh. I got that one wrong, but I vowed never to be funny again… Funny what promises God asks us to break.
The facts of 2015 could stare us in the face. Broken dreams. Smashed hopes. Where was God? He could have changed those facts, he could have made things better… He didn’t. He had a deeper agenda. Faith. Can I trust him in 2016, even when hope seems futile? Can I believe him that my broken dreams are only the beginning, the seeds of an adventure with God?
It was cold. Oak leaves lay frozen in a puddle, unable to escape. I stopped and grieved. That was exactly how I felt about something precious to me. It too had been captured.
Then a thought came. “Look up!” An oak tree overshadowed me. Another thought. “Don’t be sad. That oak tree will produce many more leaves! So can you!” Isaiah 61:3 says, “… provide for those who grieve in Zion… They will be called oaks of righteousness… for the display of his splendor.”
How valuable is a life? What is one willing to pay to save someone from death? Joseph went through slavery and imprisonment to save his family, seventy souls. But was it necessary to suffer so much for so long? Thirteen years of silent tears? God thought so. Jesus died to save the world.
Does God ask of us those same kinds of sacrifices, these deaths that hopefully lead to someone to Christ? Yes. I am going through one at the moment. It seems my memoir must go silent for a while. Is it worth it for the salvation of even one soul? God seems to think so.
Joseph was able to look back on his life. He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20) That isn’t an easy perspective, but it is the only one that brings life.