I used to think that power comes from self-confidence, of knowing my mind and fulfilling my dreams. But if I fall into the hands of a manipulative person, they can change my reality. And sometimes it takes years to come to my senses. Then grief overwhelms – How could I have been so deceived? Anger – This was wrong! Shame – Why didn’t I see it before? Guilt – I let my life get ruined.
But I forget where my true power lies – not in capability, cleverness, or even my goodness. It comes from God, who says, “At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honour in every land where they have suffered shame” (Zephaniah 1:19)
God puts us back on the road so we can relearn to walk. He enables us to lift up our heads without shame and live.
Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash
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.
Never? Yes! “The one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16) God is quoted again in the Bible, but it is slightly altered. “The one who trusts in the Lord will never be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6) Shame shows our sense of moral inadequacy, of feeling that we have royally failed. Dismay shows our sense of emotional inadequacy, of feeling overwhelmed by things happening outside our control. We might have messed up, or life might have messed us up, yet when we trust in God, when we know that He is in control, not us… His indisputable NEVER takes hold.
In the midst of being forced to work for my father I felted utterly dismayed. I couldn’t change it. I also felt shame at not having the strength to fight him. God never judged me for my seeming failures. NEVER. He held my hand and led me out.