27 4 / 2013
This is the talk that I gave at CRU on Thursday, April 25th. I also recommend reading, “Faith is not a Feeling” by Ney Bailey. I just want everyone to understand how good God is, enough amidst hard seasons.
Tonight we have seen a glimpse of what the Lord has done from 12 different perspectives and now I want to share what the Lord has done within the whole year from my own perspective…
To give you a little background on what’s happened in my life the last 10 months here are just a few things that have truly tested my faith: In September I was diagnosed with gastroperesis (which is a stomach condition where your stomach cannot empty itself properly, which causes your food to stay there for hours at a time), in December I was denied joining full-time staff with CRU, and in March my driver’s license was suspended from a car accident in January. I thought getting a job would be the solution to all of these problems.
So I continued to apply for job after job without getting a single response back.
From November until March, I thought… “Okay Lord, this is the end. You will provide a job and it will all be better!” I thought having a job was the answer to my problems but the Lord quickly made me realize that a job was not going to rectify any of the problems that I had…it was God Himself that was the answer.
My journal for the last 8 months has been me crying out to the Lord. Praying for relief, praying for direction, praying for healing, praying for answers, praying for things that the Lord just wasn’t giving me. I took lots of steps of faith: I pursued my photography business in faith, I applied for full-time staff in faith, I even drove my car in faith believing God would protect me from an accident.
But the reality was all of these things happening wasn’t just for me to just give up control. That was part of it, but there is one thing that I fully believe God wanted from me…and that was ME.
He wanted my hopes, my dreams, my money, my health, my heart, my love, my devotion, my reputation. He wanted not just a part of me, but ALL of me. So the Lord chose to tear some of the most precious things from me to bring me to the end of my rope.
Tonight is a celebration. A recognition of who God is and what He has done.
Guys, I can honestly say that I am not the woman that I was before all of this. I am changed, not because of anything that I have done but simply because of what Jesus has done in my life. God loved me so much that He allowed these things to happen to me.
My point in telling you this, is that jobs, health, finances, relationships are not the end. Jesus is the end. Knowing Christ fully is the goal. We are all over the place but Christ is constant.
So often I let my mood, my emotions, my circumstances define how I feel about the Lord. For so long I have let my “heart” and how I feel determine my relationship with the Lord. I let relationships define my attitude toward the Lord. I let hard things define how God feels about me.
I do this, we all do this but it’s wrong.
Guys, God’s affection for us doesn’t change, so why should ours for Him? Hebrews says Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever.
But again, the point of all of this was not to show me how much of a sinner I am, which it did show me, once again, but it’s bigger than that. He wanted to show me that He is good, He is trust-worthy, He is faithful, He is patient, He is kind, and He loves me. He cares about the deepest parts of me. God fought for me. He was patient and waited for me to give up control.
Guys, I tried to get out of my circumstances. But eventually I realized, I couldn’t try anymore. It got to the point where I had no money and I had no idea where food was going to come from. You will have trials, you will have pain, it’s a guarantee when you are a Christian, but God also guarantees that He will complete the good work that he starts in you and he will see it to completion. (Philippians 1:6) He will not leave you in your circumstances…maybe for a period of time, but not forever.
Paul says in Philippians 3:8: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
That’s how I feel. As much as everything sucked, I am SO thankful for this season of life. I know I will have many others, but I know God will continue to be faithful even when I am faithless.
I would love to stand up here and tell you that the Lord gave me this great job and I love it and waiting for Him was totally worth it! Well, guys, I STILL DON’T HAVE A JOB. But I know He will provide. Why? Because of His faithfulness.
But now, I want to exhort you all. We are all leaving. Some of us are leaving for the summer, some are graduating, and some of us are moving on from Ball State. I want to remind you that wherever you go, God is still the same yesterday and today. He is never changing.
Life is not easy. Life will be really hard but God has never left you. No matter what your feelings, your circumstances, or even what others have told you, God is worth your time and your life. Christ is the solution. Christ is not a means to an end. Christ is the end. Your relationship with Him will not be perfect. The reality is you are a sinner in need of a perfect Savior and until you see Him face to face, things will not be amazing all the time, but remember the words of Paul to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
The war has already been won but we will continue to battle daily against our flesh.
Continue to walk by faith and let the Lord guide your steps. There is an adversary waiting for you to fail, but there is a God who loves you and died so you could know Him more fully and more intimately.
I want to encourage you to continue to pursue others, in community and in prayer. You need them. They are not made to take a higher standing in your life than the Lord but they are in your life for a reason. We are part of the body of Christ for a purpose and God used them in huge ways in my life during the last year. I could not have gotten through this season of life without them. They were a gift and God used them to point me to Himself.
I can’t wait to see and hear what God does in your lives in the next few months and the next year.
I want to encourage you with this…
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
16 1 / 2013
Your Sorrow Will Turn into Joy
“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
I Have Overcome the World
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:16-33 ESV)
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