I love it when God speaks to my heart. Sometimes I get it when he whispers, but really, there is often so much noise in my life I hardly know if I am thinking, hearing, or just being overwhelmed by something NOT from him.
So last week, I wake up at 4am – I choose to pick up tons of guilt to pile on my already tired shoulders. Yuck. I shoot out a prayer request to places far away and get a reply from a different time zone. Then a call. She has words of encouragement. She tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Confirms what I already suspect but cannot do, yet.
But, still I wonder, is this God telling me to do “this” or is it my guilt, my will, or me?
So I ask for wisdom. I ask for patience.
She tells me I need to leave this to God to work out. I am not sure I ever like that answer. Do any of us? What if God’s timing is … off? What if it does not line up with my plans – ughh!
So, then at church this morning, God knows I have not gotten it. But He is, ever so patient with me (am I this patient with my son?). He sends many messages in Sunday School – things come out of Keith’s mouth (our teacher) that have been in my head. And the light starts to flicker on, but not all the way yet.
Then, another man in our class shares, at the end, because you know God has still not gotten it through my head, and he makes one more effort – this man says that we are supposed to live knowing we will get hurt. Knowing we will be offended. What?! Huh?! You mean, I am supposed to enter into something where I am willing to allow myself to get hurt? Surely, no.
But, finally, after 3 or maybe 4 days of wandering in the dark, the light comes on.
Get this…. we are supposed to know that people will hurt us, but we have to keep doing what we know to be right, we keep loving them, we keep trying, we keep opening ourselves to them. Allowing them to hurt us.
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death or to obedience which leads to righteousness.
I have been wrestling with this very thing. I have been running from those who hurt me – over and over. But he wants me to run to them. Not to look for the pain – but to love them despite it. He wants me to rise about the pain, the words, the tone, the attitude and look to Christ to fill me. He wants me to allow them to hurt me, so they can see HIM in me.
If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Does the angst go away? No. The tension is still here, but it is waning – I can feel it. Once you know – once you have the vision of what it looks like, it gets a bit easier to step along – or does it? I know it does, it is just hard knowing you are going to willingly approach a situation that can cause emotional harm.
Paul tells us
Therefore I will boast in all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
Okay, I run from situations I know will result in insult, in hardship, in persecutions, but Paul delights in those. Wow. How I long to be the one who willingly offers myself to Jesus by running into those situations – I want to offer my heart to Jesus through my obedience to be willing to be hurt if it means I can offer the truth of Christ to those who hurt me.
Set your mind on things above, not on Earthly things. Colossians 3:2
I am not there.
But one day, with His grace, with His strength – I might get there.