Tuesday, December 31, 2013
desperate for His absolute
This past weekend, one of the worship leaders, who also offers marriage counseling at our church, gave a short, hope-filled comment before the congregation that has stuck with me. He said that he frequently sees in troubled marriages couples who fall into the trap of misusing absolute statements toward one another. Specifically, negative statements built with key words such as "always" and "never".
Examples: "You never listen to what I'm saying." or "You always forget about me."
The problem with these statements is that it is inaccurate to make such definitive claims about another human being. For surely... sometimes, each of us is capable of hearing one another and/or accomplishing something. Surely, at some point... she has listened to what he has said. And obviously, if he married her, he has not always forgotten about her. As such, it is a harmful exercise to point judgmental fingers at one another in order to focus on someone's failings (and our feelings about such faults) as absolute, unchangeable truths. Many a marriage has horribly crumbled under such unrealistic pressures rather than work together to seek God first and love one another.
But the good news is this: There is One with whom true absolutes are justified and definitive... Jesus! For Jesus' promises are always eternal. Jesus' Word never fails. Jesus is the same - yesterday, today, and forever!
Yes, God never changes. He never forsakes. He never stops caring, or listening, or protecting us.
And... God will always be with us. He will always do what is best for us. He will always be holy and without sin. He will always, always love us! Hallelujah!
This realization got me thinking about how desperately we cling to some very false statements that drive our thoughts far away from the solid rock of the Savior. How the enemy tries to redirect our hearts and minds from God's consistent, full authority and onto man's corrupt, incomplete, and broken logic. Sure, its easy to assume that the opinions of those around us - perhaps even those more educated or experienced than us - are as good as gold. But is it really "gold" if it contradicts God's absolute promises? Satan would have us believe some very hopeless statements, if so.
Yesterday, Chuck received an email for a possible employment opportunity here in Houston. In truth, as the holidays have started to wrap-up, he has had a few decent leads to follow through on for employment and will follow-up after the New Year concludes and hiring professionals return to their regular office hours. (Thank you, Lord!) However, this particular opportunity did not produce the kind of enthusiastic reaction I would have hoped to see in my husband. In fact, his initial response was a frightening shudder. But after thinking it over, Chuck said to me, "Well, it might not pay as much, and it might not be something I enjoy or even care about doing... but it would be an income." Immediately, I felt as if we were settling. Settling due to desperation. Settling because we are honestly worried about next month's living expenses. Settling because we have been hit hard financially, are emotionally beat up, and feel immensely taken advantage of by those we once thought were for us but later discovered were harmfully against us.
Humbly, I asked my husband, "Honey, are we considering this option merely because we are desperate or because we really think it is what God wants us to do? And if we are solely considering it out of desperation, wouldn't it be better to give all our desperation to Jesus and trust that He will provide the right opportunity in His perfect timing. For He has assured us that He will always take care of us. Jesus knows and longs to give us our heart's desire according to His purpose. Jesus knows every crevasse of this valley we are walking through... Jesus knows and will never forsake or misguide us if we are actively seeking after His purpose!"
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33, NIV)
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalm 9:10)
Satan loves to make each of us feel boxed in and hopeless. He strives to bring us into worry and lowers us deep into his stress-filled pit. He taunts us to believe his lies are the only viable option to cling to. That we are always failures... always worthless... that we will never amount to anything... that we will never have peace or security. But Satan is not absolute or eternal, is he? Nor is he justified. No, he will be destroyed by our Mighty King and Redeemer, Jesus. For there is only One with whom true absolutes are definitive! And His promises are always eternal. His Word never, ever fails. He is the same - yesterday, today, and forever! (Did I mention TODAY? This day! So rejoice, Believers! For our God is always faithful... especially TODAY!)
As I reflect on all this and share it with you, I am truly grateful for that small hope-filled comment offered between worship songs this past Sunday before our regular church service began. I praise the Lord for giving me exactly what was needed to help and encourage my beloved hubby so that we could prayerfully and obediently identify Whom we are placing our complete and total trust. (Lord, help us to remain faithful to seek You first, no matter what our present circumstance!)
Yes, we are desperate. But we are desperate for Jesus and nothing else. For He alone will save us. He alone will restore us. He alone will protect and provide for us in His perfect, holy timing.
Jesus will never leave or forsake us!
Jesus will always, always love us!
Yes, Jesus is our absolute yesterday... TODAY... and graciously forever and ever and ever!
For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)
Blessings this lovely Tuesday and the last day of 2013. Live it seeking Jesus - always first!