I was sitting at a friend’s lake one morning watching the sun rise. There’s just something about being alone with God in nature, isn’t there? The Holy Spirit had been making me keenly aware that something was off in my life, but I didn’t know what. I’d been very much overwhelmed by all the things that make up my earthly life and I felt weak. I felt tired. I felt hopeless. And as only Anne of Green Gables can describe it, I felt I was truly in the ‘depths of despair.’ (Thank you, Anne, for that word picture.)
“God, I need You!” I cried. “Please, Lord, whatever is off, You’ve got to show me because I can’t keep going on like this. Please, Lord, I just want to hear from You!”
Well, God showed up and He spoke to my heart that morning. And do you know what He spoke to me about? My sin – my unrepentant sin – the sin of complaining against a Holy, Perfect, Righteous God, who does all things well. (Exodus 16:8)
This is big. Complaining is a big deal. Just ask the Israelites. (Numbers 14:29) And it’s not like I was really subtle about it either. How did I miss this? I guess the truth is I dismissed it. It sort of just became a way of life that settled in unnoticed. (Actually, I did see it, I just didn’t see it for the serious sin that it was.)
I thought I’d accepted my (less than desirable) life circumstances. The problem is I had only accepted part of my life’s circumstances, not the whole package. I hadn’t yielded to God every new (and unimproved) circumstance of my life. I hadn’t given each thing to him and acknowledged that He was Lord over each and every part, down to the last detail.
In focusing on the hard and “unfair” physical circumstances of my life, I lowered my gaze from looking to Christ to looking at the overwhelming hardships that surround me every single day. I was focusing on the physical far more than on the spiritual. And let me just say that the physical, apart from the spiritual, is completely undoable.
God has given me a task that He knows full well I can not do in my own strength. And I complain: “I can’t do this!!!” And do you know what God says? He says, “I know. That’s why I gave it to you. And I’m going to keep giving you more and more that you can’t do until you learn to come to Me and depend on Me.” Because He knows my greatest need isn’t for an easier, comfier life. My greatest need is for Himself. Not just for salvation, but for the nitty gritty, messy details of everyday living.
Is it just me or do I really just blog about the exact same things over and over? Well, let me just say I’m preaching to myself in all of this and I am not the fastest learner or the sharpest crayon in the box. And the preaching of the Word and the living it out are two very different things, aren’t they? Oh, it looks so good on paper. It’s easy to talk to others about. But man, it’s not so easy to live it out day by day, moment by moment. Why? Because I live life in the flesh when I should be living it in the Spirit. I don’t want to accept that this is my life because it’s not the life I wanted. I don’t want to lay it all down because I want to do it myself. Or at least I feel as though I ought to.
But not today. I wrote down every single thing I could think of that I don’t like about my life. I wrote down every complaint I could think of and I accepted the fact that each one of those things were filtered through His loving hands first before they ever reached me. And in doing so, I accepted His grace for every last one of those circumstances.
Take a look in the mirror, friends. What do you see? Do you see a woman who is yielding, abiding, and resting in Jesus, free from earthly troubles and concerns because she’s left them at the foot of the cross? Or do you see a woman who is worn out, weary, stressed, and overwhelmed because she just won’t lay it all down in exchange for the grace she so desperately needs?
Sisters, God doesn’t call us to get our acts together. He calls us to lay our lives down – every last part – and cling to Jesus. Whatever is causing you worry or stress or fear today, I encourage you to write it down – each and every thing. Then, give it to Jesus and as you release each thing to Him, tell yourself the truth that God has grace for you in every one of those things. Lots and lots of grace. He’s just waiting on you to receive it. The question is will you lay your sin down so you can receive His grace?
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NASB
Whatever it is, large or small, I assure you, there’s grace for that…and for that…and that…and that…because God’s overwhelming, abundant grace never runs dry. And believe it or not, our absolute greatest need in this life is for Him. Let’s not forget that.