Good Good Father
We’re almost a full month into 2016, and I am still overwhelmed with gratitude! Gratefulness abounding, to a God who does not relent. A God who DOES NOT give up on His people. A God who makes beauty from ashes.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom ever family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner beings, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever, and ever, AMEN!”
On December 27TH I sat in church, and heard the pastor say that these verses were his prayer for 2016. I slightly chuckled to myself. “Well pastor that passage was my prayer for 2015, and look where it’s gotten me.” Why such cynicism? Well, that actually WAS my prayer for 2015, and as I sat in the service all I could think about were the ways in which 2015 was, so far, the most difficult and tumultuous year of life for me. What are some of the things I experienced? Well, I wrestled with feelings of inadequacy, I suffered with anxiety, I wrestled with constant confusion, cried constantly, ended my relationship with my boyfriend…twice, found out how past sins can have very present impacts, lack of freedom, lack of peace, and by the end of the year, I looked at myself and I could not stand who I was. I hated the way I processed my emotions and the impact that can have on those around me. I hated the fact that I couldn’t get it all right on my own. I hated the fact that although I prayed and cried and prayed and cried, and worshiped,…I was still so deeply hurting, and confused, and I FELT HOPELESS.
And then, in the beautiful fashion of the most Almighty Redeemer, He spoke. He spoke. Jesus spoke. Pastor Maxwell fleshed out the meaning of the breadth, length, height, and depth of God’s love. And as he went through the points of each one, I began to weep. Tears began to roll down my face as I realized for the first time that year that the Lord had heard my prayer, and had answered it. Albeit He answered it in a way I wouldn’t have chosen on my own accord, but He answered…beautifully.
- The breadth of God’s love- The love of God encompasses everyone. God loves everyone. He hates sin, yes, but He loves His people. He loves people.
- The length of God’s love- His love lasts forever. He loves us forever. His love never runs out on us. He is the epitome of patience and love. There is nothing I could ever do to make God love me more, and there is nothing I could ever do to make Him love me less.
- The depth of God’s love- How low can I go? I can never sink so low that the love of God can’t reach down and get me. The cross of Christ takes the standard of perfection that I could NEVER meet, and covers me in the righteousness of Jesus.
- The height of God’s love- God’s love is uplifting. He takes us higher in Him. Every time I speak down to myself, the Lord speaks His truth.
And so there I was, left with the overwhelmingly beautiful reality that although 2015 left me feeling defeated, helpless, and like a complete failure, God worked through all of it. He loved me when I didn’t love myself. He was patient with me when I had no more patience for my antics. He was my peace and freedom when all my emotions were at war within me. And though the reality of my sin became more apparent to me than ever before, He was not afraid, He was not going to run away, His love is steadfast.
And there it was. The amazing grace of a Perfect Savior, once again.
The last point made during the sermon was about not putting God in a box, and trusting Him to work, and do above and beyond what we can see with our own eyes. Giving him room to work the impossible in our lives. At that time, I was sitting next to Khory and my heart was so anxious because I was waiting for him to give me a decision. I sat there thinking that I had ruined the relationship with the guy I want to marry one day, because of my sin, fears and fluctuating emotions. And in the midst of that heart-wrenching reality I realized that I had to trust God completely. Whether we decided to move forward or not. God was still good, and still sovereign, and still in control.
All that being said, at the end of the night, I went to bed…amazed. Overwhelmingly amazed! The Lord had restored my joy, my heart, my peace, and even my relationship with the guy that I love oh so much! And there I was, a recipient of His power to restore…amazed, undeserving, and amazed.
As I move forward into 2016, my prayer and goal is to rely on the Word of God as truth. Not my emotions. Not my feelings. Not what others say. Not even the lies I sometimes tell myself. But rather, the unfailing, unending, completely perfect Truth of the Word of God!
In John 17:17 Jesus prays “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
May this year be one in which we cling to the Truth of our God, unapologetically, unashamedly, and expectantly. And however He chooses to answer this prayer, may we cling to the cross of Christ, confident that our God is a good good Father!