Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land (Psalm 85 6-9 ESV)
Difficult times come. And I have a choice. Will I allow myself to continue my path, back bent, fighting the storm- blinded by the rain-slant of it all? Or will I let myself be pressed? Molded and shaped? When it is hard and I am helpless, I am pushed to my face before the Lord – the place where I make all things right before Him. Repentance, rest, and trust. Usually, my desperate fall to face-down (and it is only desperate- because I make it so-) doesn’t actually involve changing circumstances either through my decisions or supernatural interventions. Instead, it often is about me in my helplessness recognizing God in His power and letting the press prune, shape, and stretch me.
Certain frustrations bring me to the absolute end of myself and that end compels my fall before Him. When I find myself unable to change my own heart, my own emotions, my thoughts, my circumstances, or the relationship(s) with someone else, I have come to recognize that the Lord is seeking my heart. I need the reminder not to turn back to my folly(v 8). Again, again.
And it hurts. In all things, it hurts. It hurts to suffer and struggle and it hurts to deny myself and surrender. But once I have made it to the surrender and offered everything up to Him, I am filled with rest and supernatural strength. My soul is open to the pour of grace available to all who call on Him. And I am renewed in sensitivity to His Spirit. How I need this!
How will I respond to the difficulties I face? Will I allow my frustrations to color the perception of my days and the ones I love? Will I allow the difficulties to press me close to Christ? Will I let this tool of sanctification shape me, bring cleansing, and mold me?
4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2: 4-10 ESV emphasis mine)
I open my heart, mind, and spirit to the cleansing, transforming truth in Ephesians. Mercy, Great Love, Life, Grace, Faith, Gift, Workmanship, Good Works.
Restore my eyes of faith to recognize I am Your workmanship, O God. Help me to rest in Your great love and saving grace and receive that love and grace through a heart cleansed by Christ.
You are the answer to death in my life: death in transgressions, death in relationships, death in the decaying of this world, and the futility of all of life without You. You restore and revive. You make alive!!! Praise be.
From the archives. Originally published October 2, 2017.