So what was God doing while this battle raged? He was speaking to women in my life who had no idea what I was facing. And one by one, in their own battle of obedience, they spoke life and encouragement into me. Tears of joy and thankfulness were what I needed to cover over a heart that was wounded. Healing tears ran down my face because I knew that God was taking care of me. I didn't need to avenge anything. I only needed to be still and know that He is God!
"The righteous cry out, and The Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but The Lord delivers him from them all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken." Psalm 34:17-20
What does grace look like? If God's grace where anything like what you show to people when you 'feel entitled' to your emotions...would anyone want what you have? Are you drawing people towards...or pushing people away from grace? In the words of Beth Moore, "Are you trying to make people earn what you freely received?"
I have great news for you today!! It is not too late to learn how to be a person of grace. And it's not too late to realize that..."God doesn't call you because of your past." -Holly Wagner, 2013 WOF Tour
I had no idea how much I would need that reminder today. I was reviewing my notes from last weekend and that one stuck out like it was blinking in neon lights. "God didn't call you (or I) because of our past. He called us because of His future!" If any of us live in, or throw others into the shadows of past mistakes...we're choosing to live in the dark. When we ask, instead, for forgiveness from our sin, both from God and man, it.is.finished. The burden is lifted and freedom is your future.
How many of you have some things that you've done that you aren't proud of? How many of you let those things keep you from diving (diving as in all in, fully submersed) into ministry? How many of you feel unworthy to pray out loud over someone? Or how many of you are too ashamed to open up and talk about these things that hold you bound at your church's alter? Maybe you fear judgement from people. Maybe it is rejection that keeps you at a distance.
Whatever it is...please know that God intended for you to move past these things. God will not always remove the consequence...but He will use everything for your good. I know I am not going to convince you with just one verse. I've quoted my life verse before because it states it just sooo perfectly. Romans 8:28.
Someone who is stuck in the past, though, isn't looking forward. They aren't seeing the blessings that they are passing by until they are now part of the past. More anger and bitterness will soon follow because of the blessings in their rear view mirror that they missed. Someone will take that blame. Someone will receive their outburst of anger. It must be someone's fault!!!!
I have to say that I am INCREDIBLY thankful that God doesn't choose us or pass us by because of our junk. You can let out a sigh of relief. Go ahead...I just did. =) You must also realize that the same is true for your neighbor. Your co-worker. Your Pastor. Your friends and family. The same sacrifice will set us all free from our past, if we believe and allow it.
God calls us because of His future for us. Ahhhh...that is grace. Grace covers and opens up the floodgates for a world of opportunities. If God left me in the shadow of my mistakes and failures I would have no purpose to write. I would have no reason to sing praises. I would have no voice to encourage. I would be wailing and wallowing in shameful defeat.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
God gets through our clouded mind, distorted view and sometimes thick skull. He speaks with a voice that can cut right through all the junk. His voice is clear. Not muffled. Not distant. It is close and familiar. He says simple words that pack a powerful gut punch. "Let go."
You stop for a moment. Unsure if you heard Him correctly. Let go?! Let go? That can't be right. 'Justice has my name on it. I can't let go...because then who will seek it? God, I need to cling to something and this is all I have right now. All my energy is going into...vengeance?'
Finally the mask has been lifted. Your view is no longer clouded. Clarity has been restored. You now see the enemy before you. he is holding out a beautiful gift box that is addressed to the one you accuse, or the one who wrongfully accused you. It has their name on it. But who is this gift of vengeance from? You read carefully and see that your name is first...but what is it that it says underneath?
destroyer. author of lies. deceiver. darkness. shame. death. Love...satan and the gang.
Your mouth drops open, you step back and gasp. Why does that gift have your name on it!? You would never give a gift like that to anyone would you? Would you? You start to feel sick. How could I? Where can I hide? You turn to run. You turn to flee from this evil and...
God is right there. He was right behind you and He saw what you just saw. What is He holding? A golden box. He hands it to you with a reassuring smile. You trust Him so you open it and see what you hoped you never would. Tears begin to fill your eyes as you realize these nails you see have significance. They are what held Jesus on the cross. They are covered with His blood. You close your eyes in shame. Knowing what your heart could have easily just committed against another.
God lifts your chin. He looks into your tear filled eyes and says..."My child. The price has been paid."
The price for your past. The price for my past...it has been paid. I say we celebrate!!! Turn from any sins of your past and run into the arms of Christ. He was your sacrifice...and He wants to free you from anything that dares hold you bound.
Jesus' grace is sufficient for me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Is it for you?