There is much on my heart to say these days – suddenly. (So David, you’ll be happy to see me blogging again! You were sweet to notice my absence). I had an amazing dinner last night with heart friends. It was funny, we all talked about the difficulty of recent years, and yet we all rejoiced with each other at God’s revelation of truth and our subsequent growth through that difficulty. Both of my friends’ families are breaking through walls that have held them in – and we all rejoiced at what the Lord is doing. I loved it.
Last night in the middle of our discussion, as we confessed the HARD things we are facing, I said to my friends, “Isn’t this harder sometimes than you expected? Do you ever feel unprotected?”
There it was – out on the table. The big question. Even as I voiced the thought I was afraid.
In that moment, I was questioning our circumstances. They are often hard to understand. But I was also questioning the Lord. I was, in essence, saying, “I read all of these promises in the Bible that the righteous will inherit the land while the wicked are cast off – yet I look around and that is not what I see. It seems like the wicked are prospering. So what’s the deal with that? Doesn’t God care? Shouldn’t there be some “blessing bubble” we are in that protects us from all of this since at least we are TRYING to live righteous lives?”
It’s funny to write it out – but that was my thought – I was questioning my Father, and my friends knew it. And like the precious women they are, they didn’t judge me – they helped me see.
One friend gracefully responded, “But Jen this was promised to us. Read the Word, things do get worse and worse until He comes. You need to adjust your expectations and expect this. There is mercy available – but we also need to be aware that we are in a battle.”
In that moment, I saw she was right, but I continued, “But I don’t feel attacked from the world most of the time. I feel attacked by the church, by fellow Believers. Isn’t that wrong? Why do we attack each other? Where is all of this fear and lying and division coming from in the church?”
Again she countered, “Look at Revelation. These aren’t just symbolic churches. These are real churches. Seven distinct churches with their doors closed to each other. This division is prophesied.”
And suddenly, I felt the Spirit of the Lord say to my heart, “Sweet girl – the church turned against me too. The Pharisees called for my death. I understand your feelings of frustration. But none of this surprises me. Even this I can use for my glory. I win this war in the end – so focus on me – and count even this as joy.”
Today Justin and I read Psalm 3 and 4 and quickly noted something. David was surrounded, he was being attacked. His life was in danger. He was overwhelmed. His own son was actually attacking him, trying to take his life and his throne. The circumstances in David’s life were terrifying. Those circumstances were real. It was terrible.
And yet he wasn’t focused on all of that. He says, “Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD make me dwell in safety.”
Our circumstances are real and are difficult. And the measure of my “success” in this trial isn’t the prosperity, or the promised land, or even the fulfillment of these promises that I feel are from Him. The important thing is the light of God’s face shining on us. It is the immeasurable joy and assurance that comes even in the midst of the storm because He is near. I have hope today because His nearness is my good, despite all that seems to stand against me.