Do you remember as a child willingly, unconditionally loving your parents even when they screwed up? Do you remember trusting them no matter what knowing that they wanted what’s best for you? I realize that some people who read this don’t remember that as their home life was far from this. The only thing they remember was the dysfunction, neglect, and lack of love given freely. But for the majority of us, we knew, despite the circumstances, that we were loved deeply. God loves us deeply as most of our parents do only perfectly. He allows us to explore and learn while trying to guide us the correct way. He let’s us make mistakes and will not ridicule us because of those mistakes. He will let us know the consequences of our actions and do it with an abundance of love.There are people who are blaming jihadists for some recent terror attacks and many times that is the case. There are others who don’t want to speculate even if they have been told who probably did it. I won’t get hard on the 2nd group of people as words are so easily twisted against anyone who is disliked that the disliked person is often disrespected instead of the respect they should be shown.
I will freely admit that I am perfectly imperfect or consistently inconsistent. That would be true of any human on this earth currently. We are all imperfect and all inconsistent in our own ways. Some people may be more noticeably imperfect or inconsistent. There are times I may even be one of those noticeable people. It is OK to be imperfect and inconsistent. The point is not to be either of those well. We are called to be Christ like. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we become a little more perfect and a little more consistent each day. We will not fully understand perfection and consistency until we are called home to be with Jesus.
So why do I write about my imperfection and inconsistency? Easy, people need to know that they are not the only ones out there who are imperfect and inconsistent. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights or any other time we are at church, we tend to put on an everything is just fine face when inside we are falling apart and not even sure if we will be able to get out of bed the next morning. I have my struggles in life. The devil knows where to hit me below the belt and the perfect time to do it. If I give into that temptation, then I am not being Christ like at that moment. I am showing my imperfect, inconsistent side even if no one except me see it as God will always see it. He will gently correct and remind with such a large dose of love that we may not realize what is happening to try to get us on the correct path. God does not pressure us to follow Him. He does not beg nor plead. He invites us and lets us decide. He reminds us of that invitation periodically, keeping the door of communication open if we ever want to talk, but He never pesters us with that invitation.
As I fight the devil, I need to remember that Jesus is right there with me in the fight. He as already won the battle and I need to let Him be in control as I am not the right leader for my life. How should I be ingraining that truth in my life? I need to remember to read the Bible daily and pray. Both help immensely with the reminder as I immerse myself in them. By immersing myself in the practice of Bible reading and prayer, I immerse myself with God. He uses the Bible and prayer time to commune with us so that we can get to know Him. As we get to know Him, we learn about Him and how consistent and perfect He is. We begin to realize that He can be trusted and that He has our best in mind as He cares for us.
Some day I will learn this. Some day I may even be consistent with the Bible reading and prayer. Until that time, I will do my best and be very thankful for a loving, gracious, merciful, and very patient God.
The last 2.5 months have seen me going through some personal struggles and some self-realization about those struggles. The battle has mostly been silent and internal. The battle shows up in how I feel and how I look (at least with my facial expressions). It affects what I get done day-to-day. Through this latest struggle, I have come to be reminded of God’s unending, unrelenting love for me and that He knows all of the struggles that I have gone through my entire life.
There have been times of depression and times of tears that were so healing. Oh were the tears healing. Finding the index card a friend wrote that said “Don’t forget, I LOVE YOU – God”, ball my eyes out. Hearing “He Knows” by Jeremy Camp, eyes water the first time, flood the third time. Listening to a church service on “Keys to Experiencing God” and losing it half way through the music. (There are approximately four more parts to go in that sermon series before I start the next one so we’ll see what God does there.)
I want more of God yet struggle to actually live that way. Since August when I found the index card, I have had Jeremiah 29:13 in my head. Today as I was listening to the introductory sermon on experiencing God, the pastor mentioned Jeremiah 29:11-13. That was not a coincidence. I continue to struggle and am fighting the spiritual warfare of this week and especially today. I am determined to not have the depression kick in that happens during these struggles.
There is always hope with Jesus and I know I can trust Him despite my struggles to the contrary. I know I am loved by a God who will never give up and always provides everything I need plus the occasional want. I will continue to pray and remember that “He knows every hurt & every sting”* because He has been there.
*from “He Knows” by Jeremy Camp & Seth Moseley ©2014