Some days I don’t feel like getting up out of bed and rejoicing before the Lord. Instead, I feel like crawling back into bed, hiding in the darkness, and sulking about how things haven’t gone my way. Instead of doing my morning devotions, I feel like sitting and stewing about all things negative, stubbornly reflecting upon all of my hardships. Perhaps I feel abandoned by God, or maybe I am upset about another hard lesson learned through my disobedience and his discipline. In any case, I have found it is easy to get caught up in the self-pity of my own unfulfilled plans, instead of believing with confidence “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In the past, pulling myself up from such a place of sadness or disappointment was quite challenging. However, God, in his great faithfulness, has proven to me over the past several years that no matter what I am feeling or experiencing, I can rise up confidently in the truth of his great promise to me in Romans 8:28. I can find strength and peace in knowing that his plans are the right ones, and they will be the best for me. Most importantly, I know they will lead to the glory of his name and the advancement of his kingdom on this earth. I have realized that any discouragement I may feel about my own perceived failures is not from the Lord; it does not change my value in his eyes, for his love for his children is steadfast and true.
Realizing and embracing God’s unconditional love for me has been perhaps the greatest awakening I have ever experienced. Knowing that there is nothing I can do to lose his love has set me in a place of such safety, a place where I am free to serve him unashamedly with my whole heart. As I started to erase the distorted picture I had of God frowning down upon me from heaven, my heart began to embrace the fact that God loves me and is working for my good. I cannot always see his plans or understand what he is doing, but he has allowed me to catch glimpses of his awesome sovereignty as he works out his plans in the lives of those he loves. And this makes me love him even more.
So when I wake up on those mornings when I would rather hide away under the covers, I choose to get up anyway. When I have complaints instead of thankfulness in my heart, I make a determined effort to recite all of the blessings in my life to the Lord. And although I can’t sing out in joyful praise, I still turn on my praise music and speak the lyrics to my own heart. Inevitably, God is faithful to bring forth the peace that I thought had eluded me and restore to me the joy of my salvation, for there is always praise to be found there! More than anything, I have learned that I can trust the Lord. Even when I can only see darkness, I know he is waiting to break forth in glorious light to show his goodness and faithfulness in my life.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever. Psalm 52:8
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 57:10