I love country driving.
Tonight was the perfect night for some. The sky was sending small, gentle drops. The last light of day was loitering about. I was in unknown country. I wanted to explore.
The part of town I am familiar with, is the prison and its surrounding block. It is a marvelous sight, but the life behind the marvel is daunting. I wanted to discover the country outside of those walls. I began to drive, turning up one back road I once was acquainted with. (I had slept in its corners one night in my car.)
I turned up the music and opened the sunroof. The trees along this country were thick and green. Farm fields were freshly laid with manure, the rows of beauty overpowering the smell. The farmhouses were picturesque. I was lost in the awe of it all. Gorgeous.
Before I knew it, I was deeper and deeper in the country. I loved it, but I wanted to be able to make it back. Cell service was sketchy. I began to fear, but for a moment. I was calmed with these words, “Don’t worry, I’ll get you where you need to go.” I said, “AMEN!”
I kept driving, relaxing in the beauty. My soul resting. Before I knew it, I was where I needed to be.
That drive, with all the favor of beauty, was a blessed reminder…I can be in foreign country and not fear. I can rest, trusting in Him to get me where I need to be. I am on the safe road. I don’t have to know where I’m going. I might have a dirt road or two. But, I don’t have to worry…I’m going where I need to be.
For thus says the LORD GOD:
“Indeed I Myself will search for my sheep and seek them out.”
Are you buried beneath the pile of rubble called shame? Are you hiding in the closet of fear? Are you drowning in the river of worthlessness? Maybe you’ve made a home in the pit of despair? Perhaps you’ve been raked over with leaves of ingratitude? It’s no matter, God is looking for you, seeking you, calling your precious name. He will bloody and blister his hands removing the rubble. He will blow down the closet door. He will swiftly carry you out of the raging waters. He’ll dig you out of the pit with His bare hands. He will surely pull you out! He’s already done more than that. He’s sent His Son to be executed on a cross, so that YOU could be set free, and His Son freely went to do so. Why? Because you are loved. Believe me when I say, He won’t stop searching until you’re found!
Father, I know firsthand your word is truth. You hunted me down like an avid hunter, shooting me with arrows of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. You carried me through the valleys, and led me to the top of the mountain where you tenderly cared for my wounds. How thankful I am! You are so good. I will never hide myself from you, I will instead awake every morning calling out Your name, and seeking You. I have no desire to take a single breath apart from you. I love and trust You. Thank you for this life. Amen.
I am astounded this morning, and every, at God’s goodness and awesome love. Dating back to my renewed walk with God, the first passage impressed upon my heart was Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” I would quickly learn how crucial this passage would be for my walk. I’ve endured many personal battles I couldn’t have alone. At least not with sanity, joy, and gratitude abounding.
But, that is not my encouragement today. My encouragement is to recognize the will of God to partnership with us, in all things, while both strengthening and softening us!
I know how strengthening myself made me hard, mean, defensive, unapproachable, and irreproachable. I strengthened myself by building impenetrable walls, suppressing and ignoring emotion (except anger and bitterness, of course). That self strength led to a very hard heart and a need to avoid all things good. Praise God that His ways are different. He strengthens us with the capabilities to do all things, to endure and persevere all things, all the while softening our hearts. He strengthens us by tearing down walls. He strengthens us by holding our hand and walking us through our battles. It is only HE that can both strengthen AND soften! How truly amazing is He who loves us so greatly. He is an awesome God!!
If you don’t want to serve the Lord, you must choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. Joshua 24:15
I have served man and been used, and wounded. I have served money and been indebted, and needy. I have served alcohol, and drugs, and attempted suicide. I have served self and been clinically depressed, to the point of recommended institutionalization.
I have served the Lord and been used as a blessing. I have served the Lord and been healed, restored, redeemed. I have served the Lord and prospered, receiving restoration in my credit, daily bread, and fulfillment of hearts desires. I have served the Lord and achieved passion, peace, love, and joy. I have served the Lord and maintained a renewed mind and steadfast spirit. I have served the Lord and witnessed, and received, grace, forgiveness, miracles.
I have served the Lord and faced tribulation, I have done so in peace, perseverance, patience and faith! I have served the Lord and been VICTORIOUS!
Who, or what, are you serving? I encourage you, challenge you, serve the Lord and experience a life beyond your imagination and capabilities! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…joyfully!!