God, the great encourager…

In my post, I hate this kind of postI prayed for God to “cast unto me His vision”.  I had been absent from His word, merely coasting through trials and barely keeping my head above water.  I’d love to tell you that after that post, I picked myself up by my bootstraps and started every morning in the Word and spent an hour each evening on my knees in prayer.  It wasn’t so.

Yet, at my worst, He still shows up.  He still listens to my two-sentence prayer.  He still comes through.

 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

I’ve been mulling over all that isn’t right in the world.  Whether it’s been the amount of time with my husband, the inability of my children to keep their rooms clean, or my new publisher disliking my word choice, I’ve allowed all of it to define my reality.  I’ve done exactly what I tell my children not to do:  focus on all that’s wrong instead of all that’s right.

Hello, self…remember that time you spent the entirety of one whole retreat session speaking on thankfulness?  Remember how much you actually believe that focusing on all that is wrong is giving power to the devil?  Remember telling a room full of women that God has the ability to bloom full gardens of goodness out of our mess?

Obviously not.

Yet, when I forget all these truths He has taught me.  He gently reminds me.  He is merciful and compassionate.

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).

This weekend He sat me on the other side of the podium, my bum glued to the chair.  He restrained my squirming body and gave me the opportunity to listen to His truth once again.  He gently reminded.

Today it’s raining in Houston.  As I listen to the droplets gently sprinkle the window panes I meditate on His gentleness.  He is so kind.  When my children forget my commandments, I yell at them…loudly.  I have little to no patience.  I rarely show mercy or grace.  But, the Father…He is so gentle and gracious with me.

I was reminded this weekend that God is doing good.  He takes our filth and sows seed within it.  His Word and His loving kindness take root…even in the dirtiest of circumstances.  He recalled to mind just how able He is to redeem, renew, and regenerate that which seems so lost.

He reignited His vision for my life and allowed me to see a glimpse.  Graciously, through the words of others, speaking to me both directly and indirectly, He restored my hope…my hope in His ability to satisfy all my needs.  He refreshed my desire to believe His promises and to surrender all my doubts and disappointments to Him.  He spent time developing trust within our relationship.  He’s the God of the universe…He has every entitlement to forcefully command my trust, but yet He woos me into a relationship built on it.

God, the great encourager in the midst of my discouragement, weaves His words of light into the crevices of my darkened outlook.  His Spirit recalls to mind the seed that’s been planted, springing into life invigorated courage, hope, and…breath.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26).

All of a sudden, that which seemed hopeless and barren, yet once again, is now springing with life.  My mud-filled, weed-infested soil now overflows with sustainable food sources.  The trees are bearing fruit and I hear His gentle whispers of truth slowly build into loud singing over me.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

He declares again (not because it is a new truth, but because I have forgotten) that we are called, “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).

He recalibrates my view of circumstances.  He redefines my perceptions of reality.  He nourishes His word in me and tends to me like a vineyard vine, grafting me, resetting my eyes and my will to Him, that he may be glorified.

What an encourager!  What a God!  That He would know me and call me by name and give the slightest, smallest thought to me!

Will I settle into His promises before I sink my head into my pillow tonight?  Will I wake in the morning craving to drink from His Word more than sip from my coffee mug?  I make no guarantees. But this I know: His kindness leads me to repentance (Romans 2:4) and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).  For now, my plan is to steer my heart in those truths, focusing on Him and His faithful encouragement.

Friend, I pray He leads you to do the same.

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