What do you do when things go awry?
Do you anxiously await for them to get back on track? Do you freak out on anyone and everyone that comes across your path? Do you throw a fit? Do you remain calm?
There was a time not too long ago when month after month, that seemed to be the story of my life. Things seemed to be going smoothly, but then bam. Another trial. Then another. Each month, I began it with the mindset of "Okay, God.. What have you got for me this month?" It was me anticipating anything and everything bad that could happen, because at that point, it was playing out that way.
Around the same time, I began seeing Romans 8:28 nearly everywhere I turned. I saw it on t-shirts, in my devotionals, on random articles, I heard it mentioned by other people. It was literally everywhere.
What does this verse say?
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Okay, God. So things are haywire, but they will turn out for the best. I get it. Just help me get through it all. It became the verse I clung to through every high and low and somedays I had to repeat it continuously throughout the day, and that hasn't changed to this day.
The other day, in a conversation I said something along the lines of "Oh, it'll all work out, I'm not worried about it," to which my friend replied.. you always say that.
Absolutely. Because it's what I know is true. Even if I am only half confident when I say it, I'll continue to say it until my trust in it grows and I am back to full confidence in it, because I know with all my heart that He is working through and has a purpose for each and every circumstance.
My devotional was on this verse the other day, and so I wanted to share it with all of you in hopes it would inspire and encourage you:
"There are so many things we do not know. We do not know if the economy will dip or if our team will win. We do not know what our spouse is thinking or how our kids will turn out. We don't even know "what we ought to pray for" (Romans 8:26). But according to Paul, we can be absolutely certain about four things. We know:
1. God works. He is busy behind the scenes, above the fray, within the fury. He hasn't checked out or moved on. He is ceaseless and tireless. He never stops working.
2. God works for the good. Not for our comfort or pleasure or entertainment, but for our ultimate good. Since he is the ultimate good, would we expect anything less?
3. God works for the good of those who love him. Behold the benefit of loving God! Make his story your story, and your story takes on a happy ending. Guaranteed. Being the Author of our salvation, he writes a salvation theme into our biography.
4. God works in all things. God is all-inclusive. He works, not through a few things or through the good things, best things, or easy things. But in "all things" God works.
This we know."
He is working for us, regardless of the situation. He loves each and every one of us and will work it all for our good. Even if it seems crazy and is painful and doesn't make sense right now, He is there with you. It might be confusing, but know and trust that no matter what you're going through, it isn't without reason and He is indeed working it all for your good.
Oops. I'm sorry.
I didn't mean for that to happen.
I didn't mean for it to come out that way.
I didn't mean to hurt you.
I didn't mean to make you feel that way.
I didn't mean to be fearful.
I didn't mean to think those thoughts.
I didn't mean to gossip.
I didn't mean to cause tension.
I didn't mean to....
There are SO many things throughout the day that can bring about an apology.
You do something and without meaning to, you hurt someone's feelings. You mess up. You fail someone. You fail yourself. You disappoint.
It happens. We live in a fallen world. We're all human. We all make mistakes. We mess up on the daily. We're not perfect. We never have been. We never will be.
Over the years, Easter has grown to become one of my favorite holidays. I was sitting outside over the weekend just thinking about it. Thinking of how many times, personally, I mess up on a daily basis- whether by thought, words, or actions.
Guys, it's a lot.
And then I got to thinking.. Jesus KNEW how much I would mess up. He knew how much you'd mess up. He knew it all.
He knew how each of us would fall short. That the roads would be winding and we'd veer off the path at times. He knew that we'd question Him. Doubt Him. Get upset with Him. Do things contrary to what He wants for us because we think we know better.
Yet still.. Jesus was flogged. Crowned with thorns. Carried the cross. Nailed to the cross. Died. Resurrected.
According to Mirriam Webster, the definition of flog is:
1a: to beat with or as if with a rod or whip
b: to criticize harshly
It wasn't a spanking like our parents would spank our bottoms. He was beaten harshly, underwent pain we can't even imagine, and then carried the cross that they would crucify Him on.. so that we could live. So that we, who He knew would be sinful, could live. WHAT?!
He could have saved Himself. He could have, but He didn't. He would have rather died for us than live without us. He would rather bare the weight of our sins on His shoulders so that we could live. It doesn't make sense and we can't wrap our minds around that kind of love, but it's the love that He has for us.
He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. He takes our brokenness, our sinful nature, and makes beauty from the ashes. There is nothing too bad, there is no one too broken, there is nothing that we have done that could ever make Him stop loving us.
No matter where you are, no matter what you've done, no matter what others have done to you, no matter how you feel about yourself, you are a treasure to Him. You are valued. You are enough. You are not too far gone, you are not too messed up. He died for you so that you could live. His love is never ending. His love is fierce. His love is one of a kind and He has that love for you. For me. For all of us. Each and every day. 365 days a year. 24 hours a day.
Easter is a time to celebrate that. And I hope that it isn't just a one-day celebration that ended when you went to sleep last night, that you only remember on the day we celebrate the empty tomb. I hope that you remember his love for you is more than you can imagine each and every day. It wasn't just the day He rose from the dead. The tomb is empty for you day after day.
You were worth dying for. You still are. And nothing will ever change that.