Love the Story, Not Always the Process

  

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I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us,~Phillipians 3:14. 

There are so many stories of miracles in the Bible. They all started with a problem. Abraham and Sarah had no children. Hannah desired a son. The Isrealites needed a way out of Egypt. The woman with the issue of blood, who suffered for over a decade, needed healing. Jesus died for our sins and was then resurrected because the world needed a Savior….

Everyone loves a great story of miracles and overcoming. Yet many forget the process. Not every miracle or promise is instant. The Messiah was prophesied of many, many years before He set foot in the synagogue to proclaim Isaiah 61. Abraham waited 15 years for Issac. Though people mock Sarah for laughing, I might have laughed too. After her youth is gone, her body is tired, she’s watched other women nurse and love their babies…Let’s be honest, that’s a long time to wait and watch others get what you’re begging God for. 

We love the story of those who overcome or have a radical encounter with God. We don’t always love the process of walking in their shoes or walking out our own journey of facing problems or challenges with God. 

Maybe you’re waiting on a miracle or promise; praying for a miracle, desiring a miracle and every day the hope in you seems to die a little. You watch others celebrate their healing, their financial breakthrough, their promotion, their engagement or wedding, the birth of their children…and you face the harsh resounding discouragement in your heart that tells you that your dream may not come true. 

Maybe during the process you have given up. Buried that dream. Let it die in your heart. Maybe you’ve grieved silently because you can’t take another person throwing scripture at your grief and pain. So, you cry in silence. You scream silent screams that only you and God can hear. You shed tears only God can see and you dust yourself off and keep running your race. 

If that’s you, I can so relate. When the Lord spoke to me many years ago that my life would be filled with miracles, I wish He’d have also said, “This means lots of problems and challenges, persecution, some betrayals, your heart will be broken many times, estimating over a half dozen near death experiences, you’ll lose friends, your health will be attacked, during sickness you’re going to lose your hair, you’ll be mocked and cussed out in public places, and in many cases there won’t be a single soul willing to help you.” If He had, well I might have had a different reaction. However, clueless, I said, “Yes sign me up for a life of miracles.” God delivered me through every single situation and provided so many miracles. There was still heartache and suffering in the process. 

Please don’t think God delights in suffering or sickness. I am not stating He caused all kinds of problems. He didn’t prevent every problem. Some things He delivered me from and others He delivered me through. He doesn’t prevent all suffering or sickness. I still know Him as Healer. God heals, restores, and works miracles. I also have seen people who lived upright Iives before God and have suffered greatly; loss, sickness, heartache, pain. We can’t ignore there’s trouble this side of heaven. 

Easy or deep…

I wouldn’t trade God for an easy life. Yet there are days I wish for less situations that required a miracle. There are days my flesh is tired even when my spirit is not. Some would say in those moments, “Trust God. God is good. He will work this for good.” He is good. He truly is. Yet even Jesus had His Gethsemane moment where He asked the Father, “Please take this cup from Me, nevertheless, not My will…Your will be done.” 

Jesus suffered greatly for humanity. While we love the story, I can’t name one person willing to go through the same process for sinful humanity. So we love the story…not always the process. 

Without the process, going through the trials, challenges, and hard things with God, there’s no great story. There’s also no great character and intimacy with God built either. I’m not stating sickness builds character or intimacy, trials and challenges do if we let them. 

Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” 

I’d love to tell you to hang on, to keep declaring the word, to never lose hope. Yet I won’t if you’re grieving today. I will tell you to climb up into the arms of God, and let Him love you. As someone who’s laid many dreams to rest, had my heart broken many times, and been to the Garden of Gethsemane more times than I’d like…I think my name is etched in a rock there (Erin was here! Erin was here again!!!)…more than anything in those moments I wanted to know my Father’s love. What I needed was love, not a pep talk or inspirational speech. I just needed love. It would’ve also been nice to have someone willing to pray and stand in the gap. You don’t have to be strong, let God be strong for you! 

There’s a time to contend and a time to rest in God’s sweet embrace. 

So, if that’s you, I’m praying for you! I can’t promise you immediate relief. I can say God is the Comforter. If you’re not delivered from, there’s deliverance through. May His love overwhelm you. May your love story with God inspire others and generations to come! May you be flooded with love and comfort in the process. You are deeply loved. You will always be loved! ♥️💯

Love in Christ, 

Erin 

What’s it Gonna Cost (Following Jesus)

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The Bible says a wise person counts the cost (Luke 14:28-32). What does it cost to follow Jesus? It will cost you everything. God wants your heart, your time, your talents, your mind, your relationships, your pure devotion. It’s not about beating ourselves into submission to His will. It’s about falling in love with the One who loved us first and allowing that love to catapult us into reckless abandon.

All of this life, for the believer, centers around God.

Walking with Jesus might cost you relationships or friendships. The Bible is very clear about not being unequally yoked (spiritually incompatible in marriage) or hanging with people who are pulling you away from God.

Walking with Jesus might cost you time, energy…to serve those around you. Will we do it even if they don’t appreciate it? Will we do it when it’s inconvenient or painful for us? Will we do it out of love, to put someone else first? Will we do it when no one sees and there’s zero credit given to us? Will we serve those who have hurt, abused, neglected, or betrayed us?

Walking with Jesus will lead you to purity…denying fleshly desires to pursue holiness.

Walking with Jesus will cost you popularity. Not everyone loved Jesus. And if everyone loves what we have to say, we might not be preaching the Gospel. The disciples and Jesus were fiercely persecuted for their faith.

Walking with Jesus will cause you to be misunderstood. There are people who will be offended, hurt, angered, and feel rejected by your love for Jesus.

Walking with Jesus even in Christian community can be lonely. You will often have to rely heavily on the Holy Spirit because He never grows weary or tired. He never sleeps or slumbers. He is the source, everything and everyone else a resource.

Walking with Jesus may cost you your dreams. What if what God has for you is better than what you’ve dreamed up or thought of? What if God’s answer doesn’t match your prayers? God does exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. His will is perfect, even when we don’t understand it.

Walking with Jesus will cost you your pride…to give, forgive, sacrifice, and take the role of a servant.

Walking with Jesus will cost you comfort. He never promised a life without trouble. Life hurts at times. Sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful and disappointing. He did promise to never leave or forsake us. He did promise to work things for good. Even if it doesn’t happen here and now. We will see Him face to face in all His glory. No pain. No sorrow! Just joy!!!!

It’s gonna cost us everything to truly follow Jesus! I can say this with great confidence, He’s worth it ALL! I’ve found no greater love, friend, encourager, or Savior!

I have days where I need to hear Him say, “You and I will be together forever in paradise.” And I long for heaven with an intensity I can’t explain. There have been days, nights, and sometimes weeks of just grieving with God. So I can say with great confidence…no matter what you face or how bad it hurts…GOD is fighting for you, praying for you, and nothing you suffer will be wasted if you place everything in His hands. No matter what you lose, He’s willing to offer you all of Himself. It won’t remove all pain from loss, but it will infuse you with strength to continue on.

Give it all friends! Jesus is the greatest reward and how He loves us so!!!

Love in Christ,

Erin

You are loved. You’re in my heart and prayers.

Does God Delight In Your Suffering?-The Perfect Father

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Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28.

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give, Jesus said to the disciples. Matt 10:8.

As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one, Luke 4:40.

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick, Matt 14:14

Imagine a father who wants to teach his child to love him so he injects his child with diseases, surrounds the child with other kids who beat him up, tells him often how awful he is and needs to get it together,  floods his tree house and destroys what he loves when he doesn’t obey, and then says, “I did that so you could learn to be strong, a better person, and learn to love me.” You’d have that parent arrested. If you are under the train of thought that God enjoys watching you suffer, I hope this post opens your eyes to one of the most beautiful parts of His heart, compassion. Some of us were taught that God delights in our suffering or causes our suffering. If He was an earthy parent, He would have been in prison by now. He’s been blamed for natural disasters (acts of God they call them), putting sickness on people, and causing traumas in their lives. We call it God’s way of teaching us a lesson, refining our character, teaching us to be holy, and to fear Him. Well, if you read all of the Bible there are quite a few passages that contradict that train of thought.

1. Jesus came and healed the sick, delivered the demonized, fed the hungry & poor, raised the dead, brought justice, and told the disciples to do the same things they saw Him doing. If God wanted us to be sick to teach us to be holy, then it wouldn’t make sense that all throughout scripture God is healing people and telling us to heal the sick.

2. God often says, “Come Me and I will carry your burdens (Psalm 68:19) and I will give you rest.” If He was the One giving us burdens to teach us to be more like Him, why would He ask us to give Him our burdens? It doesn’t make sense. You don’t give someone something and then ask for it back.

3. There was no suffering in the garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned. They lived in paradise, in perfect communion with God. God called the condition of the world very good. See Genesis verses below.

God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good, Genesis 1: 29-31.

There is no mention of suffering until Genesis 3 when sin entered the picture. Suffering is the result of sin in the world. There were no natural disasters in the garden. No hurricanes, droughts, or earthquakes.

4.There will be no suffering in heaven. As there will be no sin in heaven.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away, Rev 21:4.

5. If God wanted to destroy the world, why did He send Jesus to save the world? Why would He commission us to share His love with those who don’t know Him? Why would He wish for none to perish, but all to come to know Him?

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him, John 3:17.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9.

I hope some of that background info at least lifted some of the thoughts that God is out to get you or anyone else in the world. Also it’s difficult to receive love from someone we believe wants to hurt us. Sin hurts us. Living in a sinful world hurts us. Living apart from God hurts us. Making poor choices hurts us. I believe that the reason we are told to delight in suffering in the Bible is because God has a solution for the problem (sin). He will also reward those who endure hardships for the gospel and His children for living committed to Him in this broken world. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, Matt 5:4. God will use what was intended for evil to bless us, and He gives great rewards.

I also believe because of Adam and Eve’s sin and we are born not loving God, many people come to know Him in times of tragedy. Not that God causes those tragedies, but I’ve seen in my own life that He’s taken the opportunity to step in and say, “You are hurting, let Me help you. I love you. I will comfort you. I will be your friend. I will heal you.

We can easily blame God for the bad things the happen and miss the fact that evil exists because of the devil and sin. The devil hides behind the scenes telling people, “God did this. Why didn’t God stop this from happening to you? If God really loved you this never would have happened.” or “God is trying to make you holy through this cancer, loss, tragedy.” All those things lead us to believe that God is cruel, unkind, and unloving. It doesn’t draw us to God’s heart, it often pushes us away.

Jesus suffered for us, for our sins. And if we suffer for following Him, He promises a great reward. I believe it’s one of the reasons why Apostle Paul wanted to fellowship in suffering with Christ. When someone has suffered for you, you are more than willing to partake in their suffering. There is a blessing God places on people who suffer for His name. However, if you are sick in your body, your mind, your spirit, your finances, you’ve lost a child, parent, relationship, fill in the blank, God wants you to know that He does not delight in your suffering. It brings no glory to God to see us in pain or without. There’s a difference between suffering because you’re preaching the gospel, and suffering because of someone else’s sin or the results of sin in this world. If that were so (God delighted in your pain), He would not have sent Jesus to heal, deliver, restore, or the Holy Spirit to comfort. God bless you friends. Whatever your pain, God sees. God knows. God cares. You are deeply loved.

Love,

Erin