Good morning, friends.
I just have to share an experience I had this past Thursday. If I ever needed proof that God has a sense of humor, this was it.
I was having a particularly rough morning. My emotions were already getting the best of me in light of the recent sad events in my extended family’s life. I awoke to yet another dreary, rainy morning and my puppy, Joy, did not have a good house-training morning, if you get my drift. My heart was “overwhelmed within me” and I was having the biggest pity party ever.
But then I received a Facebook notification that one of my Nana’s Nook Devotionals had been shared by someone I do not know. When I pulled it up, the devotional was from almost a year ago. As I read through it, I couldn’t help but be struck by the irony of God throwing my own words back at me to encourage my heart just when I needed it. It just was laughable! How like God, though, right? So, I decided to share this devotional with you again, in the event that you are having “one of those days” and need the same encouragement that I needed on that morning last week. Here is the entry that put a smile back on my face that morning. Hope it brings you some smiles as well today
(Nana’s Nook Devotional, March 19, 2018)
“Good morning, my friends.
I have said many times in these devotionals that I try to keep it real. I never want to give the impression that I “have it all together”, because I don’t! And today is a prime example of that.
I came to my quiet time this morning with a troubled heart due to some difficult circumstances that I became aware of yesterday. Hurtful things. Confusing things. Discouraging things. But, in God’s wonderful providence, my husband had spoken on John 12:27-30 yesterday, where Jesus Himself had a troubled heart. He knew what was ahead of Him. The cross. The pain. The suffering He would endure out of obedience to His Father and out of His love for His people.
Steve pointed out that to have a troubled heart is obviously not sin, because Christ was sinless. It’s what we do when we have a troubled heart that determines whether it becomes sin. We have a choice to make at that moment. How will we deal with our troubled hearts? Jesus made His choice. He called out to His Father. He prayed that God would be glorified in His life and in His sufferings. He prayed that God’s name would be magnified.
As I thought about that, I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with some dear, old friends I grew up with in Virginia. The last time I was up there, we had the opportunity to get together to catch up with one another. It was the first time I had seen some of them since Jeremy went home to be with the Lord. We were talking about the fact that sometimes life is just hard, and we don’t always feel God’s presence. We don’t feel like reading His Word or praying. One of them commented that I seemed to have it so together.
I just laughed and said, oh, no, far from it. I have struggled with so many things since losing my son: doubt, despair, sorrow, anxiety. But I have come to realize more and more, our lives are all about the choices we make. We have to move beyond our feelings and not let them control us. We have to choose to live our lives based on facts, not feelings. And those facts are found in God’s Word! So, we choose to pick up the Word, to read it, perhaps even out of habit, until the feelings return. And they will!
God is faithful, even when we are not! He meets us time and time again just at our point of need. He is our good, good Father! Last week at Living Hope, Steve preached on God’s Sovereignty. We were reminded that God is sovereign over all of His creation. He is sovereign over all that we face in this life, even those things that we don’t understand. His paths are beyond tracing out (Romans 11:33), and we must come to Him with humility in our hearts, relinquishing our demand to understand.We must choose to accept His purpose and plan for our lives.
I loved these thoughts from a devotional I read recently: “The sign of true maturity in a life is when joy and sorrow walk hand in hand. Sovereignty is the salvation of regret. What a relief to know that God’s established plans from the beginning of time cannot be interfered with by my mistakes. His holy purposes are not hampered by our failures. He will accomplish and complete His work. The Lord longs to give us a full life with an array of emotions that enhance our faith. He will give us definition. He will guide us toward resolutions, and He provides us the hope of a divine destination. But it’s a process, so don’t be discouraged. Expect life to be joyful and rugged. Let’s be wise enough to lean into what comes our way. If God has allowed it, it comes with purposes we may not understand…yet.” (Patsy Clairmont)
So, today, I must choose what to do with my troubled heart. Will I accept God’s sovereign plan and purpose, in that He allowed these things to come into my life? Or will I make a sinful choice and choose to be bitter and angry, anxious and fearful? I have heard and often used the expression “Let God be God”. But as I really thought about that statement, I realized it is not an accurate statement!
Think about it.
We are finite beings. We are not God. So how can we, in our finiteness, “let” God be God? It really is laughable! As if we had any power over God to let Him be God! God is God and there is no other! He will do whatever pleases Him (Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6). But what we CAN do is let our wills come under submission to His will! Let our actions always reflect that He is God and we trust Him, even in those hard times, those hard circumstances, those hurt feelings and bruised egos. That is a choice we can make and should make every day of our lives.
Choices. What will yours be today?”