I wrote yesterday’s post, Words from Broken Places, on Monday morning before I started work. I had this weighing on my mind and heart and had to get it out so I could focus. I wasn’t even planning on posting it as a blog, but I felt pressed to do so. It’s the result of going out of my way to make a friend feel special, and basically getting lied to and stabbed in the back. Begging God to not let this happen the entire time. To not let me lose this friend this way. While that wasn’t the path He chose, He has been more than faithful to point my eyes toward Him in this. This may be a bit disjointed, but I want to show you how, and let the Spirit speak as he did to me.
It began Monday night, seeing God’s closeness in all of this. My cousin was giving her testimony at Watermark’s re:generation service. All day I couldn’t decide whether to go to this, which was bound to be heavy and soul stirring, or opt for the lighter atmosphere of the Cheesecake Factory with my home group. I left work, still unsure of where I was going, and found myself at Watermark shortly after.
One of the songs we sang was Never Once by Matt Redman. Reminding me again and again that God has never once left me alone. That he was there, and is here through all of this.
Then the content of my cousin’s testimony compelled me to keep trusting God with this, instead of putting up walls and hardening my heart so I could find temporary comfort in and through sin.
Tuesday morning, I woke up and checked Twitter for probably the first day in two months, and I see this:
"In faithfulness you have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75 So ascribing it to Satan is blasphemy. Father's love is not demonic.
— John Piper (@JohnPiper) July 16, 2013
This message from Piper pressed into my soul that even though this weekend from Hell felt like it ran me over like a truck, that it was God who sent this pain into my life for my good. Because even though Satan would try to use this pain as a baseball bat, the loving and sovereign hands of my Father used it as a surgeon’s scalpel.
Then Tuesday night as I was reading before The Porch at Watermark, I read this:
To lose control of your appetites is to lose sight of the gospel itself, the truth that God knows what you need to survive — the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus. God allows his people to “hunger” so he can feed them with what is better than what they would choose. The Israelites wanted Egyptian onions and leeks; God was training their appetites for bread from heaven.
—Tempted and Tried, pp. 80-81
You see, even though I can honestly say that I don’t see myself as carried away by my appetites concerning my friend, God still knew whether it was best for me to enjoy that friendship as I had hoped, or to have those dreams crushed to serve as a catalyst of pushing me deeper into trusting Him. And to mix metaphors, he loves me too much to let me play with mud pies instead of really enjoying a holiday at the sea — even if that means he has to pick me up and carry me there like a parent would a stubborn child (and ask my mom, I’ve got the stubborn thing down pretty well).
After I finished reading Tempted and Tried, I moved on to 1 Peter to read what is I think the next section we’ll cover in small group.
1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
As much as it may make things easier to harden my heart and not be open to reconciliation or restoration upon repentance, that isn’t what Christ has commanded or called me to do. Yes, trust will have to be re-earned, and it will take a long time if repentance does occur, but the command from Scripture is clear: have a tender heart and be a blessing.
This is counter-cultural, and even many in the church would say this isn’t safe or healthy. I agree that there is wisdom that needs to be in place when being open to and walking this path, but I have always said that we measure the amount of love a person has for another by how much they are willing to sacrifice for them. Christ set the ultimate example by dying for us, and we have been called to live and love like Christ.
Sometimes being living sacrifices means giving up what we want for the sake of the gospel. Sometimes it means feeling like we just died and have to keep living and trusting God through such a painful experience. For the sake of the gospel and the glory of God.