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When Jesus laughed at me!

Speaking of giants…

A few weeks ago, during worship, the worship leader was leading us in a song about seeing Jesus, something like “Oh, I can see you now…” As I sang, I closed my eyes and then I saw the face of Jesus…Yes! I did! He was smiling at me, with a sparkle and twinkle in His eyes, and then He started laughing at me. I asked, “Why are you laughing at me, Jesus?” He said, “Because I rejoice over you! I find joy in you! You are my daughter. You are accepted! You are loved! And you are still that mighty woman of God.” As He spoke softly to my spirit, I began to shake with quiet sobs. I almost thought I was going to fall to my knees. He continued, “I rejoice over you. You feel insecure, unworthy, and unaccepted, but you are accepted! I love you! Let my joy over you be your strength.” The song continued, but all I could hear was Jesus, His loving, piercing, soft voice reassuring me, validating me, loving me. I tell you, I haven’t cried like that over something God told me in a long time. It was like a healing balm was applied to my soul. All the wounds from rejection. All the times when I feel like I haven’t measured up. All the times I look at myself and just see all my flaws and faults. But that is not how God sees me! He doesn’t look at me and think, “Oh, she just isn’t good enough. She messed up again!” or “Whoa, she’s got herself in a mess now. I told her this would happen!” You know, the kinds of things I (and probably you) would say to our children or a close friend if they messed up. “It serves you right;” “You should have known better,” or “I told you so!” That is not who my God is. He isn’t a God who beats me upside the head every time I mess up or make a mistake. He isn’t a God who tosses me aside if I don’t live up to His expectations all the time. He isn’t a God who shames me or belittles me. He is a God who accepts me, loves me, approves of me, and rejoices over me. Even on the days when I’m struggling to hold things together. Even on the days I royally mess up. Even on the days I wonder if I matter. Even on those days…and we all have them, if we are honest. So, the next time I start hearing those little voices that tell me I’m not good enough; not accepted; not worthy, I hope Jesus will laugh at me again! He rejoices over me with singing and dancing! So, go ahead, Jesus, laugh at me all you want!!!!

Be still

This post will not be like my usual posts. What I am sharing with you tonight is actually a word God recently gave me, and it keeps resounding in my spirit. I know you are in a world of pain. I know you have cried more tears than you ever thought possible, and I know how despondent and desperate you are. When I was going through what you are going through, God was my ever present help in trouble. But, like all of you, I am human, and there were numerous times I got my eyes off of Jesus. Many times when this happened, my soul was so unsettled within me. I could not rest. My mind would race with fretful thoughts that only worked me into more despair. I often felt like God had deserted me. Those are terrible and dark places to be, and I hurt for you.

Several months ago, something happened that got me very distressed and anxious. I just kept going over the incident in my mind, rehearsing it, and as I did, I only became more agitated. I was so uneasy and upset that I emailed a dear Christian lady friend of mine and shared how I was feeling and why. She responded to my email by asking me for more details, which I provided in another email. Once she knew what was going on, she reminded me that God is a God of peace and order. He is not the author of confusion, chaos or disorder, though it may sometimes seem like that. God is a rock. He is solid. He is stable. He does not change. He does not move. He does not waver. God is not scared, intimidated, threatened, or anxious. He is the peace in our chaos. He is the calm in our storms. He is the shelter and refuge when the rain is pouring down and the wind is howling.

As I thought about all my friend told me, I kept hearing this scripture echo in my spirit: “Be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I actually have that verse as my screen saver on my laptop. God reminded me of that as I thought about my friend’s advice. So, the question became, “Why did you point this verse out to me, God? Why is it resounding in my spirit?”

“Because you don’t rest before me; you are not still before me. You busy yourself with the responsibilities and cares of this world, when what you should do is be more like Mary and less like Martha. Taste and see that I am good. Let my word restore and refresh your spirit. Let my life revive you. You have no burden, no need, no desire that I cannot meet. But, you have to be still before me. I AM!”

The New American Standard Bible words it this way: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.”

Being still denotes being relaxed, at ease, at peace, without anxiety, fear, or concern. It means quieting my noisy heart and listening for the voice of God. It means resting in God, knowing that I am in the palms of His hands, nothing can touch me without His knowledge or permission. It means trusting Him even when things seem to be out of control, even when darkness encompasses me. It means leaving matters with God. So, why then, does my soul not rest? Why then is my soul not still before God? Why then is my mind anxious? Perhaps it is because I do not realize all of who God is. I do not realize all of His nature, all of His power. I do not understand the depth of His love and compassion for me. I do not fathom the fullness of His mercy, kindness and goodness. I sometimes fail to see His hand of protection on my life, and I sometimes fail to recognize His blessings on my life. In short, I forget Who God Is. I forget His faithfulness to me.

Instead of casting my eyes up to the heavens, I look at the circumstances surrounding me. I see the problems, the complicated situations, the difficult people. I see the obstacles; I see the harm others are trying to inflict. How easily I forget that God is my strength, my shield, my fortress, my tower, and my hiding place. He hides me in His love; with his love, He covers me. He is a mighty mountain that cannot be shaken; He is a rock that cannot be moved. He is my defender; he is a mighty warrior. At His voice, the earth trembles. When He opens His mouth to speak, only truth comes out. He is an all-consuming fire that burns within my soul. What He orders happens. All of nature is at His command. He is not a God who is double minded or fickle. He has a purpose and plan, and the gates of hell shall not overcome Him. The grave could not hold him. He is the final and ultimate authority.

I can choose to be anxious, to have my soul disquieted within me, or I can choose to rest and be still before God. The apostle Paul reminds us:
Philippians 4:6-8
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

Peace is possible. It is possible if I lift my burdens and my requests up to God. It is possible if I will remember who God is. God’s peace will guard my heart. Guard my heart from what? Guard it from despair, worry, discouragement, anxiety. It will guard my mind. Guard my mind from what? From restless, agitating thoughts. From thoughts that exalt themselves against God. From thoughts that lead me into captivity. From thoughts that rob me of joy. From thoughts that detract me from God’s unique purpose and plan for my life. From thoughts that keep me from being all God desires me to be.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)

Psalm 37:5: “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (NIV)

Psalm 55:22: “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Psalm 56:3-4: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (NASB)

Matthew 6:25-34: “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

So, no matter where you are right now, no matter how chaotic or out of control your life seems, take some time to be still before God and reflect on who He is. Allow Him to comfort you and love on you. Let Him speak peace to your troubled mind. He is there, waiting for you, calling out to you, to come before Him and just be still.