(Beginning August 1, the content of my blog will be completely different from the Girlfriends in God devotions. So if you are not signed up for my blog at www.localhost/sjold, please do it today…and invite all your friends. We’re going to have more give-a-ways, more personal interaction, and more inspiration than ever before! Now, on to today’s story!)
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,” (Lamentations 3:19-24 NIV).
Are we brave enough to be real and honest with God? We might as well be; He knows our hearts inside and out anyway. A. W. Tozer, in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, wrote:
How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us; or enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.
God knew the real me before I even knew myself. David wrote[tweetherder],[tweetherder] “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD” (Psalm 139:4 NIV). [tweetherder]Knowing what He knew and knows, it is a wonder that He even gives me the time of day. And to think, He gives us the time of our lives![/tweetherder]
Jeremiah was a mighty man of God who was not afraid to be real before His maker. He wrote:
“I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, like those who have long been dead” (Lamentations 3:1-6 NASB).
Jeremiah was mad and he was mad at God. As far as he was concerned, God was the cause of all his problems. He felt trapped and afraid. He continued:
“He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait like a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate…So I say, ‘My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord’” (vv.7-11,18 NASB).
Jeremiah was in a bad situation…mostly because he had a wrong perception of God. God did not make him to walk in darkness, cause his flesh to waste away, or break his bones. God had not encompassed him with bitterness or hardship. But Jeremiah had allowed his perception to be skewed by his circumstances.
Even though what Jeremiah had to say was incorrect and certainly painted a bad picture of God, he was able to be real about what he was feeling. Jeremiah did not feel the need to put on a holy mask before an all-knowing God. And you know what? God didn’t strike him dead for being real and saying what was on his heart.
Before we leave poor Jeremiah, let’s notice what happens at the end of his lament. He begins to remember all the times that God had been faithful.
[tweetherder]Jeremiah cleaned the clutter out of his emotional closet and rediscovered the treasures he had forgotten were there.[/tweetherder]
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindnesses… are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him’” (vv. 21-22 NASB).
His circumstances didn’t change. God didn’t change. But his attitude and perception of God changed and his emotions followed close behind.
We can learn two lessons from Jeremiah in this passage.
Number 1: We don’t need to be afraid to be real with God.
Number 2: When we’re disappointed with our circumstances, we need to remember all the times God has been faithful, and practice praise, gratitude and thanksgiving to get us out of our hissy fit.
Stop right now and offer up a prayer of praise to God for all the wonderful deeds He has performed in your life. The gift of eternal life would be a great place to start.
As an exercise of gratitude, leave a comment and tell me the date (year) you accepted God’s gift of salvation and made Jesus Lord of your life.
Today’s devotion was adapted from my book: Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Life. The Bible says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story,” (Psalm 107:2). There is unspeakable joy that bubbles up when a child of God takes off her mask and is real with the world about all that God has done in her life. As a matter of fact, it is so powerful the devil will do everything he can to stop you from doing so. How I love Revelation 12:11, “They overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Let’s get real and overcome!