“But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.”- Psalm 71:14
It is a beautiful thing when circumstances and the seen stop mattering. I don’t mean that they do not hurt, or they aren’t hard, or that we can ever be completely unfazed by them. No. The beauty comes from the truth that in spite of the hurt, the hard, and the challenge- We recognize what matters in light of eternity and what does not. What a glorious thing to set down the temporary reality and lean hard into the Eternally Real.
Chapter 24 of On Milk and Honey is all about joy. (It is in fact, titled, The Joy Within). If you gathered anything from reading the book, I hope you caught on to the truth that joy does not come from anything that is man-made or man dependent. Our journey has taught us that only God can supply the joy we desperately need. You see, God is so concerned about our joy that He makes it His responsibility. He tells us time and time again that joy is found solely in Him. It has become my mission in life to spur others on to seeing God in all things. Not only that, my purpose in this season is to show you that He is good in all things, even in suffering.
So, in light of that, in this last week of the On Milk and Honey blog series, let’s talk about you.
God has placed you here for a reason.
Not just on this earth, but in this blog realm.
I have a feeling that you have participated in the reading of this blog or book because you or someone you are close to is walking through the unexpectedly hard.
I have a simple question for you: has this hard become your joy?
Meaning, are you allowing God to use this hurt, this trial, this different, to glorify Himself and show you and others around you that He is good in all things and He can be trusted?
Are you wallowing in the hurt or are you leaning on the cross?
Now, don’t hear me wrong: grieving is a huge part of that. The world needs to see sinners who have found their hope in Christ, not robots who are putting a spiritual bandaid on their tribulations.
Yet, as people are watching you walk through this thing, whatever this thing is, are they being led to the cross and the hope found in Christ or are they merely being led to a person walking through something tough?
Here’s the reality:
This trial is much bigger than you.
In your own strength, you are helpless to find victory in it.
In Jesus, the victory has already been won.
And- if God has allowed it to pass through your life- He wants to use it in a mighty way.
You see, I used to the be the person that would watch the youtube video or read the blog, find encouragement, yet never see my own stuff in it.
And then, the Lord called me to more.
He assured me that He wanted to use each and every detail of our story for His glory and our good.
He strengthened me in the moments that I felt vulnerable and unsure.
He continues to be the Holy Banner of this beautiful journey, and truly, only He could cause me to firmly cry out to the world that it is well with my soul.
So this week, the Personal Challenge is this: think long and hard, pray authentically and ask God to show you how He wants to draw you more deeply into this mission of allowing God to use your specific suffering and challenges to cause the world to see more of Him and His grace. It may not be a blog or a book (or it may be!) but make yourself open to whatever He deems is right. Maybe even start out each day saying this simple phrase, a posture of open hands to symbolize the posture of your heart:
Lord, to all that has been, yes.
To all that will be, Amen.
As He reveals this to you, it would warm my heart so much if you would let me know (by posting on the Facebook page, on this post, wherever!) what you feel He has revealed to you.
The Community Growth Challenge is to let someone you love know what you think He is calling you to do, and to ask them to keep you accountable to follow through with the steps it will take to be obedient in this.
The Pay-It-Forward Challenge is this:
I believe with all my heart that some of you will be called to lead a small group study with this book. You can use the Lessons Learned section, you can use this blog series, or you can do your own thing. I would simply ask that if you feel that tug on your heart that you would be willing to step out of your comfort zone and ask those you feel called to ask to participate. Remember, He is responsible for working in hearts; we only have to step out in faith.
Friends, it has been a JOY to walk through some of the important themes of On Milk and Honey with you. I cannot wait to see what He continues to do with the words He has given me; and I am expectant to watch Him do wonders with the stories He is writing in each of your lives. Remember- if you are in Christ- our platform is always Jesus, and the details of our lives are intricately written out by God’s heavenly, holy hand.
He is worthy of all the glory and all our trust.
All praises go to Him, forever and ever.