God uses a variety of things in life to push us toward Him. Often, as I’ve written about before, it’s trials and grief. For me lately it’s been personal failure. It’s caused me to reach the end of myself and realize I have nowhere to go but the foot of the cross, where my Savior washed away all my sins, past, future, and present.
Recently I told Andrew at the end of a long, full, busy day that I thought it was literally one of the best days of my life. I was excited about visible ways the Lord was growing me and I was feeling great about some deepening relationships. Ironically, the very next day I was hit with some really tough things and I came crashing down to an almost debilitating low. All I could see were my shortcomings and sin. This despondency has continued for some days now, and I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.
I know God wants me to wake up to the reality that I don’t have control over my life and I’m inevitably going to fail. After I’ve fallen, I have to take the loving hand He offers me, get back up on my feet, and carry on in His strength. He’s reminding me that my identity does not lie in my performance or the quality of my relationships, but in my Savior, Who gave me His righteous garments in exchange for all my filthy rags. He’s removing the happiness I can often draw from nearly-perfect circumstances so that I run to Him for my joy and satisfaction. Jesus is enough, and He longs for me understand that reality first-hand, in a new and fresh way each day.
I want to be real and honest on this blog. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Today, I hope to encourage or challenge you from what feels like a pit of despair. I haven’t climbed out yet, but I’m seeing light near the edge and I’m grasping for footholds as I try to reach it. If you’re enjoying a spiritual high, praise the Lord for it and ask Him to keep you humble and hungry for Him. If you’re walking through a valley, keep your gaze on Jesus and trust Him to restore your joy in His perfect timing. I love the precious truth that no matter where you are in your journey of sanctification and growth, Jesus, His sacrifice for you, and His love, grace, and mercy never change. They remain constant through every season, on each mountaintop and in each valley.
My failures remind me that apart from Christ, I have nothing to bring to God. When I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10) As I recognize my helplessness apart from Jesus, I pray that His light will radiate through me more clearly, that I would be a vessel in His hand and a channel for His glory.
When the morning comes on the farthest hill
I will sing His name, I will praise Him, still.
When dark trials come and my heart is filled
With the weight of doubt, I will praise Him, still.
For the Lord, our God, He is strong to save
From the arms of death, from the deepest grave,
And He gave us life in His perfect will,
And by His good grace, I will praise Him, still.