For years I courageously refused to heed the lie of my own fallen conscience, that oft-unreliable inner voice, which tempts me to doubt the exceeding broadness of God’s grace. There have been moments where I have literally shouted down that nagging sense of anxiety or dread that bad things would just turn worse. In moments when Guilt, Shame and Accusation desired to show up at my doorstep unannounced, I have responded with words of grace, gospel and God’s goodness on my lips as I turned those trespassers away. My wrestling match of the soul has never been about whether I have been truly saved by a Holy God but, sadly at times, whether or not I was relationally embraced by the Him. It was not a struggle of theology but, rather, psychology – it is what I sometimes thought or felt, not what I believed. So over the years I’ve chosen to preach the following points to myself, and, as a result, I have found a few hammocks for my sometimes restless, doubting soul.
- It pleases God when I run quickly to Him after I fear or fail. There is no legitimate reason why I should not trust in His goodness when I have struggled, doubted Him or fallen short.
- My sin – whether it be doubts or disobedience or delay – never diminishes His love for me or His acceptance of me. It is impossible for Him to love me less than He always has. He loves me as He loves His Son.
- On the days wherein I don’t even feel motivated to honor Him, He still fulfills each of His promises to me. I can force Him from my mind if I choose … but He will never loose me from His thoughts.
- He never, ever tires of hearing my confessions of my weakness, exposure of my fears or pleas for His help. Never. Our weaknesses do not weary Him.
- He doesn’t need me at all, but He will continue to love and pursue me with omnipotent love until there is nothing within me that does not ultimately glorify Him.
- No matter what the remainder of my days hold for me, it is an unavoidable reality that, in the end, I will be perfected and living forever in the exact same righteousness that Jesus Christ has always possessed. Nothing can prevent this. This is my destiny in Christ.
- I will personally witness the final destruction of Satan and each of his demons who ever tempted or attacked you and me. They, nevermore, while I, forevermore.
- I will see the face of my awesome King. I will experience the ecstasy of full deliverance from all that presently frustrated, worries or disheartens me. I cannot strive my way to that reality. It is the most precious facet of His saving work on my behalf. It began with grace, continues now in grace and will be fully consummated by grace.
- The big secret that needs to be revealed is that your greatest deliverance is the deliverance from yourself. it’s not the pagans, the Republicans, the Democrats, China, Russia, North Korea or Iran. You and I need deliverance from Self. This is what we are really waiting for and it is coming soon enough.
- We are invited by Him to breathe easily and to worship Him without regarding present global chaos or even our own personal internal struggles as the determining factor. He knows our failures, fear, brokenness, weaknesses, sin, and fickle hearts. That’s the reason He has come for us.
So you might have to wrestle through your own unease at the idea of climbing into these grace-hammocks and resting your soul. It really does sound almost too good to be true. But it isn’t. These are not restful times in our world. We were never supposed to rest in our circumstances anyway. Putin has sparked an inferno. The Oval Office has proved once again to be impotent. Terrorists are still setting people on fire or cutting off their heads. Wars and rumors of wars are abounding. The love of many is turning cold, and we cannot deny that there is a great departing from the true faith which is occurring.
I am going to be brave in the midst of it all and dare to enter repose in God’s promises and providence. He is too good to fail us. He has to come through because He promised that He would.
In the end, we will not be patting each other on the back in Heaven and recounting our powerful, impressive exploits on planet earth. No, those hands of ours will not be available for back-patting because they will be raised in enthralled worship before the occupied throne of Heaven’s Lamb.
This is our rest today. These are my hammocks.