Wednesday, August 7, 2013

on being an unfaithful bride {how trials reveal your true affections}

If an overdue pregnancy does anything, it pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Come to think of it, trials of any and every kind seem to take away your comfort in some kind of way.

Losing what you had- what you loved- often seems to take you to places you don't want to go.

40 weeks, 2 days, just waiting for baby #5
For me, this pregnancy has pushed me to places like that. And part of me questions God, and asks, "why are you doing this to me- if it's your will for me, why do I feel like this?"

But I think the other part of me already knows the answer.

God is peeling back layer after layer of my comfort to reveal Himself to me.

Each layer removed seems to become more and more uncomfortable- but after removing it, I see that each little layer was actually covering up a layer of sin in my heart too.

And I see that my sinful flesh goes so very deep.

My Lord redeemed me from the very beginning, knowing exactly how full of sin I was. But even knowing my deep unfaithfulness, He bought me at a great price and took me and made me His bride. My heart had served other gods- whatever it took to make me happy, but He still loved me and made me His own, and gave me a new heart to love Him.

And He is still making me a new creation.

That's how He's using my discomfort, I think- He is peeling back layer after layer and showing me my heart- how I still chase after other gods. 

And that's where I've seen Him work so much in the last 9 months. When I suffer, I've started to see that's when my heart begins to chase other things. When what I love gets taken away- I see how I chase after things that make me happy to make things feel right again, you know?

It reminds me so much of the story of Hosea's wife. 

God told Hosea to go find a prostitute and make her his wife: 2When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD. {hosea 1:2}

God does this to make an example of their marriage to Israel, who has forsaken the Lord, their true husband, and chased after other gods. Apparently, Hosea's real-life wife Gomer does the same- she first leaves behind her old life to marry the prophet, bears Hosea children, and then she returns back to a life of prostitution seeking after what she had in the past, just like Israel did to God Himself. {read about it here}

For so long I read this story and was horrified at how easily this girl returned to her old life- I just couldn't understand why she'd give up her new identity to go back to the old shameful one. It didn't make sense to me.

But then I realized- that's me.

So often I find myself seeking after fulfillment in my old identity, and going back to serving other gods like Gomer. I turn back to my old ways of seeking after empty pursuits, wanting the rewards and comforts of the old life instead of finding my identity in Christ.

When my ability to do what I used to love is taken away, how much do I seek to fill the gap myself? How often do I return to seeking after my old gods to fulfill me?

That's what I'm finding out as God peels back layer after layer of my comfort.

When I'm pressed- when the familiar gets taken away, I'm finding over and over that I try to solve my "problem" by serving the gods of doing more, having more, being more- instead of seeking after the one true God- the one who redeemed me from that very same awful sin in the beginning.

I'm Gomer, returning to my old way of life to find fulfillment again.

And I'm not being faithful to my God when I look back. When my comfort gets taken away, and I try to solve my own problems to find peace and joy again, I'm not looking to Jesus for salvation- I'm looking at myself. And here's the worst part- in looking to solve my own problems or discomfort, I don't find the peace and joy anyway, because it can't and never will be found there!

Nothing ever satisfies my heart like He does. And living a comfortable life is such an easy way to hide the fact that I'm not looking to Him for satisfaction. I can tell because when He starts to strip away all my comfort and my abilities and their luxuries, I frantically start to try to put things back the way they were by finding ways to "fix" the problem instead of relying on Him to lead me through.

Does that make sense at all?

That's why as much as I hate this time of waiting- of pressing- of discomfort, at the same time I can see God using it to reveal my sinful weakness and His strength.

It's like suffering reveals my true affections the most. 

Where does my hope truly lie? When things get taken away, how much do I still trust Him? That's what I'm starting to find out right now. 

Oh, it's so very tempting to be discouraged at how bad I am at this, honestly. I'm seeing the true me, and it stinks. But I can't feel defeated, because the best news of all time is that He knows what I will do- even when I turn back and fail Him, He brings me back to Himself again!! 

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15 And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishf the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. {hosea 2:14-20}
Like Hosea bought back Gomer after she left him, my God knows my weakness and still brings me back into His arms again!

Isn't that the most incredible thing?? I just don't understand it!

Our God still loves us, even though we don't deserve it. Even when we leave Him, and our hearts seek fulfillment elsewhere, He convicts us and brings us back into fellowship with Him!!! Even when we're uncomfortable, He doesn't forsake us. Even when I cry because another hard day is ahead, He still loves me and gives me strength.

Oh, what mercy!!!!

We don't deserve it in the least- and we never ever did in the first place! Oh, how our Lord is full of mercy and love!!

I want to serve Him, even in this waiting- this time of pressing. It's so hard when I see how much I fail Him. I hate being uncomfortable- and seeing how much I look away from Him to find joy, but I know He's revealing it with a purpose in mind. I know I can trust Him even in the discipline He gives me.

He is good, all the time.

oh, how I love this- found on pinterest here

Oh Jesus, please help me to look to you and you alone all the time. Not just when I'm comfortable, but when I'm uncomfortable too. Please help me to find strength in your joy- not in empty pursuits of more stuff or more lists, or in anything else. You are my strength and my portion, and I'm so thankful that your mercy is new every morning, because I know I fail you every day. Thank you for redeeming me and calling me your Bride- what a precious gift it is to be known by you, Lord. I want to love you with my whole life- every single part. Please give me faith to trust in your plans, no matter how I feel, Lord. I love you and praise you Jesus. Thank you for giving me new life, and a new heart that sees you.

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