"Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting."
James 4:8 TPT
Have you ever felt lonely? I don’t mean the type of loneliness where you literally feel alone. I am talking about the type of lonely where you’re surrounded by supportive family, encouraging friends, and an incredibly loving church family, yet you still feel like something is missing and you want “something more.”
I know the feeling very well. I was a 4th grade teacher for three years, and for three years I had that feeling of longing for something more. I loved my students and felt that what I was doing was making a difference, but I still found myself coming home every day stressed, unhappy, and feeling unfulfilled. At the time I thought it was because I didn’t love my job and wasn’t doing something that I loved doing. So, I decided to make a career change and start my own business doing something that I knew I loved, designing and making faith encouraging t-shirts. I was going to be happy now, I just knew it!
"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding."
Proverbs 3:5 AMPC
Artwork credit to @fran_letters
Are we not so trained to depend on our own understanding? What we know, what we’ve learned, what we’ve experienced. Often, that is of so much value for us in our daily decisions.
There’s nothing wrong with decision making based on our understanding. However, our own understanding is very limited. And sometimes, we might find ourselves in situations where minding our own understanding doesn’t help us.
"But if you withhold forgiveness from others your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”
Matthew 6:15 TPT
When a senseless incomparable tragedy strikes how do we cope? When we’re angry and hurting how do we heal? When we have anxiety and fear about our safety how do we move on? In the midst of evil, how can we trust God is still good? Honestly, even as a Christian, I’ve struggled with these questions. C.S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
I live in the small town of Thousand Oaks about 40 miles north of the hectic city, Los Angeles. We use to be a little spec on the map that not too many people knew of—if you did know, you moved here, like we did. It’s close to the city but removed enough to be quiet and safe — brimming with open land, hiking trails and horses you’ll still see trotting on the side of the road. It’s close to the beach, but far enough away so we didn’t have to sell an arm and leg to live here. Since 2002 this has been our home. Our kids grew up here, graduated high school here and got baptized here. November 7, 2018, was a day like any other—until it turned out to be a day like no other.
"And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it."
Write your vision and keep it before you.
The Lord has placed a vision in each person's life, whether we can see it yet or not. The Word says that men perish for lack of vision. I don't think that means that they may literally die right away, but it's a life with no purpose, no direction. We've even lived in those places at times in our lives and we know others who do too. It can look like aimless living life and wandering to becoming complacent and stuck in a loop. I want to know and live by the book God has written for my life. I want to know that I am living from that place of vision.
"What a God you are! Your path for me has been perfect! All your promises have proven true. What a secure shelter for all those who turn to hide themselves in you! You are the wrap-around God giving grace to me."
Psalm 18:30 TPT
I don't know about you, but I can say that there have been many times in my life that my words didn't sound anything like David's did there. I wasn't thanking God for keeping every promise, when I couldn't see it. I wasn't seeing the perfect path, even when I was truly on it.
God always has our best at heart. He's a loving Father, a true and kind gracious Father who loves his children. He is also just and fair and righteous. Do you see where David says there that those that turn to Him, to hide themselves in Him find that He is their ultimate secure shelter from the storm?