rejoice.

I imagine that turning 30 hasn’t gotten easier as the years have passed. In our twenties we tend to have big plans and visions for our futures. Some people have those visions pan out exactly as they had planned. Most of us don’t. We finish school, begin our careers/families, travel, stay where we are, or whatever, but it never quite looks how we planned.

13754101_10157233893655370_1799481825646900060_n

For me it looked like seeing one of my biggest fears coming alive so closely it felt like a train was racing toward me and I couldn’t move off the track. Fear is paralyzing at times. That’s why I dove into 1 Peter. I needed to know what to do with it. I wondered what the purpose of the fear was for me. Well, Peter was not afraid to let me know,

“You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold which perishes though refined by the fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Let me just tell you that my first (nor second nor third) reaction was to rejoice. My first reaction was to cry. And not cry out to the Lord for help. Just cry. Ugly cry. Then a good friend cried with me and prayed; the church is there to carry one another’s burdens. During that time, I remembered true things. I wanted to trust and glorify God in my response. I didn’t want to be controlled by my fear or my situation. But you know what? Even saying those true things aloud was painful.

A few weeks later I read this passage from 1 Peter. Writing it out I saw that genuine faith – the kind that exists even when life isn’t beautiful – is what God was producing in me. Life is messy. So messy that I won’t be sharing a photo of the inside of my house, but God is working. He’s not just sitting back and looking at our mess and our pain and thinking, “what a waste.” Instead, He will be glorified! Even in this. So we praise, we glory, we honor Christ.

“I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.” -Charles Spurgeon

 

Advertisements

chosen.

Ya’ll, I can say that now because I’m southern, the Lord has been wrecking me lately. He hasn’t asked my permission on the matter at all. Even before the night that left me sobbing on the floor of my living room, He was working on me. His word was not whispered to me, but shouted at me. Scripture was as alive as it has ever been and I readily soaked it up. I longed for the pure spiritual milk that Peter spoke about as I was surrounded by prayer and encouragement from my church family.

I have been hanging out in 1 Peter lately. When suffering was too much I went there to sit and study after listening to the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. Between Jen Wilkin’s breastfeeding anecdote and John Piper pressing into the fact that your suffering is not purposeless, I quickly realized that I needed to spend more time in this book. I’d read it while doing the three year survey of the Bible, but I’d never just lingered there.

20160621_195406

So I lingered and I wrote. I wrote every word. I copied it straight from my Bible into a beautiful peacock notebook that I received as a gift from a sweet sister in the Lord. Then as I reread it, I paraphrased and wrote it all out a little more. As I wrote and lingered, I paused in many places. The first place I paused: verse one.

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ: To the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia chosen..”

Then I stopped. Right there. Chosen. Sure, there’s more. It wasn’t the end of a sentence. As Peter continues he presses in

“Peter…chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

So much is there, but I stopped right on chosen. My life is not about me. It’s about the One who chose me. He picked me out of my sin and mess and muck. If He hadn’t, I’d still be there. And honestly, I wouldn’t be looking for a way out. He chose me for the life that He’s given me – that includes the difficulties that I can’t make sense of. That is why this verse – right at the beginning of where the Lord led me to study and learn to trust – struck me. It’s so easy for me to get whiny and stuck. I forget what my purpose is and why I am here when the waves crash so hard against me.

Then He reminds me, one verse in, that He chose me. Not the other way around. So with that truth, I begin to find rest.

Is there a verse that has caused you to pause and linger lately?