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Surviving Trials

No one gets through this journey unscathed. A song I default to when walking through valleys is from singer/composer Rich Mullins. The song “Hold Me Jesus” is from his CD called Songs.

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

Right now I am in a pretty good place in my life and journey with Jesus. But then I start thinking about the many friends and loved ones who can relate completely to those lyrics. The words do not exaggerate the agony of going through dark valleys.

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

I remember how I used to respond. I would deduce it must be my fault. God must not be pleased with me. I would decide that I had to do something to bolster my faith. I needed to read more verses or do a study or pray more or believe more. But the answer was far more simple and the chorus by Rich Mullins nails it. All I needed was to rest in the love of God.

So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

I needed to quit flailing and trying so darn hard to be righteous. Hold me Jesus. Won’t you be my Prince of Peace? In those moments this prayer is simple and profound.

“God…would you love me today?”

And He does. But I remember how I used to think that I had to “do stuff” for God to earn His favor and receive His love and peace. For those of us “doers” who absolutely must do something here is your assignment.

1. Believe what God says is true about you.

That’s it. Believe you are forgiven. Loved. His child. Adopted. Redeemed. A new creation.

I have made it so stinkin’ complicated and religious for so many years. When I trust what God says about me I am humbled. I worship. Believing how my Father sees me causes me to obey out of gratitude and not teeth gritting compliance.

Why did I fight this amazing grace and His unconditional love? Rich Mullins nails that too.

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

That was me. Beating my head against a performance wall instead of surrendering to the extravagant gift of grace and freedom. Next time you are flailing and striving to please God would you try this simple request?

“Jesus…would you love me today?”

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11, The Message)

Rest in His love this week and treasure the unforced rhythms of grace. It is a much better place to be.