8/16/19– Near

Pastor Daron CrossLife Blog

One of my spiritual mentors reminded me yesterday of this shift of perspective. There is a difference between faith in the outcome I am dictating to God, and faith in God himself.

Faith in God’s character. Faith in who he is. Faith that he is good all the time. Faith that he is never scared or confused. Faith that he’s not playing a game of chess with me (even though I challenge him to do that and often think too strategically about how to get him to do things for me). Faith that he is forgiving, merciful, and a giver not a taker. Faith that he knows what is best for me even when I don’t. Especially when I don’t.

It reminded me of all the “I am” statements of Jesus.

I joyfully recalled the Bible study last week when we studied Christmas and the name Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

And then there’s this picture https://www.fullofeyes.com/project/lamentations-354-57/. It is based on the verse: “You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear’” (Lamentations 3:57).

Spend some time with that picture this weekend. While looking at it, meditate on the promise of God in Lamentations 3. Work through the Further Meditation below and delight in a few intimate moments just enjoying God for who he is.

It will change everything.

PRAYER: God, in my prayers I want to discover you more, and more of you. I want to put my faith less in what I dictate and more in who you are, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: Keep your Bible open this weekend to Lamentations 3. And mediate on these questions:

  1. The writer is hurting deeply, and whom does he blame (vv. 1-18)?
  2. He uses a number of metaphors for this troublesome time in his life. Which of them paints a picture of how you have felt when recently troubled?
  3. In vv. 19-21 he admits what comes to mind, naturally, when he’s not directing his thoughts or the purposes of his heart. Affliction. And it causes his soul to be downcast. When we let our heart lead us, instead of leading our heart, we will be taken to places of perspective that are not true. Because our hearts are flawed. When was the last time you did this?
  4. However, in vv. 19-21 he turns the corner from what comes to mind to what he calls to mind. He leads his heart. He teaches his heart. He causes his heart to recall something. And this replaces hurt with hope. What does this step look like for you?
  5. Now read about the truths that he calls to mind, in vv. 19-33. And vv. 32,33 clarify the Lord’s purposes, which are never evil. He always has the big picture in mind: his unfailing love.
  6. Next, the writer experiences something quite common. He doesn’t stay in this good place very long. He is pulled back into fearful rumination. Read vv. 34-54. Sound familiar? Logic and lies team up to convince God’s people that he is against us. Not true.
  7. Finally in vv. 55-66, the writer once again returns to the promises and purposes of the true God, leaving all in his hands. He connects with the Lord God’s loving care. He does not settle up with his enemies, but leaves them in God’s hands for God to deal with.
  8. Meditate on this chapter of the Bible, specifically how it reflects the reality of your Christian life: both trusting in God and always tempted to turn away from God.