Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Not special, but Strong

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are strong. Stronger than you know. Stronger than you give yourself credit for. Strong despite those who left you or hurt you. Your worth is not a variable that someone can thumbs up on Facebook, or unfollow on Twitter. Your worth is grounded in who you are. Who God made you to be. Even on your worst day, after your biggest mistakes, in your loneliest places, you are worth something.

 

No matter how much loss you’ve experienced, rejection you face or road blocks in your way, the fact that you are still here, still alive, still waking up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other and weathering whatever storm life brings, proves your strength! I don’t care if you break down and cry, or get lost in periods of depression or self-hate. I see your strength when you put on a brave face and show up to work on time, smile at a stranger, or make dinner for your kids.

 

Take time to appreciate how far you have come without drowning in the awareness that there is still further yet to go. Notice the wounds that have become scars. Maybe they aren’t fully healed, and maybe they are still tender to the touch, but Praise God for the ones that no longer bleed!

 

This life is hard; but take comfort in the fact that your struggles don’t make you special, because we—individuals all over the world, are with you, struggling together. Your struggle is like a unique snowflake but together we are snow helping each other stay alive, whereas alone we might melt. Today I am praying for you, in the same way I hope you are praying for me. That we keep fighting, we keep surviving, and we keep overcoming.

 

You are strong! Find your strength.

 

 

 

 

I’m angry at God

Sometimes if I am honest with myself, I have to admit that I am completely and totally angry with God. 

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Okay, maybe as a fellow bible believing Christian you’re confused, so let me try to explain.

 

I suppose I can compare it to the kind of anger a child feels towards a parent that is ‘absentee.’ Maybe a father or mother who serves in the military. You get the weekly calls, the gifts on your birthday, you know that they love you, but you’re angry because you simply feel robbed.

 

You miss getting tucked in every night, the in-person bedtime stories, or even just waking up in the middle of the night, running to their room when you’re scared and knowing you’re safe in the house because you can see that they are still there.

 

I’m angry with God because I can’t see Him. I don’t care that this is how it has to be or whatever theology that is present to explain it away. I know I am being unreasonable, a petulant child,  and I still don’t care!

 

It’s not always enough knowing that ‘God is there or that He cares.’ Sometimes I want to see Him! I want Him to come down off His throne, and give me a hug and show me that He is there. I want Him to sit with me late at night and tell me stories of how things were back in the day in the time of Moses, or Ezekiel, and Joseph. I imagine His voice to be so deep and comforting.

 

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I want Him to paint me a picture of how beautiful and bright the future will be. I want Him to hold my hand, to envelop me in a hug. Let me crawl into His bed when I’ve had a bad dream, or to be able to look into His eyes after a long day and see that my suffering causes him pain too. I just know that He would look lovingly back at me and simply say “There, there my child.”

 

Sometimes I feel so broken inside and I know He is the piece of me that I’m missing. When sleep eludes me, or I’m wrestling with my demons inside, He is the one I want to tell.

 

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If I could have anything I wished for in this moment, I wouldn’t wish to end world hunger or violence or pain, even though all these things weigh heavily on my mind. All I would wish for is to just once see His face, to say “hi” to God, and hear him respond with a “Hello my child. I see you, and I’m right here.

 

father-hugging-daughter

part-time Atheist.

“No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6; God’s Word Translation)

 

 

According to the bible, without faith, it is impossible to please God. The writer of Hebrews, then goes on to say, that having faith means 1) believing that God exists, and 2) believing that there is some benefit found in following him.

 

If you believe in God, but you don’t believe that there is any benefit to following him—you don’t have faith. And since knowing that God is good (Psalm 100:5, Mark 10:18, Psalm 119:68), and knowing that he rewards those who seek him (Philippians 4:19, James 1:17, Isaiah 41:10), is inextricably tied to who God is—denying his benefits is equivalent to denying his existence.

 

In Matthew 14:31, after Peter stepped out of the boat and began to sink, Jesus rebuked him saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In that moment, when Peter lost faith, he doubted who God was, and what God could do for him. In essence, in losing faith, he called into question God’s existence.

 

Often, when Christians gather together in groups at bible study, after church, or during prayer meetings, they sit down and just ‘wonder’ at the disbelieving Atheist.

“Tsk tsk” they say, completely aghast. “How could anyone live without Christ?” “I simply do NOT know(!) how I’d ever make it without God,” they sigh.

 

And what do the rest of do when we aren’t chiming-in in agreement? We nod our heads, raise our hands, and shout mercy(!), as we pity the poor unbeliever. Looking down from our church-bench on Saturday or Sunday, we wag our fingers the shortsighted atheist—who ‘luckily,’ of course, aren’t present to offer any rebuttal.

 

The fascinating thing is that when we claim to be Christians, yet become so lost in worry, fear, and doubt, we become no different than Atheists, who are at the very least consistent in their lack of faith. Like Peter who one day declared to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” but then the next day swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” (Mark 14: 31,71) Our relationship with God often wavers depending on our environment. And God forbid, we enter into severe trials or struggles, we sometimes completely loose faith in God. We become like Job and wonder as he wondered, “Why did I not die at birth?Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11)

 

It’s at moments like this, that we no longer believe that God rewards those who seek him.

 

We ask ourselves, “Where was God when…” or “How could God let this happen?” We look at our failure and our shortcomings and we wonder what we even gain by following God. At those moments when we doubt God’s goodness and his benefits, we are actually doubting his existence. We go to church, but we are worried about our future, our family, our job – or lack of a job. And at these moments of intense worry, pain, and doubt, ask yourself if you really believe that God exists.

 

 

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Strike 3. You’re out.

“Hello. My name is – , and I am a discouraged Christian. Yes, I go to church. Yes, I read the bible too. But I am struggling. I don’t need your platitudes or your ‘Holy’ advice. I need you to be real with me. Tell me that you have struggled too. Tell me you know how it feels to be discouraged. Tell me that it’s not only me. When will I stop feeling so lost? I keep questioning my beliefs. Is God indeed good? Is He really with me? Does He actually hear my prayers? Don’t just tell me He does, show me. Help me understand why God can be so silent for so long. Tell me how He puts up with the pain that so many ‘good’ people feel and can seemingly allow bad people to prosper? Please, Encourage me. I need it. Give me hope that God is there and that though He is silent, He is never still.”

Marvin-the-Paranoid-Android

We all know how to praise and testify when God provides for us just in the nick of time. When we fasted and prayed and God provided. He came in at the last-minute and He saved us. But how do we testify when God didn’t come through for us the way we asked him to? How do we praise Him when our prayer request went seemingly unanswered? The old ladies can stand up in church and praise God when “the miraculous check came two days before the water and electricity was supposed to be shut off,” but tell me how to Praise God when the check didn’t come and the whole family had to go by without water and electricity. How should she praise God then?

What do you do when you get down on your knees and pray for someone to come and alleviate your pain, and yet the suffering continues? No one needs to tell you how to thank God when He provides you with the job you’ve been praying and fasting for, but what about when you are jobless for almost a year? What about when you can no longer provide for your family, and the eviction notice is lying on the kitchen counter? You don’t need someone to tell you how to survive when everything in your life is going well and you have someone who loves you, but what about when your biological clock has ‘tocked’ and you are still alone?

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There are some things we are dealing with in our lives that no one else knows about. There are some burdens we carry that we feel are ours alone. There are some struggles that can bring even a ‘strong’ man to his knees. Have you ever felt weary? Have you ever felt like giving up? Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel?

You are not alone.

There is only one solace for the discouraged Christian. And it’s found in God’s word. In Hebrews 11 we see the many things people suffered for their God. They persevered through mocking, scourging, chains, imprisonments, stoning, being sawn in two, temptations, death by the sword, and homelessness. The writer tells us in Hebrews 12 that because of their perseverance and their testimony—we can be encouraged amidst our discouragement. We can see the things that those who came before us endured, and we can know that we too can endure.

man in chain

When we are discouraged, we can look at Christ who passed this way before us. He has tasted and seen our struggle, our pain, and He encourages us to press on. You might think God doesn’t see your pain. That God is indifferent to your cries. But you are not alone. Jesus himself felt forsaken by God when He was on the cross, but God never let His son carry a burden that was greater that He could bear.

When Christ carried up His cross to be crucified it soon became too much for him. Blood, tears and sweat stung his eyes. His body cried out in pain. He could not go on. He fell under the weight of this world. But then God sent Simon to help Jesus carry the cross. God did not take the cross away–but He sent His servant Simon to help lift Christ’s burden. God never left Jesus. God may have seemed silent, but He was always present. He was careful lest His child became too weary of His burden. When every thing spelled doom. God said, don’t give up! I am with you.


Simon Carrying The Cross from Passion of Christ

Discouragement can come to us when we are going the way God wants us to and satan in anger tries to pull us down and out of the game. But the God who hears your prayers, the God who sees your tears, and the God who loves you,  He rebukes the devil and He encourages us once more. Christ sympathizes with our every weaknesses, and He was tempted in every way we are–yet without sin. So do not despair. Christ is with you. He is cheering you on!

“The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day.” Because “you can get a thousand no’s from man, and only one “yes” from God,” and that will be enough to see you through. ‘Yes in your life you see limitations, but God sees opportunities. You see failure, but God sees growth. You see problems, but God sees solutions. You see limitations, but God sees possibilities. You see this life… but God sees eternity.’

hope street

There is a time when everything you once feared comes to pass. When the things you told God you couldn’t handle, have come and gone. And yet you are still standing. Your trust has been tested. Your faith has been shaken. Your hope has been trampled. But hold fast!

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed!” “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” ”No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”