It started at the end of last week… those old negative feelings of discouragement, fear, discontment, washed over me, overwhelming and seeking to bring defeat to my soul. As my heart cried out to God, asking Him to change my thoughts and help me to think the truth, God began to speak to my heart.
It’s amazing how quickly I can be like the Israelites, seeing God’s miraculous hand of victory and then suddenly back to the complaining and whining and forgetting all that God has already done.
Last week, I had just started a study by Beth Moore on the life of David. As I completed the study guide for today’s reading and notes, God’s Word began to speak to me once again.
My parents first took me to church as a babe in arms and every Sunday after that; so I grew up, hearing the story of David. I knew all about how a boy defeated a giant with just a sling-shot and a few stones. It was an amazing story! Somehow though, it was easier to imagine those incredible type of events happening to the extremely “righteous” people — someone with extraordinary faith and a special brand of godliness.
Me? I saw myself as just the average girl — nothing extraordinary about me. Surely, I didn’t have that special brand of godliness or exceptional brand of faith.
So, when those “giants” reared their ugly heads, I became just like the Israelites, accepting defeat before the battle had even begun. No battle had been waged, but the attitude of defeat had decimated me.
I stood, outwardly, but inwardly, my heart was crumbling. I wanted to be that amazing mom, that amazing wife, that amazing friend, that amazing woman of God. Yet, I felt small, worn out, crushed, weighed down, defeated. Why? Sometimes, it only takes a word of criticism. Mostly, it’s because I am just like the Israelites, measuring the size of the obstacle against my own strength.
How can one defeat the “giants” out there when one isn’t even fully recognizing the God who is present? Sometimes, it’s not even understanding the God who is there but understanding my relationship with Him/His relationship to me. Too often, it’s because I still see myself as having to somehow earn His favor and love. In other words, I am resting in the strength of my faith and the measure of my godliness. It’s then I feel defeat. I know I am not perfect enough, godly enough, faithful enough, nor good enough to keep anyone’s eternal and unwavering affection and devotion.
Anyone’s? Yeah, when I compare God to earthly loves. It doesn’t matter how good and loving our parents were nor how loving our husband is. At some point, human relationships are going to let us down. They were never meant to be our god.
My parents loved me and do love me. My husband, he does too. I know all that. Yet, there’s that seeking, searching little-girl heart that cries, “Abba, do you love me? Were you with me when that person let me down? God, show me where you are when sleep eludes me, the tasks of life overwhelm me, the pain of defeat and fear crush my spirit.”
Suddenly, a “shade” to the “window” of my soul lifts. I begin to understand that as wonderful as my husband is, he can’t fill my need for identity and worth. My kids… they are cute and all that, but they sure let me down at times. Even friends, as wonderful as they are, can’t fill that desperate need to know that Abba-God loves me — that His love is eternal and unwavering.
I then realize the key to David’s victory. He didn’t measure his obstacle by the size of his faith or his own strength. He measured his obstacle against the size of His God. (Thanks, Beth Moore, for that thought!)
Quoting from Beth Moore’s study guide:
“Do you approach every circumstance and conflict as a member of the army of the living God? Do you continually regard God as able? Is He not only the Lord Almighty on the page but the Lord Almighty on the pavement? Do you stand in His name? Our victory rests not on faith in our spirituality. Our victory rests on faith in our God. We’re often intimidated in battle because we are uncertain of our faith. We must remember we don’t stand in victory because of our faith. We stand in faith because of our God. Faith in faith is pointless. Faith in a living, active God moves mountains.“
I love that thought: “Is He not only the Lord Almighty on the page but the Lord Almighty on the pavement?”
“We stand in faith because of our God.”
Lord, help me to understand that I don’t need to envy the “Davids”. Help me to realize that I am a unique expression of your love and a unique testimony to your creativity. Help me to understand that I don’t have to be David to defeat the “giants” of life. Help me to understand that I don’t have to have amazing faith or be a flawless paradigm of godliness. Help me to see that all I have to do is open my heart to your love and to rest in you — your power.
Like David, I still have to face the obstacles, but my confidence isn’t in myself or my abilities but it’s in You — the God who created the universe. He is not only the God of the Universe but the God who took on a fleshly body like mine so He could feel the scourge of the whip and the pounding of the nails being driven into His hands to demonstrate the extent of His love for me!
He is a God so powerful that by the word of His mouth, He brought into existence an entire world and countless galaxies and a God so powerful that He could submit to a wooden cross in order to demonstrate the height and depth of His love for me!
Could it be? Could it be that a God so powerful died for me and now seeks to show me how to truly live with Him? Could it be that He doesn’t seek extraordinary people to do great things? Could it be that He looks for ordinary people who are willing to let Him do extraordinary things in and through their lives?
Could it be that in God’s eyes I am just as amazing as David and Joseph and Paul and all of those other people of faith? Not because I am so special in myself but because He made me, He died for me, and He lives within me!
Lord, is this what it’s all about? Living a life of victory… it’s facing my biggest obstacles because I am not alone! It’s because of Who my God is and because of who I am in Him!