I found this and am again amazed at how God gives me words and for how He healed me. At Advent, I hope you find time to glorify Him!
By T. Niels (as directed by God)
As a Christian of over 20 years, I too often find myself trapped by feelings of inadequacy that somehow chase me away from God. Why do I feel I have to “earn” His approval before coming close to Him? As I’ve faced my current challenge, chronic pain, I find myself wading through these same inadequacies. “I must deserve to suffer like this.” I am inadequate, this I know. But the God I know suffers with those who suffer. Then it hit me.
I was asking the age-old question of mankind. Did God love me before or after I made a commitment to Him? God rephrased that thought, that question: did He love me before or after He rescued me?
It was a desperate rescue, an all or nothing proposition. Lots of preparation and sacrifice involved and no expense spared. With one bite of the apple in Eden, God lost all mankind. To rescue them would be hard and not all of them would make it. It meant supreme obedience in the mission, where death was not just inevitable but necessary. It was the only way and so God sent His #1 man for the job, His son Jesus. He’d be booby-trapped with every kind of temptation but He leaned on God and got through them all. He’d be betrayed by everyone He met, with even God forsaking Him at the cross, yet still He went on with the mission. He was in hell for 3 days, taking every punishment, the worst being the absence of His Father. And His Father rescued Him and sent Him back to the disciples to reassure them. And took Him home to heaven, leaving His Spirit to continue to save every single person who wants to be rescued.
The answer to my question is profound – God loved me not only before my rescue but as He knit me together in my mother’s womb, knowing rescue would be inevitable. My pain has nothing to do with my failings. My pain has everything to do with leaning on Him to hold me and carry me, trusting He wouldn’t give me more than I could bear.
“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me…but in me… and I in Him.”” St. Francis de Sales