Sorrow and difficulty are going to be parts of our lives. We waste our mind's thoughts when we think that these things ought not to be. That is a waste because they simply are parts of life. The real question we want to pose to ourselves is, "How will I be after this and through this? What is God forming in me that will change me into a new creation?" I am being made new, and my sorrow and difficulty are the pressing things, which God uses to make me who I am becoming from His design.
Reading Psalm 88 today after I have resigned from a ministry I have loved for 7 years has presented me a great challenge. Though the Psalmist never turns toward any real resolve in this Psalm, there is one phrase he repeats over and over throughout all his sorrow and lament where I find my heart's biggest challenge.
Over and over the Psalmist says, "I have called out to you every day, O LORD; I have spread my hands to you...in the morning my prayer comes before you. I have cried out to you for help, O LORD."
Will I in this time, cry out to God each day? Will I spread out my hands to Him? Will my prayers come before Him OR will I wallow and mope and "try to figure it out"?
Today, I ran into a friend at the coffee shop and told her the news. She said she was sorry, and then she said she would be praying. I thanked her like I have everyone who said similar things the last week. But then she said, "No! I mean that. I WILL pray for you."
I stopped to look her in the eye and say, "I believe that. Thank you." (NOT that I don't believe others are actually praying for me, but her directed affirmation was helpful.)
This has me thinking and challenged in this time. I appreciate all the prayers people are offering up on my behalf right now, and I am truly humbled by so many great friends who would do this for me, but here is the challenge: I MUST PRAY...also! I must pray each day and extend my needy and shaking hands to God. I must cry out to Him every day.
But why Acts 2:38: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins." Why Acts 17:30: "IN the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." So why repent if God has already forgiven our transgressions, forgotten our sins and thrown them as far as the east is from the west? The answer lies in 2 Corinthians chapter 7. Verses 9-11 read, "yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and LEAVES NO REGRET...see what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, WHAT LONGING, WHAT CONCERN...AT EVERY POINT YOU HAVE PROVED YOURSELVES TO BE INNOCENT IN THIS MATTER."
This passage presents to us how important our repentance...our "Godly sorrow" is. It shows us that repentance "leaves no regret." It proves and assures that our being forgiven was not in void. Our repentance proves that we are not just taking advantage of and milking the grace we are given. It shows our "longing, our concern." Our repentance shows that the relationship is important enough for us to eagerly pursue even through our sorrowful repentance. Only then are we able to be proved innocent "at every point."
FORGIVENESS FORGETS FAULT
REPENTANCE REPAIRS RELATIONSHIP