This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
I just pulled myself off the floor after a confession session with the Lord and let me just tell you, I am SO thankful for the truth in 1 John 1:5 that GOD IS LIGHT and IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL. I mean, shove that truth back in the face of Satan and any lie He might be screaming or whispering to you to get you to mistrust your Savior.
I am clinging to this truth as the Lord has revealed this week my struggle to believe and trust in His goodness and understand His ways in light of some recent challenges. It really is not a huge deal, but Satan’s lies have been all over the situation which has made it more painful than it should be. He whispers, “He doesn’t care about you. He has left and abandoned you. What good Father would withhold this acceptable request, especially when He is capable of answering?” Perhaps you can relate?
Here’s the deal. My sweet 22 month old has not been sleeping well. For the past three weeks he has been waking up anywhere from 5-6am and last night was up at 1am and 3am, requiring my attention. The most painful part of all of this is that it has prevented me from having my time with the Lord in the mornings. I literally cherish my time with Jesus. It is the fuel I rely on to get through hectic, demanding days. It is also helpful as a leader of this Bible study to have time to work through the material so I can lead well. Once my children are up, the day is full and I usually don’t have a chance to sit down with any sort of “peace and quiet” again until 9-9:30pm at night. Trying to do my study at that time for me is torture, because I am usually falling asleep.
So, I asked my small group this past week at Bible study to pray that he would sleep until 7am and every night I have prayed peace and rest over him as I have put him to bed, asking the Lord to allow him to sleep until 7am. So far, that prayer has not been answered once this week (or really in the last several weeks).
This afternoon I somewhat grudgingly gave up time when I could have been outside enjoying the amazing weather so that I could work on my study. We were given a list of possible sin struggles and asked to confess them before our Loving Savior. I was led to my knees weeping as I saw my anger, frustration, ingratitude, desire to control, and selfishness staring at me. I laid it all before Him and told Him I was tired physically and emotionally. I shared with Him that it was painful that He seemed to be withholding a request that was rooted in a God-given desire to spend time with Him. I confessed that I was frustrated because it was messing with “my” schedule because I didn’t want to have to sacrifice other time I might have during the day to do my study because it wasn’t convenient or the way I thought was best. I expressed my frustration that my days continued to feel chaotic and out of control.
And you know what…He listened…with a soft heart, and I could feel His tenderness and love for me. Guess what was streaming through the window where I was kneeling, covering me and literally warming my physical body…His beautiful afternoon light. He was literally speaking 1 John 1:5 over me…I am Light and in my ways there is no darkness.
He then gently reminded me of all the other prayers He had been so sweetly answering this week instead of the “one” I was clinging to with white knuckles. He reminded me of the neighbors I have been praying for who seem to suddenly be at our house all the time for various reasons, being exposed to His light. There is the text I just got from a friend, telling me God had answered something I had been praying for her about. God graciously led my husband to teach this wonderful lesson in our small group this morning at church and it was so cool to see the Holy Spirit work through him. And that little rascal that I have been wrangling every morning at 5 or 6am….he is really sweet and I have been able to get some extra cuddle time with him.
I share all of this to hopefully encourage you. As you can see, I am so weak and so focused on the wrong things so often. My lack of trusting Jesus so often taints my heart and attitude. I desire so much for these verses to reflect my heart, even in circumstances that I don’t understand: “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Psalm 84:4, 12).
If you find yourself in the midst of challenging or painful circumstances in which it seems almost impossible to trust the Lord, I encourage you to take all of your pain and frustrations before Him. He is a gentle, loving Savior and He will graciously shine His light and truth into your pain and illuminate His love for you. May we all, by faith empowered by His grace, choose to remain in the promises of His love and goodness even if our circumstances don’t immediately change. I am praying that we can cling to these promises:
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalm 84:11-12)