14 March, 2011

"But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail."

It's been a pretty long time since I've posted, as my dear friend Matt O'hara has repeatedly reminded me of, along with my other dedicated readers (haha...not really.) But at first I thought that I just haven't written because I have been too busy, but honestly, I just realized that's not the case at all.

It's 1 AM on my first night back from Spring Break, and I was about to go to bed until I had crazy racing thoughts and felt lead to start writing.  I've had a lot of realizations today, one being that my dorm room is one of the only places where I can think clearly.  I've gone back and forth with this thought, but JMU really does feel like home to me, and it's because God is so present here.  And yeah I know He is present everywhere, but where have I spent the most intimate time in prayer and in the word and seen God move in the hearts of so many people? Here at school, in Harrisonburg.  And more specifically, I've had some sweet, sweet alone time with the Lord in my room, which is weird because it actually used to feel like the opposite, but we prayed, and God so obviously heard us and has again been faithful.

So another realization I had is that it's not that I've been too busy to post, I've been too scared.  I usually write about stuff I'm learning, and in the past it's been some pretty concrete stuff I can put words to, but for the past month or two, it's been really different.  I would like to say I haven't hid from it, because I've shared it with some people to a certain degree, but the reality of it is, it's so much more than I can express, and even I don't know what's going on, so I will write about it because that's what I'm better at.  And I am also going to share because I feel like I've cheated people out or been dishonest, which is funny because I am the biggest promoter on being open and real, and if there is one type of person I respect it is someone who is genuine, and I am sorry that I haven't been.
So here it goes: Basically for the past two months I have been completely broken/anxious/overwhelmed.  I was thinking about it today and literally on any given day I could cry, and contrary to what people believe and have seen in the past (YL placements...) I am not typically a crier.  I wish I could describe it better, but I literally can feel my heart beating out of my chest and the tears start to come when I start to really think about life, or pray, or read the bible.  I am at a point where I know how bad this world sucks, and it hurts, but I am also certain that this is exactly where God wants me.  I've wrestled with thoughts of thinking I am being "spiritually attacked" or like the enemy is up to something, which I am sure there is some truth to seeing that I am positive that my anxiety is not of the Lord; I have never been an anxious person.  I am also currently struggling with the basic concept of faith and viewing God as the Sovereign, Almighty God that He is.  It has been so hard for me to believe that He is in complete control and to ask for things accordingly, because I am fearful of disappointment.  But anyway, we are doing a Beth Moore study in small group called "Believing God" (very fitting to my life currently...ironic? probz not.)  Tonight she brought up what Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31-32, and I think it really relates to me and what I am experiencing.
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
Satan asked God for permission to uncover the weakness and sinfulness of Peter through his plan of sifting.  But Jesus didn’t ask God to spare Peter from being sifted by the devil; He asked only that in the face of the sifting that his faith may not fail. The point of Jesus’ prayer is not that Peter would not stumble or sin.  Jesus knew that Peter would struggle, but Jesus also knew that His prayer would be heard by the Father and that ultimately Peter would turn back.  His faith would not fail, and he would be able to strengthen his brothers again.

So whatever it is I am going through, I know God has allowed it to happen.  I used to be so desensitized to the brokenness, but now I really feel like God has allowed me to have a little glimpse into his heart and his eyes for the world.  However, there are definitely times where I let the discouragement and anxiety get the best of me.  I just check out, and sin and selfishness take over, I try to control my own life, and I can't see past my own little world.  But thankfully, I have been shown so much grace, so if you are someone who has loved me through this, thank you for sharing Jesus with me.  But every time this happens, I'm eventually brought back to the same answer.  I literally have nothing else.  I have absolutely nothing to offer to God or to anyone in my weakness, and I need Him.  And when I go to Him and respond to Jesus' call for me to simply come, I realize how much bigger God's world is than mine, and how much more perfect His will is than my own.

A friend shared this quote with me: "A true Christian knows the somberness and brokenness of the world but still carries an unspeakable joy around with them."
So I pray to God that I will never lose that joy, His joy.  And I trust that I won't, because Jesus Christ is my only hope, and He has prayed that my faith will not fail.

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