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Our Gracious God

“It’s all things that I could have avoided. It was my choice. My mistakes. My blatant disobedience. It’s the deepest pain and repentance I’ve gone through. I know it’s needed, but I wish I could move on to the blessing without going through the pain.”

This is an entry in my journal from recently. God is doing a work in my heart that I need to share.

Have you ever felt the emotional pain that physically makes your heart hurt?

Even while God is opening doors for such big blessings, I still can’t shake the pain.

I have never seen God so blatantly interrupt my plan in order to make room for His plan. To open my eyes to how good He is and how sinful I am. (Romans 7:24) It’s hard to even write that because we’re supposed to love ourselves right? We’re supposed to be “confident in ourselves” and “take care of ourselves first” and “trust ourselves to make the right choice.” But I have come to realize how incapable I am of doing that outside of Christ. (Romans 7:25) I’m learning that maybe that’s the point. Never in my life have I felt so dependent on Him on a moment by moment basis. I need God to sustain me and get me through. And even though it hurts (probably because my pride is shattering) it is the most beautiful grace I have ever felt. (Joel 2:13) I put God in this box that is based on human experience. Humans fail constantly. I fail constantly. God never fails. But it’s hard to fully fathom that, isn’t it? Especially when you’re in the midst of broken promises and empty words coming to the surface. Then you realize that you had unknowingly started depending on something or someone other than Jesus for your validation. God is so gracious, even when our rejection (purposeful or not) should make Him walk away. Any human would walk away. I’m so thankful that He does not.

I wish I could focus fully on the blessing. I do wish the pain would go away, but then I think I would lose the beauty of this constant communion with my Savior, in this season. He uses our pain to draw us closer to His heart. Brokenness and joyful expectation all in one breath.

Sin is a slippery slope. The enemy is crafty enough to make us think we can do life on our own and just fit Jesus in when it’s convenient for us. We can twist our own story to fit our plan and all the while God patiently waits and nudges, until it comes to a point where we need him to intervene because we don’t have the strength to untangle ourselves alone. He says, “Come home to me, and as I unravel every lie that the enemy has led you to believe, I will hold you close and never let you doubt how much I love you. All I want is you and all you need is me. But because I love you, I will not leave you here.”

“God sees us as we are, loves us as we are, and accepts us as we are. But by His grace, He does not leave us where we are.” (Timothy Keller) He created us for purpose and as I learn to love Him more and more, He shows me the life that He has for me that does not require compromise, but it does require surrender — but unlike compromise, which leads to guilt and shame — every step of surrender leads to more and more peace.

So, yes, I wish I could surpass the pain and head straight into the blessing, but I trust that God is using this time to prepare me for the blessing and is teaching me the drastic consequences of going my own way: the dramatic difference between what the world says it has to offer and what God surely has to offer.

When I think I’m not worth saving, I realize that this is the exact reason He died for me. (Romans 5:8) It goes against everything I feel. Feelings are flawed. I don’t trust myself to make any decisions right now and if it weren’t for Jesus, I would feel hopeless, but it just means that I have no choice but to trust Him completely. He smiles as He sees me stumble into that realization, knowing that that’s how it’s been all along. He doesn’t say “I told you so”, He says “I love you. I’ve got this. Trust me.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Lord, let me never forget that truth.

So as I stumble towards surrender, I pray I never forget how flawed I am and how much I need my savior and how much good He has in store for me as I trust him.

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,

for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.

There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace

to help us when we need it most.

(Hebrews 4:15-16)

In Him,

Sarah Kolb

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