Over the last several months, I have felt burdened and heavy under the weight of life and the struggles that come from living in a world filled with sin. I have struggled to find the joy and desire to write, not only within this blog, but also in the book that I have been working on "A Land of Shadows". It is hard to know that while in the midst of trying to write about the shadows and pictures seen in this life that reflect God and His beauty that my eyes continue to find the taint of sin. The taint of sin isn't found anywhere in God, for He is just, pure, and holy. The taint comes when we begin to examine those who are supposed to reflect His glory and yet fail miserably to do so. I have been so discouraged that even the thought of beginning to write another chapter or refine an already established one sounded like the worst chore and burden that someone could lay upon me. How could I write about the glory of God when those who are supposed to reflect His love and grace display such horrid actions of hatred, contempt, self-righteousness, and a lack of mercy? How could I begin to proclaim the glories of God when my soul felt crushed by this world, by the actions and deeds of those who would attempt to proclaim that they are children of God? How could I express thankfulness, when so much in this life was bringing me sorrow and pain? How could I show others the love of God, when I felt so low and broken?
Over the last month, God has been good. He has been gracious and kind to me. He has provided me with comfort and care, and I want to be clear that in all of my struggles over the past few months, God has never been the one to let me down or fail me in any way. His mercies have been sweet, and are the only thing that has carried me through. God has used many things to carry me through this time, and I am so very thankful for that. He has caused me to become more reliant on Him and to understand how horrid we are on our own.
I am so thankful for music. It has always been one of my greatest joys in life. It can lift the soul to heaven, all while causing self to be laid very low. There have been several songs that have brought me peace and have been used by God to carry me throughout the past several months. I would like to share them, and to share the reasons that they have been so merciful to me.
The first song is, "Cry for You", by Lecrae. This song has been the perfect reflection for so many of my thoughts. If you haven't listened to it because you don't like rap music or just because you haven't had the chance to, I would highly encourage you to do it today. It is an expression of what God has been doing in Lecrae over the past year or so. It also reflects the brokenness that I have felt and also the peace that resting in Jesus brings. When we rest and cry for God to draw near to us, we draw near to Him. It is a very emotional song, one that often brings tears to my eyes as I think about how sinful I am, and yet how loving and merciful God is and has been to me. The second is also by Lecrae, entitled: "I'll Find You". It expresses the joy of knowing that we can't do anything on our own, but we have a God who will never leave us or forsake us. He fights for us, even when the pain is so deep that we feel like it would be impossible to carry on.
The third song is "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North. It expresses the deep pain and burden of living in a world filled with sin, but follows that by expressing the joy found by resting in the only thing that we can rest in; the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who sits on the throne and intercedes for us before the Father.
The fourth song, "After You", by Britt Nicole is one that continues to provide me with encouragement that all I need to do is seek after God and everything else will fall into place. When we hold Him first and foremost, nothing else can draw away our joy. For all true joy is found in Christ and only in Christ. It is a reflection of the truths expressed by Solomon, that nothing in this world is worth anything, that it is all vanity and worthless. The only thing of worth is found in Christ.
The next few songs have brought me encouragement and hope. Broke and 8:28 by Lecrae, Get Through, Bring You War, Sing to You, and Not Today Satan by KB. All of these songs have pieces that have helped me and given me strength. Broke speaks about the way that being brought low, physically and mentally can actually help us grow. 8:28 is from Romans 8:28, speaking towards that fact that God always works everything for the good of those who love Him. The songs by KB are anthems of hope and resistance to temptation and sin. Satan has no hold over us, for those who believe Jesus is God, because Christ has already conquered the grave and holds the bounds to what Satan can do.
So, to answer the questions that I posed at the beginning of this post, I have been blessed to be called by God. I have been given a gift, that only means something when used for Him. He is the one that carries and upholds His children, we cannot do it on our own accord. When we are weak, He is ever strong. When we are hurt, He heals. When others seek to destroy us, He fights our battles. When we feel crushed, He restores.
May we all seek to live in a manner that glorifies God alone. When others fail to do so, may we have an overabundant amount of mercy and grace, for have we not all been given much! The Lord is good and His love endures forever.