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I’m in the middle of writing an article on loneliness as a means to drive us deeper into God’s heart and was just struck by the passage this nugget came from. The context is distress and anguish, feeling the grip of death’s crushing pull. Maybe you can relate. But the author of this psalm lifts his eyes above his circumstances and prays for deliverance. He meditates on the character of God; how He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. He remembers what God has done; how He preserves the simple and rescued him when he was flat on his back, hopeless and alone. Then comes verse seven. Circumstances haven’t changed for the author but, then again, God’s worthiness to be worshipped has never been contingent on ideal circumstances. No matter what our lives might look like right now, no matter how uncomfortable or excruciating our circumstances might be, if we have been redeemed by Jesus, we have every reason to “return to our rest;” for the the Lord INDEED has dealt bountifully with us. And He is worthy of our praise and confidence right here. •••• [Also, 1) this is not a staged photo and 2) you should go read all of Psalm 116 for yourself.]
Happy birthday to the best big sister! 🥳 You are as genuine and intentional as they get; you love deep and feel big, and I’m so thankful for your heart and life. 💜 Additionally, I’d like to know how much you were paid to hug me in this photo.
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.” -Charles Spurgeon
“Theologians who limit the means of grace to overtly redemptive religious practices miss something about the God who speaks without words in the theater of His creation.” -David Powlison

Follow me as I follow Jesus

What if it’s Supposed to Be Hard?

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We were gathered around a picnic table of fried food and milkshakes when one of my darling small group girls confessed an ongoing struggle to spend time reading the Bible.

As we swapped mutual experiences and compared war wounds, it became clear that this was not an infection exclusive to just one girl but something each of us battle daily.

Diagnostic questions followed.

Why is it easier to watch Gilmore Girls or play on our phones than study Scripture?
Why do we say we don’t have time to get in the Word but spend extensive time each day watching Netflix or perusing Snapchat and Instagram?
Why don’t we wake up every morning in a hurry to fling the blankets off because we’re so excited to pore over the Bible?
Why is it often hard to start reading Scripture?

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In between bites of onion rings and mozzarella sticks, we admitted our individual answers:

We’re not avid readers of anything.
We’re lazy.
We’d rather do something that took less brainpower.
We don’t want to be convicted.

I’m so grateful for the maturity God has given my girls that reveals itself (in one way) through their honesty with themselves and each other. It’s God’s grace in action that would cause them to call themselves out and say hard truth about their own souls, and what a benefit that is to everyone. I learn so much from them.

As discussion continued, a random thought came to me:

What if it’s supposed to be hard?

What if Bible study isn’t supposed to be easy?

What if it’s supposed to make us feel dumb at times?

What if Bible study isn’t supposed to be fast food but a slow process of digging and retrieving and cooking and feasting on what will truly satisfy?

What if it’s difficult because it’s supposed to further expose our limited understanding and need of the Holy Spirit?

What if Bible study is difficult because, as my dad says, “Anything God is for the enemy is against”?

What if it’s hard because our flesh is being exposed and disciplined?

What if Bible study is challenging so it will push us to Christ?

What if it’s sometimes difficult so we not only appreciate it more but further depend on God for the illumination necessary for comprehension?

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This is remarkably freeing, isn’t it? 

This thought shifts the focus from our abilities and onto the Lord, the only One who can breathe life into His Words.

Remember that deliverance from our body of death and fleshly desires, which take us captive and wage war against the law of our minds, comes through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:21-25).

Take heart, friends. By His life and death (and life again), Jesus has given us the strength to resist the flesh and plow into Scripture, trusting Him for wisdom, help, and mercy in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

“The Word of God was never given to make our flesh feel good; it was given to confront us with our worldly and fleshly thinking. The Word takes us to the cross.” Michael Catt

 

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