My friends, it has been a long time since my last post. There are things rumbling around in my heart, but nothing ever seems quite right, and frankly, I believe the problem is that I’ve never come out and said directly what is in my heart for you.
What I want for you more than anything is to know Jesus.
Jesus is the only reason my life works. And my friends, I very much like my life. Many of my circumstances are beyond miserable, yet I like my life.
That is BIG. I know that is big. My world should feel small, but it doesn’t. It feels wide-open. It feels like there are things to live for, people to love, people to know. And it truly is all because of Jesus.
It didn’t always feel this way. There was a process. I have waded through grief, hopelessness, discouragement, fear… But through all of this, I have fought to let Jesus be the foundation I build my life on. It’s the thing I place the most value in. It’s the thing I trust most to be true. And it has made me feel safe when my circumstances are at their worst.
Because of this, I find myself repeating the same plea of comfort year after year — “Jesus, I need You. I need You. I need You. As long as You are with me, I’ll be okay.” And friends, He has never left me. In fact, He promises us (because He dearly loves all of us), “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
The end result is that I am hopeful because He has filled me with hope when I had none. I am comforted because He has given me comfort in my most tender moments. I have compassion to give because I have received an astounding amount of grace. I have done nothing but let God meet me, and it has been incredible.
If you want to know what God is like… If you want to see the kinds of things He does, read the verses below (Isaiah 61:1-3).
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up [address / heal the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty [freedom] to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor [blessing],
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
[taking the weak and making them strong]
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
That is what He is like. That is what He does! He extends special attention, love, grace, peace to the broken, to the sick, to the captive. He not only comforts them, but He comes to make them free and to make them strong.
There is this lie that says God loves / blesses / favors / advances only those who work hard, those who are qualified, those who do everything right, those who have “made something” of themselves… But the TRUTH is that God’s love is based upon who He is (good, kind, merciful, just), not upon what we do. No qualification. No conditions. His heart is moved specifically for those who are suffering because of His love for us.
My friends, Jesus sees the misery, the pain, the most tender parts of your soul that you could never even describe. You are not forgotten. He sees those places, and He wants to comfort you and make your world BIG.
Today, I’m talking to two kinds of friends:
To those who already know God, but may have forgotten that He still has life for you… Oh dear friend, you are not alone. The enemy has lied to you and has kicked you when you’re down. But the TRUTH is that your life can still be so very full. Jesus can make your life more full than even when you were well. God isn’t limited by your limits. He wants to meet you and shower you with affection. Please, take some time right now to pray something like this:
“Jesus, thank You that You offer me love and comfort regardless of what I do to ‘earn’ it. I’m sorry for forgetting that You want to care for me in my suffering. I know that You promise to be near the brokenhearted, and that’s me. I don’t want these miserable circumstances to overshadow who You are to me and what You can do. I know You aren’t limited by my limitations. Thank You for choosing to be with me. Please help me to remember I can ask for help all the time, and you will always answer. Please show me what it means for my world to be BIG. I want everything You have for me. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.”
And to my dear friends who don’t yet know God… Oh my, you are loved. You are loved for who you are, right where you are. I follow Jesus because I know He is good. I know that He died in order to bring us life. I know that when I let Him lead my life, I experience joy and excitement. I want you to know Jesus, because I know He has that same love and life for you. If you want to know this Jesus, then when you are ready, pray a prayer like this:
“Jesus, I want to experience life in You. I know I’ve done wrong things in my life that have separated me from You. I don’t want that anymore. I’m sorry Jesus; please forgive me and show me this new way to live — full of who You are… full of love, comfort, hope, peace. I want to follow You. I want to live in the full life that You offer. Thank You for loving me just because of who I am. Amen.” If you have just prayed this, please reach out to me or another friend who knows Jesus… and let us connect you to a church where you can learn more. One of the amazing things things about God is His promise to put the lonely into families (Psalm 68:6). He wants to give you even more family. He wants to give you a place to be encouraged and grow.
My dear friends, there just aren’t enough words to describe how good God is. Every bit of His character is good (Psalm 119:68). My greatest hope in the world is that you open your heart to hear from Him.
One of my favorite verses says that “If we are faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). Though all of our doubts, Jesus never abandons us, never stops loving us. He wants to be near you. He wants to meet you right where you are.
Be blessed. Be loved. Be known and comforted, because He has seen us and come to rescue us.