Thursday, June 9, 2016

Great Things

Psalm ‭31:19‬ ‭- Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!

Our Lord longs to do great things with each of us. All of creation is for His glory. He has always done great things for those who want Him to. When we submit to Him, give Him our lives, He can do great things in and through us too. It was His plan all along. Now we must seek Him for this.

We just had our floors buffed and coated. We needed help moving furniture. We have some association with Milwaukee Teen Challenge. This is a faith-based organization for men and women (not necessarily teens) who have abused use of mainly drugs or alcohol. It is a year long program where through the love of Christ they are taught discipline through the Word of God until they have recovered. For many, the power of God is undeniably successful. And they begin to see it and live it out.

So we had a group of four students in the program and Mark, the Dean of Men, remove the furniture one day and return a couple days later to replace it. When they were done this afternoon we all went out back on the deck to just enjoy the weather and chit chat. I asked Mark if these four guys were great testimonies. He said, "Yes, ma'am, they are." I did not ask for their testimonies, although it's an encouragement to hear them. Mark pointed to one guy and asked him to give a one minute testimony. And he had the other three do the same. 

The last young man had been the quietest of the bunch. Maybe he'd not been in the program as long. He began his touching testimony. He grew up in a great, church-going family environment. He said he was married to a beautiful wife and had three children. One day she left, leaving the children behind. It was devastating to him. He began drinking heavily. He became silent, turned his head so no one could see him and remained that way for a very long minute. He apologized and admitted he had never told anybody that. I'm assuming the part about his wife and family. Then continued his story about how his mother has been an encouragement in all this and is taking care of his children. I think he apologized again. 

Mark told him it was okay to feel like that. I chimed in that it is another step towards healing. It so reminds me of what Jesus said: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew‬ ‭11:28-29‬)  Jesus is a much better comfort than drugs or alcohol. 

Sometimes we carry burdens we really should let go of. We can shove them so deep within to put them out of our minds. But they never go away. We are told to face the struggle head on. It's all we can do. If we do it with the Lord, He will help us. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Corinthians 4:16-18)  I think of the three men in the Bible who were thrown into the fire. Their professed faith in God alone saw them through. They came out of the fire unscathed without even an odor of smoke. And bystanders asked who the fourth person was...only three entered. Our God will be beside us in trials if we allow Him.

When we allow ourselves to unearth these hidden things buried so deep and go through the hurt to release them, we begin our healing. We confess our hurts to Him. We lighten our burden. And it's part of why He has given us Jesus. He has told us above to give Him the burden. But that means submitting to Him. 

I think God can do a great work in this young man. He might even have caused him to reveal this secret thing. I know from experience when we admit something a burden is lifted. It's like Jesus is right there ready to start healing. This is an amazing God we have. He can do great things in and through each of us when we give in to Him and give our burdens to Him. He fights our battles. He strengthens. He comforts. After the tears are shed we rest, an inexorable rest. We understand just what the peace that passes all understanding is. I'm praying that Jacob, this young man, will experience this. 

After the guys left I stopped to pray for them, for perseverance in their time with Teen Challenge and after. As I prayed, a scripture ran through my head. God is so faithful. He cares so much about each one of us, more than we can imagine. He will do this if we give our lives to Him, receive Him into our lives and hearts. It's all He wants. I pray Jacob will experience this. The scripture:

‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:25‬ ‭- So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...

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