Jesus said that in this life we would have trouble but to take “heart” because he had overcome the world. (John 16:33)
How and what does it mean to take heart? The word Heart has several definitions, but the two that make the most sense today and in our culture are:
The title of this post is derived from out of thin air. 🙂 It is just what came to me, which I pray that the Holy Spirit has a plan to reveal something that means something. I trust though, that where I am going with the title needs a little back story-telling.
I have struggled (right, who hasn’t?) for years now. Off and on I’ve felt quite a burden. It’s funny because you may ask…well what was happening for the 32 years before you struggled? Ah ha! Yes, that’s a good question. I would answer that I just was not aware of the struggle. I was indeed struggling since my first breath but was completely oblivious to it. It only equated itself to me differently…in the form of “everyday problems” or just “living life”.
Only very very recently has it been revealed to my consciousness that I am struggling with fear. Again I say…we are all struggling. And we are all struggling with fear as it is the rock bottom issue in humanity. It undergirds every choice we make, and is not actually a bad thing all the time. But, as a Believer in Christ, I am constantly encouraged by the Holy Spirit to let go of the fears I have created, or that were created in me and believe in the Power of God and the protection of Him even in death.
For this exact reason the apostle Paul suggested that we be glad in the struggle: but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope..(Romans 5:3-4) AND For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6) AND MY MOST FAVORITE:
7even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So. If Jesus says we can take “heart”, what does that mean about the troubles and our struggles? There are times that I can just take a deep breath and peacefully concede that Jesus has overcome everything. At other times, and most recently, He has helped (although it never felt like help) reveal a thorn in my flesh called fear. I have other thorns, but will just be focusing on this one today. This blog post would say FULL if I shared every thorn in this flesh! HA! Fear is the one that I have been coming back again and again to lately.
I have this and therefore I cannot boast to you that I am perfect. I am being perfectED. Just like you are. God is not mad at me because I have this thorn, as if He didn’t want me to have it, he would not allow it. I do believe He wants to USE it though. He wants to use it to remind me of Him.
Previously, I have just been so afraid of my fear that I’ve spent plenty of time cozy in a place of tension and stress. My fears are so deep that I really can’t even tell you WHAT exactly I am afraid of other than I am afraid to fail at being me. I am fully aware and cognizant that being me is great, and I really try to do that, but there are times that a spirit of fear has a grip on me. I am still in the discovery process, so I can’t truly give a concise or concrete outline for anyone wondering. There are probably so many fears that I can’t even start! The good news I can share is that I am in the process of walking through them-each one that presents itself, and I think that is the scariest feeling but I know I’m going to see God more brightly in each step and season. A small example might be that after I made a conscious decision that I will return to school to finish whatever I need to in order to start doing counseling fear stepped in. After that exciting thought and pondering how amazing it would be to walk through life with others as they struggle I also entered into another period of extreme stress and anxiousness. After 3 million other things taking 1st place in what I thought I was struggling with that could make me so anxious…I realized that I am most likely deeply fearful of a calling I feel God has on my life to love on and counsel my fellow strugglers. But…I carry on toward the goal that God is calling me to. Fear in this area will at some point stop following me in regard to this venture.
Back to the take heart… If we are to take heart… and the heart is the most central place within us physically and spiritually then we have to remember a few things: We are backed by God, who is the Center of EVERYTHING. He has placed a muscle in the center of our physical bodies that makes our life continue to pump on. That muscle is buffered by our lungs… So, he’s given us breath as well to LIVE. We have the Central Muscle to carry the burdens of this life as well as the Holy Spirit buffering that Center with Truth and healing. We are not alone.
Now to tear the lie apart. Jesus didn’t say that we would have troubles as a passing side comment. Our troubles are not an accident. We are living in a day and age that says to fix problems and to pretend we don’t have any. That is tough work seeing that we actually do have problems and some that are undeniable.
I urge you to believe today that your problems and even your areas of sin struggle are NOT an accident. Pride is a huge sin, and it hides in the heart of all men. So, it’s no different from the sexual sin that another is struggling in. These are all not accidental but providential.
In reference to the Scriptures, many characters in them were involved in many a struggle, but there was one defining factor. Not the sins or who was doing the sinning.
The defining factor was those who met God in the struggles and chose to BELIEVE. They used the struggles to see and believe in God more closely and intensely. They were set apart and continue to be this very day. You and Me. Tear apart the lie that struggle is just a thing that is happening, and not part of God’s providential plan. Stay close to the heart and Center which is our God who plans all things for the good of those who Love Him. He isn’t asking for a flawless life, he looking for you to be dauntless enough to keep going through the struggles and to trust Him and His plans.
Love you sweet friends in Christ!!
Love and Life from your wandering Warrior of Hope,