Lately, I have been exposed to behaviors of others that make me want to scream. Yet, I endeavor to find the lessons of these experiences to be my most excellent teachers. As difficult as this can be, I make do with the knowledge and the adventures God has provided to me. And I move on.
A text I shared last week with my good friend exposed some of these instances. Instances, both from her side and mine. My response to her challenges was, “The nature of some people in this human experience never ceases to amaze me.” Then I thought of God and His glory and reveled in these words.
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.6 The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! 8 He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.9 He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalm 147:3-11 (ESV)
No matter my quirks, disobedience, and sinful natures, God heals the wounds and disappointments of my heart. On a clear night from the backyard, I view His masterpieces in every star, as they light up the sky. In all He consistently does, I should never be limited of praise to Him. This is one of my daily duties. To be an outcast from His glory comes from personal decisions and choices. But oh! What a forgiving God we have! Our God, holding aseity! Having self-existence, who remains not being dependent on anyone else. Who else can say this, right?
My, oh my! We should always be dependent on Him as he consistently provides apokatastasis (Jeremiah 16:15b), that state of blessedness, that time of “restoration” of our current situations and our souls. The restoration, which cometh only from Jesus Christ.
As we read through the poetic verses above, high notes pronounce elements of God’s incredible power. His dominion in design, in the natural world, and His rule of record as in His mercy on us today. There’s so much to grasp and to hold on to in this minute element of verses, which exist as part of the five wisdom poetical books of the Old Testament. The expressions here, of devotion and reverence to God, seem almost to make the behaviors of those who bring levels of deep annoyance and confusion in my current life dissipate. Then I stop to ask the questions, “Who are you, Charlotte?” My response is often, “I am a child of God.” “Then why on this earth do you continue to let the behaviors of others affect you at times?” Usually, my response is, “Because I am not self-existent, and I must always go to God. Only He can provide me with the answers, the next steps, and only He allows me to wait for clarity.”
How easily we forget when we are absorbed in this human reality. When we fail to go to God first, and, even so, God comes to us too. Like this sweet, beautiful text I received from one of my most incredible male friends. He sent it to me last week at the time I’d experienced a day of doubts concerning a few events in my life.
Unexpectedly, he said to me.
“You are one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. And, that’s the truth!”
Right then, I teared up, and became more grounded than I’d ever been on this day. Through my friend’s note to me, I saw God’s beautiful words protecting me, guiding me, calming me, and validating me. I pray in future instances of annoyance and confusion, I move toward these words and remember to always:
Praise the Lord!
1Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Psalm 150:1-2 (ESV)
In friends who listen to us, there’s God! In friends who cheer us, there’s God! In friends who encourage us, there’s God. When we emphasize God’s capacity in our lives, we develop new lens of trust, self-control, and gentleness in daily interactions. He’s here to bless and help us to walk through our struggles. In Him, we matter.
As in Moses who rejected the proffered settlement of Pharaoh (Exodus 10:24-28), we must always be conscious of what’s within us and before us. Moments that beg us to seriously decipher upon the results of our actions. Do we concede to anger or do we seek out ways to rectify any situation? Do we allow ourselves to follow God’s leadings? Do we listen to God through His written words, like Moses did through God’s spoken words, in his response to Pharaoh?
Now I know this is lot to consider, because, after all we are humans trying to maneuver through this life. Yet, self-control is one of the fruits of His Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Right here in this Pauline Verse, we see that gentleness prefaces, self-control. Much as we are tempted to sometimes digress from the Apostle Paul’s instructions here, or in any of his Letters and Epistles, let’s always consider peace in our various challenges and complications. Let’s try to not scream, but instead, we pray.
As, we grow, together!
Of note and relevance:
The Greek word of apokatastasis sometimes shows up in Gnostic theology. However, it is used here in this reflection to ground God’s blessings of restoration in our lives. We see the word used by Peter in Acts 3:21. However, Jeremiah 16:15b, discusses that God “restores” the people of Israel.
Of course, when we go deeper into the Bible, so much more is revealed. This takes dedicated time to obtain great understanding. I pray you’ll take a few moments to spend knowing God better on this day.