“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“What I needed was hope. Optimism is seeing how circumstances will get better, but hope is seeing God’s love and care in the midst of bad circumstances. Hope is the refuge in uncertainty when optimism runs dry.” ~ Bonnie Gray
“Our hope comes in Jesus, even when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do. Even when He doesn’t fix what’s broken in our life… When Jesus is with us, He’s our anchor in the rough waters of a troubled life. If we want to survive the storm we need to cling to Him like the salvation He is.” ~ Laura Story
“God has graciously, lovingly and compassionately taken each piece of the jigsaw that was pulled out and scattered. He has then placed the pieces so perfectly back to where they came from. The difference about the pieces this time is that they are much stronger, and much more refined.” ~ Francesca Price
“…I’m an empty page I’m an open book Write your story on my heart Come on and make your mark Author of my hope Maker of the stars Let me be your work of art Won’t you write your story on my heart…”
Nature Is a Retreat of Hope
“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.” ~ Linda Hogan ~
Thank you to my brother John for these stunning photos. 🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
That is what we are? Children of God? Yes! God is a Father who will never, ever hurt us like earthly fathers sometimes do. He delights in us, so deeply that Jesus came to suffer and die in our place. Willingly. Lovingly. Lavishly.
Do you ever feel like you know this in your head, but your heart sometimes struggles to believe it? Your legs feel too rubbery to get up and move forward and receive this truth He so freely offers? Your hands feel too weak to take hold of His proffered hand of love and grace? Especially in times of vulnerability when Satan pummels us with his vicious lies and stomps us under his feet?
Believe me, Satan knows where we’re most vulnerable. Terminal or chronic illness can sap our energy. Depression and other mental illnesses can suck us down, down, down into a deep, dark hole where we lose hope and can’t see a speck of light anymore to lead us out. Losses of so many kinds can make us wonder where God is. Loss of self and devastation of lives through abuse or other traumas. The death of loved ones. Betrayals. Desertions. Divisions. Loss of jobs and financial means. The pandemic and all its repercussions. And on and on it goes. And Satan stalks as a hungry and determined lion watching, waiting, and pouncing on us when we’re weak and vulnerable.
When we’re discouraged, we become an easy target, and it can be harder to fight off those negative voices of never being enough. Those critical voices that say we’re unlovable, unwanted, and surely not needed in this world. Those vicious voices that say Jesus does not care and there is no hope or help for us.
Satan knows exactly when our bodies or souls are weary and feeling too weak to hang onto God’s truth. He sometimes convinces us to look through our lens of skewed perspectives because of past or present trauma and hurting words and actions that can drown out the remembrance of our identity in Christ Jesus. He doesn’t want us to look through the lens of truth that we are Jesus’ beloved, that Jesus cares so deeply, and He is with us no matter how difficult our struggles are.
Recently, I was looking through that distorted lens before I even realized it. My heart became so heavy, and I couldn’t understand why. Help me, Jesus! I turned to the One who knows and understands the deepest troubles of our hearts. The One who cries with us and longs for us to release our burdens into His hands.
And He graciously opened one of His promises to me:
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you!” Romans 16:20
Yes, Jesus in His powerful love and grace has already gained the victory over Satan, but as long as we’re on earth, Satan will try his utmost to bring us to doubt that truth. The grace of Jesus will always be with us here and help us through the heaviest trial, but won’t that be a glorious day when Satan will forever be crushed under our feet?!
If we hear condemning or shaming voices, it’s not God. God may sometimes lead us in a way of correction out of love, but He will never condemn us even when we fail or fall. Even though He knows that in our weakness, we sometimes do take up those distorted lens Satan digs up and gives us. He can and will remove those lens and again give us His lens of love and grace. The lens He sees us through. His lovable and wanted child who is needed in this world to spread the same love He gives us to others.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” Jeremiah 31:3