Setting Our Hearts to Rest


I want to wait on the Lord!

I want to be faithful!

I want to hear His voice and trust His hand!

I want to “not fear anything that is frightening.” (I Peter 3:6)

Sometimes the Lord allows circumstances into our lives that are uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. But they are not without purpose – even when we can’t see that purpose.

Being set upon an anvil, the heat is increased, and the re-shaping is painful, but it is good.

Growing physically can have discomfort, but it is good.

There is goodness in God allowing hard places into our lives regardless of the discomfort in various ways. Naturally, we don’t like it, but I don’t want to miss the moment; I don’t want to miss what He wants me to learn and how He wants me to grow.

We can trust the One who is Creator and Sustainer because, as CS Lewis so poignantly said of Aslan, a beautiful picture of Christ in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “He is not safe, but He is good!”

Yes, we are safe in His arms, but He is still the Almighty King of all even as He has mercy on His children; He reigns as Judge but remains our Father for those who have put their faith in Him.

We can be carried by Him, but we must never mistake that familiarity and that tenderness for a casual relationship. Were we to be in His presence, we would fall to our knees in the face of His glory!

And THAT is good!

We live in a time of history when our “plans” have been and are being, as the proverbial apple cart, “completely upset,” totally upended.

We find the news of each new day a little more unsettling regardless of our response to it.

And the ground beneath doesn’t just feel shaky, it is.

But, therein lies the importance of knowing the certainty of your foundation.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…’Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)

If my confidence is built on my health…

If my security is based on what I own…

If my joy is dependent on my circumstances…

If my hope is built on my abilities and/or my job…

If my steadfastness is built on my plans…

I will eventually be moved; I will be shaken!

But, if “…my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him…” then “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken…” (Psalm 62:5-6)

When what I see is unclear, when what I desire is either hindered, set back, or is no more, when the circumstances around me are unsure…I must choose to stand on what I know more than on what I feel.

I must choose faith in the God who doesn’t change.

I must choose trust in the One who has the ability to say to the seas, “This far and no farther!”

I must choose joy that comes from a knowledge of and settling in the truth of God’s Word and His character, His ability to settle any frustration or fear.

I must choose to say, ”The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights…” (Habakkuk 3:19)

I must choose to cling to the fact that life in this fallen world will not always “feel” good; in fact, it may feel quite the opposite. But God is in the midst of doing things in us and in our world we cannot see.

He is getting the world’s attention and our own. The world is unsettled, but He stands secure.

Will I rail against what He is trying to do in and through me? Or will I say, “Not my will but yours, Lord – use me!” and then respond to His answers.

Will I grow angry with the response whether I think it is too much or too little? Or will I be faithful in the little things, courageous and bold to speak life to those I encounter, “giving reason for the hope (in Christ) that I have…with gentleness” (I Peter 3:15) that is not dependent on my ease and my comfort, pointing them to the life-giving Gospel that sets eternity in motion both now and forever!

Will I give that word of comfort and a smile of hope to those I encounter whose very faces are etched with fear?

Will I humble myself before the Lord, asking Him to cleanse me, His child, of all unrighteousness, to show me my sin, and to ask Him to change me so that, as I seek His face, He might heal our land?

Will I pray not only for an end to difficult situations and how they affect me, but pray even more fervently for the Lord to bring glory to Himself, that He be exalted in all the earth?

Will I ask Him to soften hard hearts and give sight to blind eyes, even those long settled in a false sense of protection who are still trying to earn their way to Him, that they might see their need of the Savior and be redeemed by His work for us?

Will I, hand in hand, “serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling?” (Psalm 2:11)

And when I am too weary or saddened to choose well, will I call out to my Abba Father, my Jehovah Shalom, “Carry me! Be my peace! Give me the faith to trust when I can’t see, the strength to reset my stand!”

The world is in an odd place right now, one we have never known; everything we have counted on and set our security upon is being tossed. But our God is not caught unaware; our God is not shaken.

None of us are exempt from some measure of the “uncomfortable” in all of this.  But the Lord has called us to “carry one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2), to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

The Lord never calls us to walk alone even when we have to “self-isolate.”  He is “near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth”  (Psalm 145:18) and He has given us “one another” whether it be in close proximity or through the gift of technology.  Let me walk this road with you; let me carry your burdens even if it is just for you to share the fears you have. I would count it a privilege to pray for you, to take you to our Father’s throne of grace, as you share your concerns with me.

My hope IS built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, and so I can choose to “set my eyes on things above not on things below.” (Colossians 3:2)

And, as I do that in the power of the Holy Spirit who is able to supernaturally create that response in me, I will increase my trust and faith in the Lord and decrease my draw towards growing angry with or fearful of circumstances.

When I feel my heart start to tremble, I will ask the Lord to teach me to “be still and KNOW that He is God” and let His Spirit set my soul at rest.

Long ago, when we were facing some significant decisions, my husband and I were having a conversation about it in the car, our small children were in the backseat. Obviously, I was expressing some concerns and it was evident. Softly at first, then growing a little more intense, the clear little voice of my then three-year old daughter came from the back seat singing:

“I cast all my cares upon You;

I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.

And, any time, I don’t know what to do,

I will cast all my cares upon You.”

Out of the mouth of babes, God reset my heart to trust Him for what I couldn’t see! He gave me a supernatural peace unexplainable in human terms.

I ask Him to do that again for me, for my family, for you in this moment and the next!

As we are in Christ, we can be assured; we can “set our hope fully on the grace to be given us at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” (I Peter 1:13) and we can rest, truly rest!

In His Joy and Peace,


Forgiveness is a Choice

“Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did he use a kiss to show them?
That’s not what a kiss is for.

 Only a friend can betray a friend 
A stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain”   (Michael Card)  

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself…” Philippians 2:5-7

A word is spoken, a deed is done, a spark is lit, and a fire rages.  The wounds of another, especially a friend, can burn deeply and leave a pit so vast that it takes our very breath away.

We weep and others weep with us.  We cry out, “why?” with few good answers; the silence is deafening.

It is at those times that we, who have been redeemed by the Savior, have to hang on to and live out the Truth on which we stand.

It is not always comfortable to position ourselves there because everything in us wants to lash out and change the circumstances.  We want to establish that we are right, and we want others to come alongside and battle with us.

Having others encourage us is right and good.  Paul tells us in Romans 12:15 to “weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn” and certainly broken relationships cause us to weep for ourselves, and those who love us will share our pain. But we must take care that it doesn’t become a rehashing of grievances that leads to bitterness infecting many. (Hebrews 12:15)

To look at a situation and see the insanity and hurtfulness of it is sometimes reality.

To lovingly confront sin in a brother or sister for the specific purpose of restoring them is commanded.

To face that one who has injured us and ask for answers or to share the pain we have experienced at their hand, with redemption and restoration being the end goal, is part of growing relationships, and it is good.

But when the conversation does not bring answers or does not end in the way we would like, or when their response is less than agreeable, we have a choice.

We can certainly “blame” another for our hurt, our wounds, and our attitude because they have truly done something hurtful.  But is that our “call?”  Will it bring peace and comfort to our souls and healing to the relationship?

To give up our pain is not to deny another’s sin or hurtful actions nor to make light of them; neither is it to absolve the other from any guilt in their decisions.

Rather, it is to go beyond what we “feel” and see and be obedient to and imitate our Savior, who humbly gave up His rights and forgave those who rejected Him and ultimately asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him.

His Word is clear, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18) and “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

The other person may need correction and, depending on the severity of the action, consequences, even punishment. But apart from that aspect of it, we must focus on our attitude towards them and our response.

We can choose, in the words of a respected mentor, “to grow bitter or better,” to be submissive to God’s command to us and ultimately “strengthen feeble arms and weak knees” * giving up our right to hurt the one who has hurt us rather than foster the pain and bitterness that will widen the rift between us, bleed out to others, and ultimately create a hardness in us.

That is forgiveness; that is faithfulness over our feelings.

Hanging on to injuries of the heart is a choice to not give up “childish ways” (I Corinthians 13:11) which will wound us more deeply and for a greater length of time than the hurt caused by our brother or sister.

Additionally, it can spread like gangrene and create a bitter root that will be harder to dig out in our own lives and may defile others (Hebrews 12:15).

What does it mean to “defile something?”  To corrupt or ruin something.  How it must grieve our Father’s heart for brothers and sisters in Christ to have broken relationships, corrupted and sometimes ruined, because of our choice to nurture pain.

We can say, “It’s their fault that I am hurt,”and it may well be.  But while the original issue may begin with another’s actions, we have a decision to let that grow into massive emotional destruction that has the potential to leave a barren wasteland or to put out the fire early and allow the process of healing and reconstruction to begin.

What we see and what we “feel” can often deceive. We can hang on to wounds from people, especially those we love, and allow them to fester or see them in light of truth and give them up to God to heal and use them for His glory and our greatest good.

We are responsible for our actions and attitudes not another’s response to them; so, when we stand and act on His Word that is true and don’t waiver, we will come out with a greater view of and deeper love for our Savior, a peace that comes from obedience, and an opportunity to point others to Him even if the circumstances don’t change.

In the words of an old friend, “When injured, don’t try to harm; instead, try to heal. Start with rejoicing…Seek reconciliation rather than revenge.”

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God‘s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  I Corinthians 13:11-12

*”Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and your weak knees.  Make level paths for your feet so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Hebrews 12:12-13