Lord, if thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless thou shouldst say it to me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, "I am thy salvation." Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am thine, and that thou art mine. (Spurgeon)
I've sort of always disliked the use of the word "season" in terms of discussing christian life and our walk. It sounds so "christianese" to me...so "pat". But lately, I've come to like it mostly because I've been struggling...a lot...and the idea that this time is like a season (which comes and goes and is followed by something else) is encouraging to me. Seasons change, winter is followed by spring...and I SO long for spring right now!
This winter of my heart has been cold, hard, and long. I've done all I know to do to stoke the fires and make it warm again, to bear the cold with cheerfulness, to keep myself from being overcome, but this winter is a formidable opponent. And, the reality is that I can do nothing in my own power to change my heart, my habits, or my life.
With Him all things are possible.
With Him is peace.
With Him are precious promises...a hope...a future.
He says that He is always watching over the way of His saints. That He goes before us to seek out a place for us, carrying and guiding us the whole way. He says that He orders our steps and establishes our plans. He upholds our hand lest we fall headlong. And He promises to fight our battles, to deliver us from all of our afflictions, and to work all things together for good.
The problem is accepting His definition of good...and remembering the truth of His promises when what He calls good doesn't look or feel like it. This is a matter of faith and trust because often His working in our circumstances and answers to our prayers aren’t what we expect them to be. But, as Elisabeth Elliot says, “What God gives in answer to our prayers will always be the thing we most urgently need, and it will always be sufficient.”
Our vision is temporal, God’s is eternal. What we pray for is often more governed by our view, emotions, and reason. But God’s answer will always be eternally and kingdom minded. He knows that what we need more than ideal circumstances is patience, peace, love, joy, kindness, endurance, character, compassion, discipline, and holiness. We need a righteousness that is like unto our Savior.
We need to know that He is…and that He is our Savior.
We need Him to say to our soul, in the midst of trials and disappointments and failure and sin that He is our salvation. When we know that…when our soul hears and receives that…what else matters, really?
Is illness, infidelity, immorality, betrayal, personality, media, poverty, weight, habits, gluttony, sex, crime, drugs, drink, bitterness, loss or death bigger than our Savior? Can they separate us from or stem the tide of His mercy and lovingkindness for one second? Can their pleasures promise to never cease? Can their torments promise to flee forever? No.
He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He promises that His love endures forever. He promises that His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. He promises that His grace is sufficient for us. He promises that His blood makes us wholly clean and that His righteousness will be ours. And He promises that He is our salvation, bearing us into eternity, before the throne, accepted forever and ever.
Praise be to God, forever, who promises this and more…who says to our soul “I am thy salvation”!