“The Lord our God is ever faithful – never changing through the ages,” so I sang this morning as I struggled to focus on editing a financial blog. My Monday morning is so different from last Monday morning. For this I am very grateful. I cringe there is a piece of writing in this world confessing the spiritual battle in my life last week. It never ended on Monday though my most bitter cry of anguish did. Throughout the week I ended up in hard conversations with God, myself and others. The kind where I occasionally experienced vision-blurring pain.
Reality checks. They have fantastic long-term benefits, but sure can be excruciatingly painful in the moment!
About a month ago, I stumbled across one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It begins with verses which were constantly in my heart during the hardest year of my life. The year I began to give my will to Christ and live His way. The year He put me in a furnace to refine me like silver.
Isaiah 43 has many memories for me. Memories of my “belly of the whale” experience. God said, “north.” I headed south. God said, “You are going to reap what you sow. I would be careful how far you go….” But I wasn’t, and I ended up in the belly of the whale. God was with me during that time like I have never else experienced Him. I like that He never bothered to tell me, “I told you so.” but instead encouraged me with His promises.
I have noticed this trend in the Old Testament as I read through the prophets. God warns His people and warns His people about the impending disaster in their lives if they continue to serve other gods than Him. But when the disaster strikes, He doesn’t point and laugh and say, “I told you so.” People do that. God doesn’t. God immediately begins promising deliverance. When His people turn to Him in desperate need of deliverance from the fruit of their own actions, He is there to comfort not punish; so He wrapped me in His loving arms.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…. When you pass through the fire, you will not be burned.” The words have comforted me in my darkest moments.
About a month ago, I read on and found a new verse to comfort me in what is currently my deepest struggle, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…” Now the verse goes on to say He will give nations in exchange for my life. Not really applicable to my personal journey with God, I hope.
I can’t fathom God honors me. I don’t feel honored by people, how could I ever be honored by God? Can you imagine such a thing?
Precious? I am precious to God? Much of my life I have felt like the rug – the thing people trample all over and never even really notice is there. Unless their trampling makes me dirty, and then they notice and complain that I am dirty.
God thinks I am precious? Honorable? Honestly I find myself unable to grasp the implications of such a statement.
God didn’t give nations in exchange for me. He gave Himself in exchange for me. He decided to die, so I could live.
On some level I have processed He loves me. I have long understood it as His motivation for dying for me. For God so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son…
I understand how God would pity me, and I know the Bible says He does. I can’t quite quote the verses.
But honor? I am precious and honored?
Three years ago, I felt much like an abandoned baby a careless mother leaves in the trash. Premature, aborted, abandoned, given up for lost. I thought that was how God felt about our relationship because that is how I felt He ought to feel about our relationship.
My feelings aren’t a very good indication of truth.
I am precious, honored, loved. The God of the universe thinks I am worth dying for. Oddly enough, He also realizes I am worthy of death. But He didn’t just assign people or animals to die for me. He decided to die for me Himself. I must be worth something, but I am only worth something because He values me. He bought me with the price of His own blood, which makes me truly priceless. All my value comes only from Him. If He had not loved me, I would be worthless.
I am precious, honored, cherished and loved by the most powerful entity in the universe. I may find it nearly incomprehensible; but as I attempt to comprehend this truth, courage fills me for all the difficult conversations I must face this week.
Do you believe you are honorable in the sight of God? How do you believe your value is determined?