“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
Last week, everything seemed to go wrong. I arrived late to every appointment, spilled a pitcher of iced tea in the car, had several friends cancel dinner plans with me, got yelled at by my mom for forgetting what she told me to do, and came back each night to a messy room I was too tired to clean. In those times, I wanted to respond in the wrong ways. I wanted to yell back, have a pity party, ignore all my responsibilities and spend my time just surfing the web or watching television. And sometimes, I did.
But by the end of the week, I saw my deep need for God. I saw my utter brokenness and vulnerability to give into failures and sins. For the 40Day Devotional Challenge, I had resolved to meditate on God’s Word, praise Him daily and fast so that I could pray for others over the 40 days. And through that challenge, the Lord made a new pathway to joy for me. God reminded me that He is with me in the midst of my failures and weaknesses. He has drawn me closer to Himself and helped me to take great delight in Him instead of the things of this world. When God met my needs, I could respond rightly to the disappointments and frustrations of everyday life—not expecting life’s circumstances to serve my needs, but counting them as opportunities to live out God’s love.
That desire for God didn’t come easily though. There were times I didn’t feel like focusing on the things of God and mostly just wanted to “get through” the challenge. But in persevering, God turned my focus away from myself and toward Himself and others. My life became no longer all about me, my pain and disappointments, or even about my ability to accomplish the challenge perfectly (which I did not). But instead, along with David, I could now sing, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Ps. 63:3, ESV). If God’s love is so much greater and more significant than anything that could happen in my life, how could I turn my focus inward when God’s love is pulsing forth for me and others in ways I can hardly imagine?
I realized then that if I had everything I “wanted”—perfect grades, financial security, beautiful looks, deeply fulfilling relationships that never disappointed, etc.—I would probably forget God. I would forget the One who upholds my very existence. Let us live for the sake of His great love rather than to preserve a life we think will satisfy us. With Christ’s love as our motivation, we can look upward for our hope and victory over the disappointments of the here and now, saying confidently with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13, ESV).
1. As you reflect on your day or your week, are there moments you regret or feel uneasy about? Talk about them with God. He wants to know what you’re thinking and feeling.
2. Meditate on Psalm 63:3. How has God shown His love for you today in spite of your own weaknesses and possible failures?
3. What do you think God wants to teach us when things don’t turn out as we expected or we don’t get what we want? In those times, in what way is He enough for us?