Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Behind and Before

Week 5  Trust and Know

Day 31

Behind and Before

You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
Psalm 139:5  NLT


his phrase awoke me from a sound sleep at 2:30 a.m.:  "You can be of no use to your loved ones apart from obedience."  

I stumbled into my study room, curled up on the little sofa, and pulled my computer onto my lap. I know I don't have to record my conversations with the Lord in writing, but it is the way I process my thoughts most clearly, and at 2:30 a.m. I very much felt in need of clarity.  

"Well, I am angry," I wrote. And then I kept writing for quite a long time. I talked about the injustices of, among other things, a twelve-year stint of caregiving for my Alzheimer’s mom. I expounded on the subject of grief over all I'd hoped to do with my life and about a really uncomfortable struggle to lay it all down for the Lord. I ended with an extensive list of things that seemed unfair. Then...

Lord:  Are you done?

Linda:  I guess. Obedience is another word for survival for me now, isn’t it? You have got to show me how to anesthetize my pain in You so I can break free of overeating. 

Lord:  A time of grief is not the time to diet. This has been just a brief interlude in the midst of your obedience journey, and is actually a part of the journey itself. Do not be afraid. 

Linda:  I cannot toss my common sense out the window, Lord...

Lord:  I am giving you your heart's desire; will you trust Me?  I know your heart better than you do.  Trust in your heart precedes obedience in your actions.  

 Linda:  I will trust You.  

Lord:   Sometimes the “freedom doorway” doesn’t look like what it is. Satan has shouted “Servitude!  You have been taken for granted and despised!”  But I tell you this: you have been loved. Submit to Me and I will lift you up. Release your fear of the future. You are not being locked into a box, you are being invited to cross a threshold. You can't see what lies beyond, but I am there, and you will be well pleased.  

God has saved us through our belief in what Christ has done,[i] and He looks at our hearts ahead of our actions. It is belief that fuels our trust in God, and trust is the necessary foundation of obedience to Him. Through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, the God of all creation inhabits the past, present and future. It is safe to place our trust in Him.

Pray: Father, today so many circumstances in our world seem out of control.  Grief threatens, loss seems inevitable, and our hearts have been broken. We bring our brokenness to You and place our trust for the future in You. Forgive us for anticipating sorrow in a future we can’t see.  Help us to live in You today, and trust You for the future for ourselves and for those we love so dearly, in Jesus’ Name, amen.


It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8  

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.[ii] 
From the Hymn Great is thy Faithfulness 

[i] Romans 10:9
[ii] Great is Thy Faithfulness. Words: Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923. Music: William M. Runyan, 1923.

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