Release from Self-condemnation

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

Sunday, February 5, 2017

It Isn't Too Late

Week 6  Trust and Peace

Day 37

It Isn’t Too Late

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Psalm 54:4 NIV


e must not underestimate God’s ability to sustain us during the time it takes for His plans for our lives to unfold—even if the roadblocks to the fruition of His promises are of our own making. Satan whispers “It is too late, you will never get it right, you have missed your chance to be what you were supposed to be,” but the Lord promises renewal and sustenance even to old age.[i] With God, it is never too late to receive His promised liberation from the chains that have bound us.

 When we come to the end of our illusions of control over our own lives, we are finally able to release all into God’s hands. When we consider what this kind of release looks like, we should remember Peter, who was so soundly asleep in his jail cell on the night before his scheduled execution that he slept through the bright light that accompanied the presence of an angel. The angel had to strike him on the side in order to awaken him, and even then Peter assumed he was dreaming.[ii]

Behind bars and chained between two guards, the apostle had no control whatsoever over his own fate. I imagine that Peter, during what he assumed were his final hours on earth, made an effort to introduce his guards to the saving grace available through belief in Jesus Christ. Once that effort was ended (likely by physical punishment administered by the guards, who probably had been instructed to keep Peter silent), the apostle committed himself to the One he loved and trusted, and went to sleep. The man who would later admonish those who suffer for being a Christian to “…commit themselves to their faithful Creator…”[iii] followed his own advice. It seems there is no peace so restful as that of one who has given up all attempts to save himself by his own efforts. Peter certainly found it so. 

As we envision Peter’s suffering, we might see him weeping with bowed head as the chains chafe his wrists and the guards administer punishment. But we might also imagine the sweetness of release as he commits himself into God’s hands; we watch his body become still, hear his sobbing fade as his breathing quiets and becomes measured; to our amazement, the prisoner has fallen asleep.

At the death of our own hopes and dreams we may feel heartbroken, as though nothing will ever be all right again. The Lord is with us as we sob out our anger over the blows life has dealt us. He sustains us through pain and grief. He stands firm as we protest with angry cries toward Him as the God who has allowed our suffering; He holds us like a father holds a screaming child, and He does not let go. It is safe to release our thwarted dreams into the hands of such a father.

We shouldn’t dismiss as inconsequential the heartrending emotions that accompany release of our own hopes for the future; to do so would be to trespass against our own hearts. But neither should we cherish those emotions nor attempt to cling to our limited perspectives as though they represent absolute truth. Our responses to life events are based on facts as we can comprehend them now, but are probably inaccurate (now we see as in a mirror, dimly).[iv] Emotions are not a dependable reflection of truth, and the Lord is sovereign over our lives. Thus, we may have hope, not so much that our dreams will come true, but that the Lord's dreams for us will come true. As we abide in Him, our dreams and His will become one and the same. 

Pray: Lord, please forgive me envy of others who have what I don’t have, and whose lives look easier than my own. Please forgive me resentment toward those who don’t understand my pain. Please forgive the ways I’ve been greedy and rude, contentious and demanding; forgive the wounds I’ve inflicted out of my own heartaches. Here is my heart, I release it to You. Here are my hopes, I exchange them for Yours. I confess trust in You to fulfill Your perfect will for me. I release my whole life to You. Lord save me from everything that keeps me from loving you first and best.  Amen. 


Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26  

[i] Isaiah 46:4, Ruth 4:15
[ii] Acts 12:6-7
[iii] 1 Peter 4:19
[iv] 1 Corinthians 13:12

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