I will deliver you, and you will honor Me."
For the past month, I've found myself looking back a year. It's been quite a trip. Much to be grateful for, many places I hope I've grown, and at least one place I wish I'd been wrong. Were it in my power, I'd make myself wrong somehow.
God redeems. He delivers. Mentioned to a friend earlier in the week that there are those I love for whom I can only pray suffering, in hopes that sin would be faced, repentance could be offered, and God would save. He is no enemy of happiness, but only happiness built on truth can remain. If He loves us, He must burn away anything less. Were He to allow the counterfeits to stand, He would demonstrate the tolerant contempt that is so valued in our age. It is not love. It is not even close.
Of all that's changed in the past year, a few things haven't. I still stand. I still stay. I still keep showing up. I still ask myself what it means to be faithful and what love requires. I still believe that He redeems and delivers, that He will show up and that He will be good. I still pray, though it's hard, because I know the pain those prayers may carry if He honors them. They are for joy in the end. I believe that.
I'm skimming the surface. My heart is heavy, though I fear my words may read as smug. Thankfully I am known better than this, where I need to be. Beyond that, I have no control at all. I hate that, too. God seems committed to keeping me helpless, probably because He loves me. You'd think I'd be better at accepting that by now, but I'm not.
The fool says in his heart,
"There is no God."
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.
God looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
Will the evildoers never learn–
those who devour my people as men eat bread
and who do not call on God?
There they were, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
you put them to shame, for God despised them.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.