When I first saw this little jewel, it struck me like a thunder bolt. I spent my entire life surrounding myself with people who tried to not only keep me down but kept their foot on my back like a weight. It wasn’t something that I did consciously, it was just the path of least resistance. The reason was I felt lack of worth.
How many of us go through life feeling that same way and wonder why we never feel good enough for God, who lifts us higher than any human? No matter what circumstances we find our self, God is always there with his hand out wanting to lift us higher and higher. When the entire world walks away, God is there.
We see others who appear to be more successful, more productive, more this or that and we compare our self to them. They are not our yardstick. They are not the barometer by which we pin our success. We do not see into their hearts, we cannot know the path they are walking.
Our yardstick and barometer is God. He has shown us his path. He has shown us his successes, his loss, his hurt and his triumphs. Yet, he is never failing. He always has his hand out to lift us higher than we can ever lift ourselves.
As humans we feel that we need validation from other humans. We seek out their approval, their standard for our success with a thirst that is never quenched. We then wonder why we are not raised higher. The answer to that is simple. Others are just as flawed as we are. They fight their own demons and feelings of lack of self-worth. When we depend on them to lift us up, we cheat ourselves and them of being lifted up by a power so high that we can never get enough of his lifting.
We forget to follow God’s example of lifting others up. We get so wrapped up in our own feelings we bring others down. How do we stop the cycle? The answer is simple. Take our Godly yardstick, use it for ourselves, and then use it to lift others which in turn lifts us even higher.
But we must remember this – we must not become so full of our self that we believe we are above those who have not reached the level that we believe they should be. God knows their heart. God knows their struggle. The height we reach is determined by how far down we reach out to others to help pull them higher.
The other day as I was scrolling through my social media, I came across a saying that really resonated with me. My mother used to ask me this question but in a different form. The question was “Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?” I was not wise enough to answer her well. However, I think now I can even though she is not with me any longer here on earth. The answer to the question is simply this, “Why do you assume I see two roads.”
As we are on our road of life, sometimes we must take a path that maybe we did not see coming to teach us a lesson that will not only help us, but it might be of benefit to someone else. Sure, that road may be filled with potholes, and danger or even a collision or two. But they are there for a reason.
I know as a child I was not the easiest child to raise. I had my own mind from the time I was a toddler. I always went my own path. I guess I felt like I needed to know things to experience first hand things in order to learn. Did I make bad decisions, did I fall on my face. You bet. Did I disappoint my parents, on more than one occasion. Did I fail myself, you bet I did. Did I disappoint my creator, I have forgotten the times I did. And yet, I learned, sometimes I had to fall in that pothole more than once. I credit my Scot/Irish ancestors with that mindset. But I learned, eventually. For those of you who know the person you see today, I was not always that person. I was shy, timid, felt unworthy, unloved and unaccepted. I would not speak up, nor would I voice an opinion. I felt I had nothing to offer. I strived to be all things to all people and in the end, I lost me. I felt that my words did not matter, that my worth did not matter and that no matter how much I strived, I would never matter. It took the hard road to show me that I mattered, if to no one else but God. I have been called harsh by some, even my own children in the past. Maybe am. I know that if I am asked, I will speak up. If I see someone running out into the road and a truck is on a Collison course with them, I will try to pull them back. That is my road.
The “hard road” has taught me how to make my past experiences a guidepost not a hitching post and that is okay.
The point is this. As humans maybe we only see one road, and maybe that is okay. Maybe our journey will help someone else on their journey down their hard road. What we must remember is that our Creator is always by our side. He always walks with us and we always have a way to get out of those potholes.
We use the word Grace all the time. We throw it around like a ball not fulling understanding the true meaning.
Webster defines Grace as:
unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b: a virtue coming from God
c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance
With that in mind let’s see how that equates to us as humans. The word unmerited means we didn’t earn it, and there is no way we can ever earn it. In Romans 3 23-:24 This grace was bestowed upon us by God through his son. ” For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is Jesus Christ.”
All of us have sinned – none of us are worthy of being with God. However, God has through his grace and mercy given us unmerited favor. He has told us that his grace is sufficient in 2 Cor, 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…..”
Paul had a thorn in the flesh we do not know what that thorn was we are not told, he prayed three times to have it removed. And God explained to him that all he needed was God’s grace. How many of us forget that in our lives this is all we need. We need to just understand that God’s unmerited favor is all we need in order to lead our lives no matter the circumstances. When we have things that happen in our lives whether it be illness, death or other human calamities all we need to sustain us is God’s grace. For when we are at our weakest we can be at our strongest.
We all talk about being in love, staying in love and wanting to be loved. We become disappointed and disheartened when that either doesn’t happen or the one we thought we loved didn’t love us enough.
Some of us fall in and out of love like we change our clothes. Some of us say we love and then our behavior shows differently. Some of us have no clue how to love because we really don’t even like the person, we just lust after them and when that has run its course we are gone. Some of us don’t even like ourselves so how can we love ourselves.
In order to love someone else we must first look within. We must first learn to like ourselves and then love ourselves warts and all. Love is not about the clothes we wear, the places we visit or the feelings we find in the pit of our stomach, that is hormones raging.
To find out the true meaning of love and what it stands for we must go to the Bible. It is filled with example after example of love. True unconditional love.
It gives many examples of the types of love, how we are to love and why we are to love.
Let’s just start with one of the most well-known verses,
John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Let’s just think on this for a moment. How many of us are willing to give our child up to be killed in order to save someone else. How many of us are willing to love someone else enough that we would send our child to their death? I venture to say none of us. But God did. He knew what would happen when he sent his son to the earth. Because he has the big picture. He could have stopped it at any time. But he loved us enough.
John 15: 13 tells us this 13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” How many of us are willing to make that kind of sacrifice”. I would dare say not many.
Now let’s get back to the meaning of love that is real love.
I Cor. 13: 1-13 is the best example of how real love works.
Hope that is a word we use every day. We hope our company comes to visit, we hope our children are alright. We hope we get that promotion at work. The list goes on and on.
But what does that word mean? What does it really mean Webster defines hope as: “to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true. to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment.to expect with confidence : TRUST, something desired”
As we go about our daily lives sometimes we feel like there is no hope. We feel lost and abandoned, as if no one cares. We wonder why things happen to us. Many times it may come to the point of not wanting to go on in this life.
This is where our Hope in God is our anchor. Our expectation that a promise made by a God who does not lie will be fulfilled. In Psalms 62:5 we are told by the writer this, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
As humans it is sometimes easier to put our hope on other humans or other things. They do not withstand the test of time. God is steadfast he will not leave us he is our anchor. He is the one that steadies our ship of life on the stormy seas we travel.
If we rely on the hope of men we have no hope. Men are fallible, they are flawed. They will teach wrong things, God on the other hand is steadfast. He will not lie, nor leave us. He understands us better than we understand ourselves.
There is an old saying, I would rather believe in a God, and there not be one, than not to believe in a God and find out there is one.
As we live our lives and face our trials, walk our paths and see things around us we not ever give up hope. We must understand there is a God and he is our hope. He is the only one who is our hope. He has the big picture.