Monday Morsel ~ Our God Is For Us
just a little something
to begin your week.
Whenever the song “Our God” plays on our car radio, my husband and I turn it up and belt out the words at the top of our lungs. It’s not just because we love the song, but it’s because the lyrics express our thoughts that resonate deep in our souls after what we’ve endured over the past year.
When I first heard “Our God,” I was in the middle of my chemo treatments. The lyrics popped on the screen at church and it was as if all of the feelings I’d held in my heart were verbalized. By the end of the song, tears rolled down my cheeks as I soaked in the truth about our amazing God.
One of the reasons I love this song so much has to do with what transpired almost two years ago. I was asked to speak to a group of high school girls and though I was elated, I was puzzled about what I should speak about. I didn’t want to force it, so I waited and prayed for a moment of inspiration. And then it seemed that everywhere I turned, the concept of God being for me kept presenting itself. Before this, I had never spent much time considering this concept; all I really knew was that it was a direct quote from Romans 8 (“If God is for us, who can be against us?”). As I studied the truth of God being for me, God spoke very personally to my own heart. I am so thankful this message was seared in my heart so that I was prepared to hold onto this truth when I encountered my health storm this last year.
One place I studied this concept was in Beth Moore’s Stepping Up Bible Study about the book of Psalms. She directed me to Psalm 124 in the Message which says, “If God hadn’t been for us when everyone went against us, we would have been swallowed alive by their violent anger, swept away by the flood of rage, drowned in the torrent.”
Beth Moore followed this passage by explaining, “Regardless of how long we’ve been Christians and how deeply we’ve studied God’s Word, most of us don’t really believe down in the marrow of our bones that God is entirely, wholeheartedly, and unwaveringly on our side…We live most of our lives unconvinced that God is really for us. We have little trouble picturing ourselves on God’s side, but for the life of us, we can’t picture God stooping down enough to be on ours. Even though we’ll say things and sing things to the contrary, we live as if we believe in the hidden places of our hearts and mind that God at best tolerated us. And lucky we are at that!…Perhaps some of us don’t so much feel as if God is against us as we just don’t necessarily feel as if He’s for us” (pg 58).
I completely resonated with her description because I realized I didn’t believe deep down that God was for me. Growing up in the church, I worked hard to follow the rules to be a good Christian girl. Although I understood grace intellectually, I didn’t live like I was saved by grace but rather by how hard I tried to earn God’s favor. As a result, I subconsciously believed the lie that if I did what God asked, I would not experience hardship. (This is far from Biblical so I am not sure how I came to this conclusion!)
God used two seasons in my life to expose my misconceptions about His love: longing to be married and being diagnosed with cancer. In my honest moments in both incidents, I cried, “God, I have done all of ‘this’ for you, so why would You do ‘this’ to me?” (How misguided for me to think that God’s love is based on what I do.)
One of the common themes that I felt God answer my cry was with the concept of Him being for me. I felt Him gently remind me over and over that His heart was good and that I needed to trust Him to give me what I needed. Honestly I confessed many times, “I know You are for me, but these circumstances make me question in my heart what I know to be true in my mind.”
Beth Moore helped verbalize my thoughts: “In our humanity we tend to determine whether God is against us, for us, or tolerating us based on how He appears to act in our circumstances. In other words, our litmus test for whether we think God is really for us is circumstantial evidence. If I don’t get the promotion, God was for the other guy. If the relationship doesn’t work out, God didn’t root for me. If the cancer treatment doesn’t take, I’m not a high priority to Him” (Stepping Up, pg 59).
God took me on a journey this past year in examining my misconceptions about Him, and it started with realizing that just because I had cancer did not mean His love for me had dwindled. I felt God lead me to uncover the root of the lies I had been believing, confess them to Him, and replace them with His truth. (The PAPA Prayer that I wrote about here has been helpful in this process.) Along the way, I also grew in my intimacy with Him and learned a valuable lesson that I could only trust Him to the extent that I truly knew Him. (After all, how can we trust someone we don’t know?)
Recently, “Our God” came on the radio again. As I reflected on the words, specific memories of the past year played through my mind like a movie. I choked back the tears as I recalled how God showed me through the most frightening, confusing, difficult time in my life that He is for me. I pray God convinces you of the same.
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8: 31,32)
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