I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Debbie Ramamoorthy (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
The last few months have felt like a pressure cooker about to explode. The pandemic, the lock-down, the protests- it’s been layer upon layer. I have tried to understand the character of God in all of this. What does it really look like to experience God right now? What does His word mean to me at this time? Who is He to me and to all of us? These all seem like very big questions to ask. A part of me started to feel an internal frustration, that in a time where the whole world is standing together in union, vocalizing our desires, I was being convicted by the fact that I needed to take time to step aside and re-ground myself in the Father. I couldn’t deny the pull from the Lord to tunnel-vision towards Him.
I have had countless conversations, actions taken towards movement and an endless number of thoughts running through my head as of late. Yet, through it all, I keep feeling a tug to come back to God and receive from Him. And once I receive from Him, allow that to be what defines my interactions, communications and thoughts. This feels like a very surface-leveled idea. But when I broke it down, I was broken. I was broken by the realization that so much of what I was saying and doing was coming from an internal desire to let a voice be heard. I suddenly started to acknowledge that deep down I believed that without me or my voice, things won't change. I was trying to take the control back into my own hands.
Genesis 28:15 reminds me: "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." This passage brings me right back to my reality- Jesus will not leave me, until He has fulfilled His promises for me. This applies to each person that belongs to His kingdom. What a beautiful thought and reminder that Jesus promises each of us. He will relentlessly pursue us and work towards fulfilling those promises for us. Remembering this keeps me from being hasty in talking and acting. I am able to slow down and remember that time does not belong to me. Our Father is outside of time. I am not running out of days and needing to rush into progress. Rather, I need to come back to my Father and to a place of rest, in order to move according to His will.
As it relates to our times right now, we are living through a historical period in time. And somehow, I have started to believe that my actions will cause change and instigate progress and movement. While I think it is crucial for us to speak and have voices heard, we need to keep reminding ourselves that our God is powerful and mighty and will cause His will to be done. I think about the story of Esau and Jacob. Jacob steals a blessing from Esau in this, almost comical way, where he wears an “Esau” costume and deceives his father Isaac. Following this, he heads out to another land to find a wife. He does this in order to try and keep the promises of God prevailing in an evidently sin-torn world. The significance of this story comes through the vision that Jacob has of a stairway that goes all the way up to heaven from Earth (Genesis 28). In this vision, God tells Jacob, “I am the God of Abraham and Isaac, and I will be your God too. I will give you more heirs than there is dust on this planet. Every tribe and ethnicity will be blessed through you” (v.15). Through Jacob? The same one who lied? Stole? Cheated? Deceived his own dying, blind father?
Then I remember... this is what grace is.
Grace is the evidence of God's planned fulfilled, regardless of our countless mistakes, lies, wrong turns, bad decisions and attempts to hide-away. And that's the exact space in which God desires to meet us and save us. Jesus died on the cross for the liars and sinners- us - the ones who recognize their desperate need for a Savior. Jesus died and rose again for those people we often find hard to love. In fact, we are all doomed to hell, if not for His grace abounding. And in the same way Jesus told Jacob His promises for him, He tells you and me, “I am with you always. I will never leave you or turn my back on you, even till the final trumpet blares.”
None of us deserve these promises from our Lord. It’s all grace. In the same way Jesus took Jacob’s lies and deceit and gave him a glorious future- He does the same for us. We only need to stop and rest in our Father, especially in these times, knowing that His glorious plans await us!
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on:
1.What are some ways in which God is asking you to slow down right now?
2. What does rest look like to you?
3. What are some areas in which God is taking something of yours and renewing it?
4. In what ways do you struggle to sit and rest with God?