I really didn't want to write this week. At all. The past several days have been pure hell. My heart has been aching in ways I can't explain and the warfare in my mind has been absolutely raging. To the point that I have felt physically ill. Every little thing the devil could find, he has used against me and it has taken a massive toll on me.
I am off work today and had planned on spending the day before church tonight just laying around, reading and listening to worship music and talking to God. But I didn't even know where I wanted to read today so I popped open a devotional that I sometimes read from. First of all, this devotional was extremely timely for me. But as I was reading I kept hearing "119." A few weeks ago I began the book of Psalms, so, since that's what I had most recently started reading, I went ahead and flipped to Psalm 119. I thought the devotional was a timely word for me... man. I can't even tell you how much I needed to read this specific Psalm today. My heart and my spirit were so convicted all throughout (in the best way).
I mentioned before that this past week had been hell and to be totally honest I was beyond frustrated. And it showed. My entire being radiated pure annoyance and frustration. I was rude to my coworkers and my customers at work, I kept away from pretty much everyone, even my mom noticed something was very different. Why? I have seen nothing but junk coming from every direction in my life. I feel like everyone around me is under attack and I can't fix it. I have sensed so many ugly spirits around me and it has made me want to stay inside my apartment and never come out. The shooting in Vegas has made me absolutely sick to my stomach, I can't help but hurt for those people and their loved ones. I have stayed up all night and struggled to even eat due to worrying about situations that are completely out of my hands. I've allowed the enemy to get inside my head with all kinds of lies and it got the point that I reached out to ask for prayer from everyone around me because I felt completely helpless and like I couldn't do it for myself. My patience has been worn down to nothing. I know that God is good regardless of any circumstance and that I should praise Him because I know my sufferings occur for a reason. And I usually can, I usually press in the hardest when I don't want to. But this time was different. This was an attack like none I had ever experienced. And man is it hard to walk around in goodness when you don't feel it.
And that's exactly why God lead me to Psalm 119 today. Because it's all about delighting in God's word and in His law even when the world is throwing all sorts of junk at you. It's all about walking in holiness and righteousness even when life really sucks. It's all about pushing through and praising through your sufferings because you know that's when you're growing the most. It's all about trusting Him so much that you don't waiver in the face of adversity because you know where your provision comes from. It's all about embracing the pain and learning to love the process. It's all about asking God to provide you with understanding so that when it hurts, you know why it hurts and when it's hard, you're able to hold on and see it through to the end result.
It's funny because verse 164 says, "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws," but we often tweak it to say, "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws when you're pouring out blessing upon blessing over me," or, "Seven times a day I praise you when I see your promises unfolding," or, "... when life is great," but that's NOT what it says. It says "seven times a day I praise you." Point. Blank. Period. Every day. Seven times. No matter what.
I'm pretty guilty of not doing a whole lot of praising this last week or so. But after reading what I had just read, there was no way that I couldn't. So I spent the next few hours in my bedroom floor, on my knees and on my face, screaming out His name and telling Him how good He is. Not asking for anything. Not begging Him to forgive me for my actions and for the thoughts that have been running through my mind. Not telling Him how much I am hurting. Just simply loving on Him and allowing Him to love me right back. And I was flooded with tears because I was so overwhelmed by the love, grace and peace that I felt.
Sometimes that's all Jesus wants from us. To recognize His goodness. To show gratitude for the light instead of allowing the darkness to overtake our minds and our hearts. To shift our eyes to focus on the GOOD rather than allowing our vision to be blurred by the hurt. Sometimes He becomes quiet in our trials because He wants to see if we will continue to stay true to what we know without constant reassurance.
We all have these pretty pictures in our minds of what everything should look like. There are certain ways we would love for our lives-- every year, every month, every week, every day, every scenario, every conversation-- to play out. We want to physically see God's work in everything. We want to hear His voice as guidance in all of our ways. We want to see chains fall and grounds shake and demons flee. We want people to find Him through us. We want everyone to love everyone and to be surrounded be righteousness and holiness at all times. We want minimal conflict in the body of Christ and we want everyone to have pure intentions. We want people who are given platforms and opportunities to lead to do it justly. It's great when things work out that way. It's wonderful when everything flows smoothly. But most times, it doesn't. And even when it doesn't, He is still good and worthy to be praised.