Last night I had a dream I was at my church in their cafe area. It’s a nice size church, not huge, but definitely not small. It was a Wednesday night and it was full of people and looked more like a food court, (dreams do weird things. lol). We were signing up for which small group class we wanted to be a part of. In the middle of all that I met a couple who were sitting on a couch talking to my mom. You could see it in their eyes. The disappoint, heartbreak, questions and sadness. I briefly heard a bit of their story.
I said, “You know how you overcome offense? Go back to the Lord as many times as you need to. Sit with Him as much as you need to, He understands your struggle. In my own time of need, I go back to God again and again and again. Let Him remind you of His purposes. It’s okay to be needy. He wants you to come and sit with Him. Let Him be the lifter of your head.”
This dream encourages me and breaks my heart. I’m encouraged because I was able to share the truth of how we overcome offense with God. We sit at His feet and let His love pour over our broken, hurting and disappointed soul. His love secures us, strengthens us and encourages us. Even if we don’t understand the “why” just yet, we can trust His heart. We live unoffended, by knowing His heart for us.
I’ve been there. I’ve been at the place of being confused. I’ve been at the place expecting God to do one thing and instead another has occurred. I’ve been at the place where you don’t know what God is doing and feel like you’re bumbling around. I’ve been lost, confused, disappointed, lonely, hurt, depressed, angry. I. GET. IT.
But here’s what I’ve learned. If we can stay in a posture where we know His heart is ALWAYS GOOD, IT’S ALWAYS FOR ME, we will keep offense from building in our heart. What did the snake say to Eve in the garden? (Genesis 3) He made her question the goodness of God. If he did that for Eve, he’s going to do that now, and he does. He continually lies about who God is and who we are. But let’s throw away his garbage and cling to the fact that God’s love for us is so great. If He has us walk through a valley, He’s right beside us. If we have to lose some things in our life, it’s okay, because He has something else around the corner. Maybe it’s restoring physical loss, like Job. Maybe it’s building character like Joseph.
What the enemy meant for harm, God’s going to turn for good, all the while He’s strengthening your character. There’s something in you that the world needs. The world needs this upgraded version of you. Everywhere you look, people are being offended at the smallest thing. Years ago when I was in youth group, I heard a message and I don’t remember a single thing except this one phrase, “you choose to be offended”. That phrase right there has saved me so much grief and pain. Have I always chosen rightly? NOT AT ALL! However I’d say many times I have. Why? Because the times I didn’t choose rightly I learned real quick that I had so much extra garbage and stress to filter through, that God never meant for me to carry. When I know I am secure, loved and right with Him, even if there’s a mess I’m walking through, my soul is at peace, I am at rest. That is the place He wants us to be, at home, at rest in Him.
My high school years were great, I loved loved loved them. God did so much in my life during that time. I found out who He truly was and the realness of His existence. There were also a lot of uncertainty and family strains here and there. When I didn’t understand, I’d stop myself and ask the question, “Ok, Caitlin, are you going to be offended at this? Are you going to be offended at how God is weaving this? Or are you going to go to the lover of your soul and let Him tell you how it’s going to end?”
Every night I’d sit on my bed and read the Word and then I’d journal. I’d journal my prayers and questions to Him. I was coming to the ultimate Father who cared for me. I knew He saw the bigger picture. He didn’t mind my questions or confusion. It was like sitting in His lap and getting a hug.
He’d tell me it was going to be okay, He’d tell me how He was going to produce fruit out of it. I would let Him tell me how much He loved me, and I would let Him root and secure my footing on Him. I’d tell Him, ” let me learn what you want me to learn quick, so we can move forward”. And truly I feel like those years accelerated my growth in Christ. Even if I didn’t like it. Even if I didn’t understand, a heart caught up in offense takes so much more work to become unoffended, (trust me, I know). It’s so much easier to just keep it clear from being offended at His leadership from the beginning.
If you are struggling with where you are or with God’s leadership in your life, let me just encourage you to go to the Father again and again and again. Go to Him with the mindset that He’s always good. He’s going to weave this for your good. He loves you. He’s for you. He knows what’s best for you. Go to Him as many times and as often as you need. Let Him love on your broken, weary, tired or disappointed heart. Let Him build in you what He’s trying to build in you. Lean, learn and move on with Him.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
This song is a version of Psalm 23 it’s one of my favorite portions of scripture that is sung. Psalm 23
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