Tuesday, April 2, 2013

he's surely alive

My God is not dead,
He's surely alive,
living on the inside,
roaring like a lion!

Not to beat a dead horse, since I've mentioned this song two or three times before, but it made such a huge impression on me and I feel like the Lord keeps bringing me back to it, first to strengthen me, then to reaffirm that He will keep taking care of me, then to remind me of what He has done for me and how far we've come.

I'll get back to it in a minute. I think this post will be in a bit of a jumbled order...
When I started going to college at TCU and was away from home for the first time, which was a major big deal for me because I've always been such a homebody/introvert, I didn't know anyone and was lonely for the first little bit. I remember forcing myself to eat alone in the cafeteria just so that I could be near other people instead of holing up in my room, as I was tempted to do. Even though I felt lonely, it was a really special time for me with the Lord. I saw Him quite literally bring people to me to talk with me and sit and eat with me in the interim time when I didn't have new friends yet. I'd be sitting and eating by myself, sometimes while reading a book because it felt a litle less awkward, when more than once people randomly came over and asked to sit with me or invited me to sit with them. I was so hungry for conversation that it really meant a lot to me. Soon I made some wonderful friends, including my best girl friend as well as my husband, and I had no lack of friends or conversation. I was so happy and so thankful to have such a great support system while I was away from home. Every time I got to sit down to eat with friends, I tried to make a point to be thankful and to remember what it was to eat alone before I had friends.

Back to the lion song. While we were at church on Easter Sunday, the band, quite appropriately for Easter, played the lion song. After the (also appropriately) somber Good Friday service, I felt such joy singing about Jesus being alive on Easter Sunday. As I was singing this song, which has come to mean so much to me, I realized that I sing it differently now than I did before. I mean, I sing the same words to the same tune, but my heart is so different when I sing it now than when I sang it last year, when I was struggling so much in the fog of post-partum baby blues. I thought about how I was in such a haze, with so little energy during that time, and how much relief and encouragement I found in the image of God being alive in me, fighting for me, "roaring like a lion," when I did not have the strength to fight for myself. More recently when we sang the same song, I felt the Lord using it to reassure me of the His great love and that He would keep hanging in there with me, even though I felt like I hadn't made as much progress as I should have during that difficult time.

Now when I sing the song, I sing it with the joy that comes from knowing that after the dark days following Jesus' death, He is risen and is alive and well, seated at the right hand of the Father. Like sitting among my closest friends and remembering a time when I sat alone in order to remain thankful and to not take for granted the Lord's answer to my prayers, I want to make a point of reminding myself of how far He's brought me and how He's answered the many many prayers we prayed for help and rest for my husband and me and for healing for our daughter. If I could go back to that difficult time, even knowing what I know now, I don't know that I would do much better than I did the first time around; if I'm honest, I think I would still struggle. Howevever, though I can't depend on my own ability and strength, I can look back and see that I can indeed depend on the faithfulness, strength, and love of our sovereign heavenly Father.

I remember my "Friday night" season, the dark days when I felt so far from Him despite my efforts to draw near, and rejoice knowing that He heard my cries for help and, in His perfect timing, answered our prayers. Though I ought not dwell for too long on it, remembering "Friday night" seasons of darkness makes my heart even more appreciative of the joy I have in the "Sunday morning" seasons. May I never take for granted the things I desperately desired and prayed for which have now been granted! He didn't have to do it, but He did it anyway, out of His great love, kindness, compassion, and grace. In the same way, He didn't have to die for me, but because of His great love for me, He did it anyway, even knowing all the sins I would commit, that I might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1