Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

I felt uncared for, unheard, insignificant. I felt selfish, critical, stubborn, weak. I felt hopeless, like change would never happen in Uruguay. I felt like others elsewhere had it easier. I felt jealous and entitled to easy ministry, like for some reason I deserved a fruitful year. I felt like a child, unhappy because I wasn’t getting what I wanted.

At the end of our first semester of ministry, I felt all of these things. I recognized my weakness and I knew that I needed to choose faith, choose to think good thoughts, choose to believe the best. I knew I needed to extend grace, rest in God’s bigness and cling to His promises, but that’s as far as I was able to get on my own. I asked others close to me for prayer and even asked the Lord to restore my heart, but I don’t think I was really believing that He could or would meet me in all of that.

Our first day at Midyear we heard from a woman much wiser than I. She spoke about magnifying the Lord with thanksgiving. She reminded us that the attributes of God can replace the weaknesses of our hearts and His promises can battle the lies that we believe about our ministry. After she spoke, I went to the beach seeking solitude and finally began to process through these feelings.

So right now I feel this… but what is true?

I feel uncared for, unheard, insignificant. But what is true? My God is the Holy Creator of the Universe and He LOVES me. He is able to do far more than I can think or imagine (Eph 3:20) and He CHOSE me. He promises that He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7) and He promises to never leave me (Heb 13:5). I am cared for and I am significant to Him.

I feel selfish, critical, stubborn, weak. But what is true? Yes, I am a sinner. God knows that I am sinful, yet HE DIED FOR ME anyway. And He will not leave me here. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I feel hopeless, like change will never happen in Uruguay. But what is true? Isaiah 11:9 promises that one day “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Every tongue will one day confess, every knee will one day bow at the Name of Jesus Christ, the only name by which we can be saved.

I feel jealous and entitled to easy ministry, like for some reason I deserve a fruitful year. But what is true? Maybe it is difficult here but Christ is worthy of my suffering. Jesus promises us suffering in this lifetime, but he has overcome. John 16:33 “ I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

I feel unhappy because I am not getting what I want. But does it really matter what I want? God tell us in Isaiah 55 that His ways are not our ways. Sometimes this means they are far away and hard to understand but they are always HIGHER GREATER BETTER.Gal 2:20 it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. Isaiah 14 His purpose will always prevail. Christ has the victory. NO ONE can thwart His plans. HE IS SOVEREIGN LORD OF ALL.

Sometimes it starts out as an act of will to believe these promises, to read Scripture, to pray through it and to believe that is is restoring to my soul. But little by little God softens my heart. He shines his light deep into my soul, meeting my needs, teaching me and restoring me to the joy of my salvation, cleansing me and purifying me so that I am able to magnify Christ for the sake of His glory. As I wrote these things down, lies combatted by truth, I was brought to tears by the goodness of God, by His power, by His grace. He loves me. He is for me. Thank you, Jesus. I believe you are good.

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