“O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! For Your arrows pierce me deeply, And Your hand presses me down. There is no soundness in my flesh Because of Your anger, Nor any health in my bones Because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are foul and festering Because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.”
Psalms 38:1-6 NKJV
My early days in the faith were quite difficult, as I had many strongholds of sin and internal, emotional damage to overcome. As I read Psalm 38 this morning, I was reminded of almost every morning way back then. When I said yes to Jesus, I was a licensed school district teacher at a local children’s mental hospital.
It was the worse possible setting for me, as I had more issues than the many children I taught. In the midst of that setting, the Lord had created a crucible of sorts for me, a place of refinement to begin burning the dross from me.
““But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.”
Malachi 3:2-3 NKJV
“But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Job 23:10 NKJV
In the pressure of that time, I felt the hand of Lord press upon me. The weakness I had sought for so long to hide, began to show itself, as I struggled. The pressure brought to the surface many incidental incompetencies, places where my fragile emotional state affected my ability to do my job. Because of my increasing and evident failures, there were consequences, that ultimately resulted in my leaving teaching.
It would be easy to be angry at God for putting me in such a position where I would struggle, but I am thankful as I look back.
He was providing the place where I could begin dealing with a lifetime of damage, rendering it inert. Up to that point, my pain was powerful fodder for the evil one.
Those difficult times of refinement were instrumental in preparing me for later situations in my life to come. Because of the daily pressure, I learned to endure.
I remember the mocking during those times, as my fellow teachers cast judgement on me. I really felt for my associate, Jan, who had to weather the same storm of my creation.
The Lord did not leave me alone in those circumstances, but accompanied me, correcting me, lovingly.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah”
Psalms 32:1-5 NKJV
I have learned to run to the Lord when I have sinned.
Brothers and sisters, I know that there are many of us who have struggled with various sins, deeply embedded in our lives, so much so, that we have not had the joy of the Lord. There are many who have felt conviction upon conviction, feeling as though this faith its drudgery. Some have fallen away.
But know this: the Lord is doing a work in you. If you are born again, having been forgiven your sins, God is in you. Because of His presence, you have the power to live holy.
You might feel as though you cannot go on, becoming sickened of the same old sins, constantly happening in your life. You might be one whose sins have brought grave consequences, that affected you and those who love you. God can make things right. As I stated earlier, He has only started.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
Look to the Lord in the struggle. Those in opposition will poke their fingers at you, and seek to cast shade upon your God, but have hope. They did it to Jesus, and He overcame them.
As you turn to Jesus, He will give you victory, turning consequences into blessings bearing fruit into eternity.
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