12 Dec “Fear, Faithfulness, and Freedom… Pursuing Joy” by Ann Webb
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s Favor.”
This month as time approached to write this blog, I considered backing out. As much as I love Jesus and know HE loves me, I find myself undone and depressed as November approaches. The knowing is a head thing. My heart on the other hand feels constricted, unable to work well enough to move me to joy. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, spent four years in Christian counseling, experienced healing beyond measure, serve, tithe, and ultimately remain a blind captive. Even with all HE has done for me, I am afraid to give over my deepest hurts and live in HIS favor.
A few years back on a December morning when I simply could not get out of bed, I surrendered enough to ask HIM to show me what HE would have me to do. HIS request was simple and hard- “Take your eyes off the past and the ones that are gone, and fix them on the ones that are here.” I can’t say that I found joy, but that holiday season was definitely better than the ones before.
Since then, I hear HIM repeatedly inviting me to rest in HIM and to let HIM heal the hurts that remain. The invitation comes in messages, conversations, studies, and quiet times. HE does not barge into my heart uninvited, but HE whispers into it when I let HIM. HE shows me my foolishness and reminds me of HIS faithfulness.
Recently, my care group started a Christmas video series. The presenter says, “It is not about the stump — your hurt, your pain, your disappointment. It is about the tender shoot that grows from it.” My eyes and heart have been consumed with the stumps in my past. Isaiah 11:1 “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
HE has continued to heal my heart and renew my mind. HE is faithful to heal what I am willing to hand over. I am not sure how far I will let HIM take me. I trust that just as HE promises in Ephesians 3:20, HE will work exceedingly beyond all that I can imagine.