Go Away, Dismay! 

When people hate you because you love Jesus and tell others about his miraculous healing…when people hate you because you care enough to tell them the truth about false teachers who bring false hope and false prophecy, which will bring them more pain…when people gossip about you and listen to lies because it makes them feel better about dabbling in their own sin…when people blatantly ignore you out of jealousy because they think they have your life all figured out and really just need to be working out their own…when people turn away from you because they feel uncomfortably convicted about their own life issues around you, not because you’re perfect, but because you strive to please God…when people use you, and then have no time for you, or only make time for you in hopes that they can squeeze a little more usefulness out of you for their own selfish gains…when people especially do these things to you, when at one time you considered them to be your friendsthe silver lining is that JESUS knows your heart.

JESUS is your real friend, and he loves you unconditionally, and forever. JESUS doesn’t care if you’re popular or accepted. JESUS supports you and is on your side, and he is fighting the evil in the spirit world that looks to be so much like flesh and blood working against you. During the storm, GOD miraculously protects you, grows you, holds you, and is miraculously working out His Holy plan for you, all at the same time! Even if some of the people working against you claim to be Christians, pray for them to be saved, or convicted. Pray for truth to be revealed. God is already sifting out the people who are not part of His plan for you, and all at the same time, He is cleansing your mind, purifying  your heart, and refining you like silver and testing you like gold.

So when it seems the world is against you, if you’re following Jesus, you should not be dismayed. Hold on to hope in The One who created you and loves you, The LORD, your GOD. Trust in The Lord, your God, and choose joy: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed”  (1 Peter 1: 6-7 New International Version).

“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts”  (Prov. 17:3 English Standard Version).

Mistakes or Miracles?  God Creates Goodness!

My daughter is a budding artist. She is perfectionistic in her work, so it’s difficult for her when she makes a mistake on her pictures. I wonder how she got that way? As she was making an adorable book about birds and worms, her creative happiness suddenly turned to sadness.

She no longer wanted to use one of the pages for her book, because she had made a mistake on her worm. She said it was too big. I told her it was okay, because worms come in different shapes and sizes. She agreed, but she became more upset, and said she didn’t want to use that particular picture. I said that was fine, but we would need to stop and talk, because she was really upset.

Her eyes filled with tears. Staring at the page, she said she was sad because the worm dies in her story. I told her that since she was the author of the book, she was the boss. I asked her why the worm had to die. Couldn’t something else happen to the worm? Could he escape? What if she wrote a silly story about the worm getting away when the bird was chasing it? The tears didn’t come. Instead, she immediately put her head down and began to draw. She was changing her story.

I told my daughter that God can always fix our mistakes. She was still looking at her drawings, so I asked her if she remembered what I said. She said she wasn’t sure, so I asked her to look into my eyes: “You will make mistakes,” I said. “Mommy will make mistakes. But God can fix our mistakes. God can make good things come out of our mistakes.” She nodded her headed.

“What good thing came out of your mistake today?” I asked her.

“A new story!” She was smiling.

“Yes,” I said, “And what else?”

“It’s okay to make mistakes,” she said.

“Yes! What else?”

“I don’t have to get upset!” I was happy she understood. I reminded her that she had also learned a new technique. I had taught her that if she liked part of a drawing she had created, she could take a blank piece of paper, trace over the part she likes, and leave out the rest. It wouldn’t be copying, because she’d be using her original art. I told not to get mad and scribble, because we could talk about her mistake and possibly turn it into something else. I reminded her that she had learned all these things today, simply because she thought she’d made a mistake. God can always fix it. God fixes everything!

My daughter is the author and illustrator of her book. She can change the direction of her story. God is the author and illustrator of our lives. He gives us free will, but He already knows how our story will end. He creates a silver lining in the midst of our dark storm and turns it into a sunny day. With Jesus, God takes our mistakes, and turns them into something beautiful; a new twist in the turning pages our living storybooks.

Later that night, I realized that through teaching my daughter, I had learned a lesson myself. Isn’t it amazing how God works? As a child, I lived in an environment where perfection was expected. It wasn’t safe to make mistakes without consequences. Because I didn’t feel safe to make mistakes, I’ve struggled with decision-making, and I’ve agonized over mistakes; both real and perceived. Sometimes I’ve procrastinated to the point of becoming completely frozen, unable to make a decision at all.

Throughout my life, I’ve been fearful of what lies ahead if I take the wrong fork in the road. But God is good! God has greatly healed me from the guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnation which accompanies mistakes. I’m grateful that God already knows about each and every decision I will make. God has shown me the truth, so I can share wisdom with my daughter, and my children can grow to be free in Christ.

Will you let God turn the pages of your book? Will you trust Him to take your mistake, and turn it into a great work of art? We don’t have to be afraid of our mistakes anymore. God loves us, so we don’t have to be fearful. He is on our side! “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 Jn. 4:18 New International Version). 

God gave us the best eraser ever; Jesus Christ, who erases our sins. When we accept Jesus, and repent, he forgives us of all of our sins! He also makes beauty from ashes, so with Jesus, we can’t go wrong! “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory” (Isa. 61:3 New Living Translation).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:1-2 English Standard Version