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I once wrote a rough draft about my struggle with Lyme disease and titled it Lost at Sea. I used the analogy of being on a boat heading to my destination, and somewhere along the line, I ran into a storm and was thrown overboard. Throughout the book, I go from being tossed among the waves, to climbing aboard a life-raft only to find it covered in holes. In yet another spot, I drift with nothing but a flare to shoot off hoping to be spotted by someone who can help me along the way.
The entire draft was just about fighting against the current to get to dry land–a solution for Lyme, a chance to be free from the struggle.While I enjoyed writing the analogy, you don’t usually catch Lyme disease in a nautical setting. I found myself rewriting it a year later as Lost in the Woods after I experienced some improvement in my situation.
It was similar, but this time, I had a more hopeful perspective. In this analogy, I was hiking only to lose sight of why I had set out in the first place. I lost all sense of direction and trudged my way through the rainy forest floor, sinking deeper into the mud.
Exhausted, alone, and confused, I was ready to give up until I realized that everything I needed to survive was right there with me. The trees, the birds, the rain, the streams, the wind. They were all clues on helping find my way out.
This revised version wasn’t about struggling against the terrain, it was about using it to my advantage.
HEALING MY MIND BEFORE MY BODY
In focusing all of my energy on healing my body, I neglected the one thing that mattered the most. Healing my spirit. I felt as if everyone was waiting for me to get better. Turns out, they were walking alongside me, not waiting on me.
And so was God. He was my companion for the journey, and all I had to do was acknowledge his presence and stop assuming my disease meant his absence.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. To let go of controlling your situation and placing your focus and confidence on the God who is calling your name, asking for you to trust Him. In the pain, in the fear, in the unknown. To believe that He can bring good even out of the hardest situation.
The only way I found peace in that time of desperation was when I appreciated what was right in front of me. I started being more grateful for the little things. Eventually, I was able to see the bigger things: the God-things all around me.
I saw a father desperately wanting to heal my heart and mind before he started on my body.
Of course, God is saddened by our suffering, but what matters most to Him? That we are more dependent on Him or ourselves? That we are transformed into better, more compassionate, loving people or that life goes as smoothly as possible?
OWNING OUR NEGATIVITY
Life is HARD. Finding joy in difficult circumstances is a discipline, not a character trait.
It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will use a situation to bring us down or build us up. Hardships will either bring you closer to God or further away from Him. Can we see them as opportunities for transformation?
Last week we covered the Old Testament and the major events that led up to the New Testament. In this story, we read of a God continually calling His children back to His side. In the book of Samuel, we meet a young boy who will be the future King of God’s people. He is a flawed man and king, but we don’t remember him as a failure, we remember David as “a man after God’s own heart.”
What God desires is not our perfection, but our hearts. Our whole hearts, dedicated to seeking Him first.
SO WHAT MAKES THE NEW TESTAMENT “NEW”?
400 years after the Old Testament prophets have written the last book about the coming of a Savior, the Savior shows up. Not in the form of a powerful king, but as a tiny, homeless baby in a manger.
What does this mean?
It means that in the Old Testament, God’s people are constantly repenting of their sin and offering sacrifices to be forgiven, but when Jesus humbly offers his life as the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind’s sin, there is no requirement for future sacrifices. Our sins have been forgiven.
Does that mean we do whatever we want? No, it still means the same thing it did in the Old Testament: God desires our hearts, not our perfection. For us to be in relationship with Him daily, to turn to Him for our needs, to praise Him in the storm.
The New Testament is “new” because EVERYTHING changed when Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead. His sacrifice trumped any hold sin could ever have on us. The New Testament is the story of the Gospel (aka The Good News!).
Before you go any further, make sure you have reviewed the previous post on the Old Testament Timeline. Ready? Here we go. Remember this handy chart?
We learned that the books of the Bible are grouped into categories, not chronological order. However, the New Testament order isn’t quite as confusing as the Old Testament.
- Matthew – John are all different accounts of the same story: Jesus’ life.
- Acts is the history of starting the Church after Jesus goes to heaven.
- Romans – Philemon are letters to churches and Christians from Paul, a missionary.
- Hebrews – Jude are letters from other Christian leaders.
- Revelation is a prophecy that John the Apostle received from Jesus about the end times.
Phew! Let’s take a breather.
You’ve been given one HUGE history lesson. Take some time to work your way through it.
All of my past articles are tools for you to live life better, instead of making life all about you. Jesus is modeling and teaching us the same thing! But don’t mistake that for completely neglecting yourself. Jesus actually gives us permission to practice self-care because he did it himself!
WANT TO DIG DEEPER INTO THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE BEFORE WE MOVE ON?
Check out these great Bible studies for a more in-depth study of a specific book of the Bible:
- Sermon on the Mount (Jesus’ sermon in the Gospels)
- Breaking Free (Isaiah) by Beth Moore
- James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore
- Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore
- Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore
- Living Beyond Yourself (Galatians) by Beth Moore
- Daniel by Beth Moore
- She Reads Truth: Lent (Study of Exodus-Deuteronomy)
- She Reads Truth: God Is Among You (Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Haggai)
- Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin (historical fiction novels based on 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles
- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (historical fiction novel inspired by events in the book of Hosea)
See you next week!