The Good & Bad: The Struggle

It is my personal belief that the book of Lamentations is one of the least read books in the bible. Why? Read the definition of lamentation above and you'll see why. Who really wants to read about struggle, grief and mourning? I can honestly say that I've never read it. Not purposely, but if you're like I used to be you focus more on the Gospels and Psalms or even Revelations. I was recently talking to a friend of mine, Ambrea about struggles I have or have had in life. She basically told me I need to do a character check. That's real! It should be common knowledge that a lot of what we go through in life is based off of what we put into the universe. We reap what we sow right? Of course that isn't ALWAYS the case. Take Job for instance. He was a man after God's own heart and his struggles, while painful and intense, glorified God. I know that my struggle was because of my sins. We go through trials, regardless of intensity or reason to Glorify God.

I can't remember what prompted me to read Lamentations. I think I saw an Instagram post or something, but it was definitely the Holy Spirit that led me there. I'd suggest that everyone who reads this post reads Lamentations and does a deep soul check. Keep in mind that "she" in the scriptures is referring to Jerusalem. I wanted to stop reading after only a few lines. This city was going through it and it brought up so many personal issues that I know I need to deal with. I vividly remember losing my apartment along with 98% of what was in it. I'm a  firm believer that it was because I was neck deep in sin at the time and God CLEARLY wasn't pleased with me and what I was doing. He gave me several chances to get it together. I joined a church family who strongly supported me. I acted saved because I knew they were watching and because my boyfriend at the time was a minister, but I didn't truly have a change of heart and mind. I could feel myself changing and I lost everything. I used to be a great friend, but I lost friends because I became buttholes to them. I allowed the way people from my past treated me to affect how I treated others. I adopted the mentality that no one truly cared about me, not even God so I gave up on people and on God. Bitterness and envy took over and I didn't care that I continued sinning. I figured that the means justified the ends.

Get this: By the time I came to my senses and decided to get my life together God had already said, "Nah playa, you're on your own!" I went through it. I cried and fasted, prayed and cried, but it didn't seem as if God heard me. He cracked the whip and I was in my season of punishment and struggle. Life was hard. I was homeless and in shelters with my son. Lamentations talks about Jerusalem crying out to God and not getting a response. 1:16 "For these things I weep; My eye, my eye overflows with water; because the comforter, who should restore my life, is far from me." I lost everything I owned. I mean, my son and I had "stuff". A lot of it was given to us and a lot of it I worked very hard for. I was pissed and I hardened my heart towards God which was the opposite of what I should have been doing. 

God is just and faithful through whatever season we endure. We have to remember that "the wages of sin is death", so it's by God's grace and mercy alone that we are still alive to be chastised and suffer. A lot, if not most of what we go through is due to what we do.  He warns us and gives us plenty of opportunities to get out of sin. At some point He will get tired of our disobedience and judgement will come. I can guarantee you that God doesn't like to see us 'go through', but like any loving parent He knows that we need it. I'm a parent and I know the importance of chastisement, so it makes no sense for me to feel that God doesn't love me. 

The good news about everything is that God loves us no matter what. Our period of lamenting should push us closer to God, because like Jerusalem, family and friends can't and possibly won't help you. If you're stripped of your pride and strength you should focus more on God. 

"Now Be Restored" is one of my favourite songs. Listening to the lyrics will make you think of God's grace. It brings me to tears every time. Here's the good news! 1 Peter 5:6-10 "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experience by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 

Don't allow Satan to use your anger and resentment towards God and others to cause you to sin even more. Instead of blaming God and/or Satan for our troubles we should take our chastisement as a man/woman. MUCH EASIER SAID THAT DONE, TRUST ME,  but allow God to do His perfect work in you. It should bring you to repentance. Use it as a learning experience to strengthen you and God's relationship. As the song above says, "your loss won't compare to your gain!"

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