We have finally settled into our house, and it’s starting to feel more like a home. It’s been a long journey, especially since we sold our last house in September of 2022. We tried to buy 14 houses over the course of a year before we settled on this one. We’d either end up under contract, with a poor inspection, or we’d get outbid.
However, throughout that year, we learned so much, not just in renovation terms. God used that time to shape our hearts and to mold us.
One of my favorite Scriptures is Isaiah 64:8. It reads, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” What a beautiful illustration, right? I’ve read that time and time again, and it’s such a good reminder that whatever situation or circumstance we’re in, God is using that to shape us and to sanctify us (to make us more like Him).
When we read that, it doesn’t mean that God causes our heartache and pain. Because the reality is He doesn’t. He doesn’t cause death; He doesn’t cause infidelity; He doesn’t cause hurt and heartache; He doesn’t cause the ugly that’s pervaded this world. He doesn’t cause gossip and slander or misplaced trust. That all started when Satan tricked Adam and Eve into eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:4-7). But what Isaiah 64:8 does tell us is that God takes our circumstances – those that are driven partially by our freewill and partially by the fact that we’re all sinners doing life with other sinners in a fallen world – and He uses those circumstances to make us more like Him.
Because of Jesus, we can overcome hard things. We can live simultaneously with hurt and joy. We can live simultaneously with grief and peace. We can live simultaneously with heartache and forgiveness. Why? Because we know that one day, when we take our last earthly breath, we will overcome death, just as Jesus did. In that, we will live eternally without the pain, hurt, darkness, sadness, and the unforgiving circumstances we face here, because of Him and what He did on the cross for us.
Paul, who was imprisoned at the time he authored Philippians, wrote “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). This tells us that our circumstances don’t define us, nor does our happiness. Jesus does. In Him we can be content. He’s our strength. He’s our reason to carry on and our reason to keep fighting, to keep loving, to keep forgiving, and to keep showing up. He gives us the ability to keep our hearts soft and postured towards God in all circumstances, understanding that God doesn’t cause the hard things, but instead that He can use them to shape us, when we let Him.
As we head into a new week, I want to encourage us to look at the circumstances we’re in right now and look at the circumstances we’ve come from. Let’s ask ourselves: Are our hearts postured towards God and everything that He is and offers: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control? Or, are our hearts a little hardened and bitter? If it’s the latter, let’s ask God to work in that space, and specifically pray for that this week.
Have a great week, friends! In early November, I’ll be sharing some of our favorite Christmas resources.