2 Chronicles 7:14 "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
(I gasped an hour later when, catching up on a missed sermon, the speaker began with...yes, 2 Chronicles 7:14!)
Whoops. DEFINITELY something I need to learn. God said this to the nation of Israel but the call to humility, to prayer, to turn to God, to change, starts with each one of us. And that promise of forgiveness and healing is for each one of us as well.
Then I looked at the context, in verse 13: ' “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,..." '
Hmmm. My struggles with friends, acquaintances, neighbours, colleagues...all small stuff compared to famine and deadly disease.
Yet, in my life, this feels like famine and disease.
When a friend withdraws friendship, I begin to starve. Friends feed and nourish my spirit and emotions, help me in my walk with God, encourage my heart.
An attack on my personality and integrity brings dis-ease to my heart. It becomes unhealthy, damaged, prone to more attack. I need to recognize that "...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
This helps, too: again, quoted by Lisa Notes
“I was neither as good as I hoped I might be nor as bad as I feared. I was simply another of God’s beggars, grateful to have found my way into the pool.” (From Leaving Church: A memoir of Faith by Barbara Taylor Bradford)
I love that. As I recognize that I am not 'as good as I hoped I might be' (aka Perfect), I also recognize that, because God loves me just as I am, then I am not 'as bad as I feared'. It's not about what I think of myself - particularly in relation to others - but about what God thinks of me. It's about putting myself in my rightful place: at the feet of Jesus, simply delighted to be in his presence, where nothing else matters.
Not famine, nor disease;
Not unfriendliness, nor criticism.
Not accusation, nor aggression.
For "...With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:...None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:31 - 39. The Message)
Absolutely NOTHING can get between me and God's love.