“I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 (NASB)
I remember that night like it was yesterday.
I sat numbed, staring at a powered-off TV, replaying a conversation that aired in real life that morning. One that sucker-punched me to the core.
“We’re letting you go,” said the coaches of the New England Patriots, guys I admired and respected. This wasn’t the first time I’d been cut. It was the third time I was told I couldn’t do what I’d dreamed of doing since I was a little boy — play quarterback.
That night, I stared into blank space pleading with God, “I thought we had this. I thought You had a plan in mind! What’s the deal?”
I had no job. No car. No home. And I didn’t have a clue what the future held.
I’m not saying getting cut multiple times from different NFL football teams is the end of the world or the worst thing that can happen to a person, but it shook my identity quite a bit. And it definitely made me wrestle with doubt about God’s plan and purpose for my life.
You may or may not relate to football, but I bet there was a time, or two, in your life when you faced a storm that turned your world upside down. Maybe a dream you worked so hard to fulfill flopped. Or your once rock-solid marriage starting crumbling. Or the cancer came back. Or something you were positive God put on your heart to do didn’t quite turn out the way you expected.
I’ve learned that in these times of disappointment, failure or loss we need to be grounded in our identity in Jesus Christ. Sometimes we cave into cultural or societal pressure and allow the things of this world to define us — like what we look like, what kind of car is parked in our garage, what title we hold at the office, how much money is in our bank account, our marriage, how well our kids are doing, how many followers or likes we have on social media.
But as Jesus followers, none of these things define us. If they did, each one of us would be left questioning our identity, because let’s be real … the material stuff doesn’t last.
Looks fade. Financial situations change. Jobs come and go, friends and followers, too.
So who are we? Maybe the better question is, Whose are we? We are children of God. We were created by Love, in love and for love. And because we belong to Him, we can endure even the toughest of times. This is what our key verse, Psalm 16:8, tells us, “I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
When life throws us curve balls or shatters into tiny bits before our eyes, it’s easy to doubt ourselves, God’s plan, even God Himself. But when we’re hurt, disappointed or frustrated by the negative side of thwarted plans, crushed dreams and painful losses, we can still hold on to God’s truth.
We can set the Lord continually before us. We can choose over and over to trust God and believe He’s still got a plan for our lives, even when we don’t have a clue what that is. We may feel shaken by emotions and circumstances, but we’ll always have Someone to hold on to. Someone who will never, ever let us go.
When you know Whose you are, it changes everything.
Dear Jesus, Thank you that You are my Father and I am Your child. Thank You that I am not defined by the world or by others, but by You. Remind me in times of doubt or confusion that You have a plan and a purpose for my life. And that no matter what comes my way, my faith will stand because You will never let me go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Belonging to God’s Family
By: Peter Borgdorff, today.reframemedia.com
Scripture Reading — Ephesians 2:19-22
You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people …
Ephesians 2:19 —
The need to belong and to be at home in a community is important for all of us. Not to belong to a community is to experience loneliness. A person may have many acquaintances and be involved in a number of organizations, but that’s not the same thing as knowing the feeling of belonging.
Paul assured the early Christians in Ephesus that being “in Christ” through faith also made them part of the community of God’s people and God’s household.
The same is true for us today. Today God’s household is called the church, the family of God. Every one of us who is a follower of Jesus needs to find a home in the church with other believers in Christ.
That’s not always easy. There may have been times—or even right now—when you have felt like a foreigner or a stranger. Perhaps the church you are now familiar with has not been as welcoming as you would have liked. You may even be tempted to give up on it. But a place in God’s household is God’s gift to you. Being part of a church family is a crucial part of your discipleship.
Even as we find our place in God’s family, we likewise need to be agents of welcoming others. The benefit of belonging to a household is a two-way street. Not only are we ourselves blessed, but we are called to be the instrument in God’s hand to welcome others.
By: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey