For when its promises are empty.

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(On Jonah 2 for She Reads Truth, #SheSharesTruth)

There was blatant disobedience.

And then discipline.

Wills were pitted against one another. Fear of man against fear of God. Stubbornness against sovereignty. Selfish anger against holy wrath. Temporal against eternal.

A wrestling match ensued.

The hand was firm, the expectation obvious, the pursuit holy.

But when it became clear there was no battle to be maintained, the Victor sovereign and glorious and holy, there was a cry for help and a prayer for deliverance.

A white flag raised.

Actions responded to holy discipline. Knees bowed, but the heart stood tall, proud.

So that hand continued steadfast, firm. Breaking ensued.

And soon.

Through the brokenness, one thing became utterly, undeniably clear.

The pursuit of self, that sin, sacrifice to man-made idols was fruitless. It was destructive. It didn’t hold a candle to the Creator, the Redeemer, the relentless I AM. Whose love is just. And perfect. And holy. And righteous. And true.

And remembering that Creator, that love, paralyzed the rebellion.

“While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You, into your Holy temple.” v. 7

And the response astounded. In the midst of desperation, there was worship.

And sacrifice.

And thankfulness.

“But you have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.” v. 6b

“Those who regard vain idols forsake faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving.” v. 8-9

You see, therein lies the very remedy for an idol—that thing that fights for your affection, demands your attention, saps your strength, taunts you with its promises, destroys you with its lies.

Worship and sacrifice and thankfulness.

Because it is in the desperation that we must worship the one true God.

Demonstrating His worth. That He is more precious to me than all life can give or death can take.

Because it is in the moment the strongest desires are vying for the heart’s throne that that the lies, the empty promises, the idol must be sacrificed on the altar of true worship. (Here is my story of that sacrifice.)

Demonstrating that my hopes and dreams and plans fall second to my love for my God. Dying to self.

Because it is in the middle, not end, of the darkest night, the deepest valley, that we must thank—thankful for the trial, thankful for the pain, for the temporal gifts, for the abundance found in Christ.

Demonstrating that what I have in Christ is enough. That I will thank and praise Him regardless of circumstances. Because it is HE I treasure.

For it is in the worship He is glorified. And in the sacrifice He is honored. And in the thankfulness He is magnified.

And it is in seeing my Savior glorified and honored and magnified that my heart is healed and that idol is destroyed.

And it is in practicing worship and thankfulness that the void that idol leaves is filled with abundant love.

And I am reminded of the riches, the grace that abounds, the gift of my salvation. To be pursued, to be loved sacrificially, to be disciplined, to be taught, to be drawn near, to be held and never released.

And I am left in awe.

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11 thoughts on “For when its promises are empty.

  1. Oh.My.Gosh. Your post is so heartfelt and transparent. I could feel the mighty move of God through your words. “You see, therein lies the very remedy for an idol—that thing that fights for your affection, demands your attention, saps your strength, taunts you with its promises, destroys you with its lies. Worship and sacrifice and thankfulness.” This is good spiritual food that I am piling high on my plate! Thank you Sis for this beautiful piece, God truly is getting all of the glory from it.

  2. Awe is what I felt reading the passages too- it is also my word for 2014 looking for moments when God takes my breath away. I really liked this: Because it is in the middle, not end, of the darkest night, the deepest valley, that we must thank— to often we just call out or feel overwhelmed. We are called to thank.

  3. SRT sister here……”And it is in seeing my Savior glorified and honored and magnified that my heart is healed and that idol is destroyed.” MY LORD!!!!
    I’m speechless and awestruck. He’s just so awesome. This post is such a wonderful, clean, beautiful, endearing expression of your appreciation, our appreciation of His love. Thank you AGAIN!

  4. I just love your writing style and have been encouraged and inspired by your weekly SRT posts. Thanks again for sharing and for your insight into this passage.

  5. Incredible post! I so love that we have an amazing Savior who longs for us, who comes after us with a holy pursuit, a savior who heals and mends every part of who we are and just leaves us speechless! What an astounding gift we have been given through Him!

  6. I am truly encouraged by your post!! Just incredible!!
    Just love this: Demonstrating that what I have in Christ is enough. That I will thank and praise Him regardless of circumstances. Because it is HE I treasure.
    A great reminder, that it’s not the stuff that matters… it is HIM!
    Thank you!

  7. Thank you for writing this. Truly showing the beautiful and real struggle that comes between self (and the idol of self) and the love of God/ Truly we are redeemed to be taught, disciplined and loved. In the sacrifice He is honoured
    Definitely a favourtie psot that I will come back to time and time again #shesharestruth

  8. Thank you for writing this. Truly showing the beautiful and real struggle that comes between self (and the idol of self) and the love of God/ Truly we are redeemed to be taught, disciplined and loved. In the sacrifice He is honoured
    Definitely a favourite post that I will come back to time and time again #shesharestruth

  9. So poetic, Lauren! “Wills were pitted against one another.” Isn’t this what it always comes down to? My will and His. And I know… I KNOW… that He will always win in the end. Why must I wrestle with Him so?

    LOVE this post!

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