“I am for you; I’m not against you!”
Those words poured forth emphatically from my car radio not long ago in a song sung by the group Hawk Nelson. Other songs I’ve heard in recent months gave the same message.
Whenever I hear a song that communicates God is for me and not against me, it touches something deep in my soul. I want to listen again and again to convince myself of this truth. Too often when circumstances turn out badly, prayers go unanswered, and people around me come against me harshly for minor mistakes, I feel God must be against me too.
After all, isn’t He perfect? People around me remind me repeatedly—and angrily–of my imperfections and how far I fall short from being the woman I long to be. Their rejections of me cause me to wonder, will God reject me too?
Yes, I do have a number of highly critical people in my life, but I’m also critical of myself.
Someone told me not long ago that I’m too hard on myself.
I realized it’s true that I can be hard on myself, and when I write it seems to come through. But that day God showed me there are many out there who are hard on themselves and stay in that place. I go there for moments at a time, and then God intervenes. Scores of Christians and nonChristians beat themselves up–sometimes for decades–where they are convinced “I’m unloveable,” and “God is not for me; He is against me.”
As I read a book about prayer recently, I was tempted once again to go to the place that declares, “God is against me.” The message the author put forth was, “I prayed these prayers for my family, and they were all answered.” My thought was “I prayed those prayers too, and they weren’t answered.”
Some of the prayers I’ve been praying for years can still be answered. For others it’s too late. The window of opportunity has passed. So I sat and wondered again, “Why did God answer her prayers and not mine?” It must be something you’re doing wrong, shame’s accusing voice whispered.
Or else God is just against you.
I don’t like to go to that dark place, but God keeps allowing it because so many others are stuck there, and He wants me to help them out.
I confess sometimes when I move back to believing God is against me, I can turn to things of this world for comfort instead of going to God to receive truth to come against that lie.
One of the places I go to repeatedly is to food. That’s where I turned in a difficult childhood when those who were supposed to love me instead were against me—sometimes in cruel ways–and it seemed God was against me too because He wasn’t protecting me.
A better place to go for comfort and truth is to God’s Word. There God convinces me that He is for me, and that He will never turn against me—no matter how many times human beings do.
Here are just three of the many soul-calming words I read recently:
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:28
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (my life verse)
Recently I woke up, and God whispered to me about certain people in my life. “They don’t mean to be mean.” Once again I was reminded they acted out in hurtful ways because of their own hurts. Sometimes I’m the one hurting others because of my pain.
The bottom line is God is not against me. And He’s not against them. He loves us all. The challenge is to continue to love like Jesus even when others don’t act loving toward me, or they make incorrect negative judgments about what I say and do.
I often pray that I want to be like Jesus. And isn’t that what happened to Him? He was the most loving man that ever walked the earth, and yet people judged Him harshly and were mean to Him, even to the point of killing Him.
He did not let people’s mistreatment of Him or harsh circumstances change how He viewed His relationship with the Father. And He did not stop loving people.
Lord, help me to do the same. Help me to remember today and every day that You are for me. You are not against me.
“Drops in the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson