People have been asking if what I wrote on self-harm will be in a future devotional. It will, and that future will be soon. Here’s another preview, a chapter called “True vs. Truth”:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The circumstances are real, and you’re going to have to deal with them. But you don’t have to allow them to condemn, crush, or corrupt who you are. Even when you feel powerless, you’re still empowered to see every relationship and every situation as your heavenly father sees them.
We were getting the sound system set up for a Sunday meeting when a sparrow flew into the room. The windows were large, and thinking it was open, the bird flew full speed into one. He fell onto the sound board, lifeless. I picked him up carefully, but it was obvious his neck was broken. No breath, no heartbeat. I was upset. Things had been difficult enough lately, and this just made the gloom seem thicker and darker. This was not the way to begin worship. Or was it?
I felt God stir my heart. I went outside and asked him how to pray. In my mind, I kept hearing the phrase, “Speak life.” I walked around the parking lot, speaking out life, blessing, and everything I felt he was prompting for about 20 minutes. But the little creature lay unmoving in my hand. Part of me kept wanting to just fall into that gloom. But the life I’d been speaking had been calling my heart to life too. I thought of one of my favorite verses, Acts 5:20, in which an angel tells Peter and John to go, stand, and speak life. In my heart, I agreed with that, no matter what the results of this were. And then.
The bird jumped up in my palm like a popping cork. The neck was no longer elongated from being snapped. He seemed to be in shock, though. His beak was open, and he was breathing hard. I felt God say to put him down, and leave him alone for a while. I placed him gently under a small bush. Excited—so excited—I went back inside, thanking God that I got to experience this with him.
I continued setting things up, but I could barely breathe for what had happened. About a half hour later, I felt the Lord say to go back out. There was my little friend, in the same spot. He hopped out from under the bush, totally fine. He cocked his head at me as if to say “thanks,” and flew away.
Your life may be darker and more difficult than it’s ever been. You may be facing situations that are frightening and overwhelming. Someone may have judged you worthless, a failure, and never good enough. But you’re going to let God show you the roots of every lie, offense, and rejection, and disempower them with his overwhelming truth, grace, and love. No matter what anyone else sees, you are brilliant, amazing, brave, smart, capable, confident, powerful, and completely loved. Your heavenly father is proud to call you his child. Put every circumstance in his hands. Over and over, if you need to. Let the wounded, bitter, self-piteous version of yourself go with them. Let God remake you as a new creation—whole, joyful, unbound from the past, un-offendable, and excited about your future with him. Just think—if he cares this much about a little sparrow, well, you know.
“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (Matthew 10:29 & 31).
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27)