\nI know we have all heard the phrase, “God will use it for the good!” when we have been in a tough spot.\nDo you know how annoying that is to hear sometimes?\nI mean, let’s just be honest right now, you often times want to punch someone when they tell you that.\nYou want to say, REALLY? Really? Why don’t YOU try going through what I am going through right now and see how fun that is to hear?\nNo to mention, just because something will eventually become part of the masterpiece God creates, doesn’t mean that the pain hurts any less.\nIt doesn’t mean that you understand the answer to “Why me?”.\nIt doesn’t take away the fact that your flesh and your heart are going to cry out because you’re frustrated or scared or lonely or confused.\nIf anything, I think sometimes knowing God can literally do anything can be more frustrating because you want to ask: WHERE ARE YOU? Can’t you just fix this all?\nIf you are God and you KNOW I am hurting and you love me, why are you allowing this to happen?\nAs I have gotten older and reflected more on the things I have been through, I have realized an over-arching theme about the way God loves us:\nIt is a selfless love that cares far more about the condition of the heart and the person that you are than it cares about the perception of His love.\nThe thing is, if God wanted to, He could easily fix any situation with literally the snap of His fingers.\nIf He wanted healing to be automatic, He could easily do that with no sweat off His back.\nBut He doesn’t.\nHe loves with a selfless love that aches and yearns for you to be more like His son.\nSo instead of gaining “Cool Dad Award”, He sits back, lets you scream and wave your arms at Him as you throw senseless insults His way.\nIf He cared about how you perceived Him more than He cared about you, He would remove the obstacles and let you carry on your jolly way.\nSeriously— take a second to think about it.\nImagine that you were a parent or maybe you already are one.\nYour child comes home and tells you that people at school are talking about him\/her.\nYour blood boils, you become enraged and you want so badly to go to that school, ring those little skinny kid’s necks and tell them who they are messing with.\nBut you know that things like this will happen in your child’s life and you have to let them stand up for themselves eventually.\nSo, you remind them of who they are in Christ, tell them you love them and ensure them that after all this is said and done, they will be stronger for it.\nCan you imagine how hard that would be???\nIt is not because you do not love them that you do this but because you couldn’t possibly love them more.\nMaybe not the best analogy, but you see where I am going with this.\nGod is good.\nGod loves you.\nThose are two eternal truths that will never, ever change.\nWhen you are going through a tough time, hard-pressed in a struggle, confused, fearful, stressed out, anxious or just hurting, try to focus on WHO it is making you.\nFocus on how your heart is being strengthened.\nFocus on the promises God has for your life.\nFocus on who God is- a loving Father who knows that the best thing He can do for you is not save you from every fire, but make sure that every fire makes you more like His son.\nSo, for those of you in the heat of storm, I know it is tough, especially during the Christmas season.\nI won’t Jesus juke you and say, “Be of good cheer! He uses everything for the good!”\nBut I will tell you that it’s okay to be hurting or going through a hard time.\nIt’s okay that when you first wake up, sometimes you would rather lay in bed than face the day.\nIt is okay to not be okay during Christmas.\nBut just remember that you have a God who really, really, really, really, flippin’ loves you.\nAnd He is not oblivious to your pain or your scars; He has been with you all along.\nHowever, He is most aware of the condition of your heart and He knows that bad times strengthen good people.\nSo, please, don’t ball your fists up at Him or question whether He knows you’re hurting; trust Him.\nSeek Him in the valley.\nJesus was born in a barn because there was no room for the King of Kings to be born in an Inn- I’d say He understands complicated and non-preferential circumstances.\nAs my grandmother always tells me when I am sobbing in tears and can’t see out my eyeballs, “Romans 8:28, Cleere. Romans 8:28”.\nTrust Him and say this with me, “You make ALL things work together for my good.”\nSometimes He may not get “Coolest Dad Award” but He will always, always, always get “Selfless Dad Award.”\nLove y’all, Happy Sunday!