Do you ever have moments when you know that God’s plan unfolded just as it should have, it’s just not the plan you wanted? Has God’s plan ever been hard to accept?
A year ago this week I began a new adventure with God. This adventure grew out of a very desperate prayer, “God please don’t let this pain go to waste.”
It was the pain of loss. It was the pain of letting go. The pain of accepting the new reality. Mid March of 2020, this was my condition – mentally, emotionally, spiritually exhausted from trying to accept our new reality – a life ahead without my brother in it. I was poured out from being strong for my family. I was poured out from holding it all together. I felt empty.
I felt like I had nothing left, no answers, no quick fix. Just an invitation to begin the healing journey with Jesus as my navigator.
In order for the healing to begin, I had to accept where I was, and accept my new reality.
One night during our spring break visit with my mom and dad I prayed as I laid in bed, wide eyed, unable to fall asleep.
“God,” I prayed, “I don’t understand your reasoning for why Zach’s life had to end.” I paused as I wrestled to say the next words – hoping that I truly meant what I was about to say. “I’m ready to accept your plan. I’m ready to start healing. I can’t take another step without you.”
With that prayer I couldn’t keep myself in my bed. I slid down and knelt by the bed. I sobbed and sobbed. I sobbed until there were no tears left, only quiet, hoarse whimpers. I dragged myself back into bed with swollen, tear stained eyes, and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I woke up with the slight headache that comes from crying. But I headed to the one place I wanted to be, with a journal and my Bible, spent time with Jesus. I soaked in the moment. I breathed out the tension of the tears from the night before. I breathed in God’s mercy for the brand new day.
The Bible reading plan for that day was Psalm 63.
Psalm 63:1-8 says,
“O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
Yes!! Yes! This is what my soul was crying out in sobs of tears the night before.
Tears apparently had time while I was sleeping to be re-supplied in my tear ducts – and they began their flowing steady stream. “I cling to you.” I muttered aloud. “Your unfailing love is better than life.” I prayed. “Your strong hand holds me securely.”
And just like that – there was a prick in my heart and I began to journal; “Lord, I know I need to make a video. Help me to know what to say and where to start. Help me to have the courage to do this. Our world needs hope now more than ever. Use my voice to bring hope, peace and calm amid the storms of life.”
When these thoughts first came to mind- when this prayer was first prayed- I thought it was a singular message. I thought it was a one and done compelling video speech on hope.
However, over the next few days I sat before God and asked what He wanted with this video. He kept reminding me of these verses from Psalm 63. This “this parched and weary land” resonated with intensity.
I began to see that the journey from parched to quenched is a daily choosing of Jesus.
I began to see that it wasn’t about one video at all, it was about bringing hope to the hopeless daily. And the message of hope was first for me and my family.
And so Cup of Hope was born as a daily devotional to bring the living water of Jesus Christ to the parched and weary.
There is one major lesson I have learned this year walking out this obedience before God. One thing I have come to understand sitting morning after morning in the “Cup of Hope” chair with my “Cup of Hope” mug, and that lesson is that nothing else matters.
No, it’s not the chair, the room, the ring light, or the mug that matters. It’s not my face on facebook.
It’s the message of Jesus Christ. It’s giving living water – the person of Jesus Christ – to all who will listen.
Nothing else matters. It’s only Jesus.
I shared a song by Cody Carnes called, Nothing Else, on the March 29th episode of Cup of Hope. The song says this, “I’m not here for blessings. Jesus, You don’t owe me anything. More than anything that You can do, I just want You.”
I just want Jesus. I just want more of Him. There’s nothing that I want for you than for you to have more of Jesus.
The more we press in, let go and allow God to be THE ONE to quench our thirsting souls, the more healed and restored we become. I said it on this Cup of Hope message, the greatest gift we can give away is Jesus. Jesus is the greatest blessing we can share, the only one who can truly fill our cups with hope.
This week is a week to celebrate the healing received, the hope given, the peace surrounded, the comfort administered and the new or rebirthed relationships with God.
Indeed, on this first anniversary of Cup of Hope we have much to celebrate! Much glory to give to God for all He has done and all He will continue to do through Cup of Hope in the days ahead.
More than anything I want to celebrate Jesus! I want to celebrate that nothing else matters – except being in relationship with Jesus!
If you have been with me from the beginning of Cup of Hope or have just discovered it, I pray over you that every day when you leave, you leave longing for more of Jesus – the only one who can satisfy. Until next week, may you receive blessings of peace, hope, love, joy, grace and mercy!