Well-worn, Well-loved

Freddy

This is Freddy. He has seen better days. In fact, when Jackson brought Freddy to me with stuffing seeping out, I almost suggested it may be time for His crocodile to gracefully say goodbye.

Instead I found myself (easily) being talked into stitching him back up to love another day.

Freddy is special to Jackson. I found Freddy several years ago and knew he would be just the right gift for my boy on Valentine’s Day. Freddy reminds Jackson every day that I love him, with that message written across the heart Freddy carries.

Since coming to our family, Freddy has been through a lot living with the other stuffed animals on Jackson’s bed — smells, drool, sickness, being kicked, thrown, squeezed. And, it shows. The once soft fabric is now matted and worn. The stuffing is falling out. One of his eyes is a little wonky.

But, he is loved, just as you and I are by our Heavenly Father. Many of us can say we’ve been through it — we are worn. We’ve been kicked, misaligned, pulled in too many directions. Our faith has been stretched and pulled almost thread bare. We may look in the mirror and see people who have had better days.

Look closer. View yourself through God’s eyes. He sees each of us as someone precious to love another day. We are well-worn because we are well-loved. Yes, we have faced tremendous obstacles, hurt and frustration. We have stumbled and been stained. But, the matting and thread bare places also prove we have been held so tightly. Those stitches are reminders of God’s plan to make all things work together for good, and the scars are evidence of His faithfulness and healing.

We may think we’ve grown useless, but our Savior has never been more proud to have us by His side. We are worthy because He loves us. We are His.

Finish the sentence

Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

We’ve heard others use the Romans 8:28 reassurance so many times in the midst of tragedy or frustrating circumstances to basically say, everything is going to be okay. God will use all of our struggle for the good, eventually.

It’s “in the meantime” that threatens to defeat us.

When “we know that all things work together for the good” is not enough for our current suffering, finish the sentence.

This promise is for those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.

When we are waiting for all things to work together for good, and the waiting is overwhelming, focus on these truths:

God loves you. His love never fails.
Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:10, 19

Remember that God loved us first. He didn’t wait for us to get it together. He loved us so much, He stepped into this world to pay for our sins we hadn’t even yet committed and exchanged His life for ours. The only reason I can love is because He IS love and proved it. No matter what we are going through, His love is worth living for.

We are called on purpose and for His purpose.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have been called by Him. He has called and chosen me by name. He has called and chosen you by name. That wasn’t an accident. We are called according to His purpose. Don’t let the gravity and wonder of that statement leave you. Romans 8 goes on to say “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.”

Be encouraged by these Scriptures about our purpose:

If I walk into the thick of danger,
You will preserve my life
from the anger of my enemies.
You will extend Your hand;
Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.
Lord, Your love is eternal;
do not abandon the work of Your hands.
– Psalm 138:7-8

“I, Yahweh, have called You
for a righteous purpose,
and I will hold You by Your hand.
I will keep You and appoint You
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the nations,
in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
– Isaiah 42:6-7

But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and of what I will reveal to you.
– Acts 26:16

In fact, read all of Romans 8.

God is at work in “all things”. He wants us to experience His love and live out His calling, especially in the meantime.