Rookie Counselor

by - June 02, 2011

There are two independent lines of thought I have been struggling with for a few weeks. The first prompted by counseling with individuals whose struggles are similar to my own. Some of them struggling for many more years than me, and still not seeing hope; not being at peace. These sessions have been difficult for me as they have surfaced fears and disappointments in my own life that I believed were secure because of the hope I have in Christ. And yet here they are describing the same struggles, claiming the same hope, but after 10 years, 20 years, still feeling the same disappointments. Why is God not working in their lives? And why do I believe He is at work in mine?

The second is the desire to have a deeper appreciation for God's grace. I hear of, and at times work with, individuals who have been saved out of abuse, sickness, pain, addictions. They at times weep over their salvation and their redemption. We may both know that through faith in Jesus Christ we have been saved from an eternity separated from God, but many of these people have seen Hell in this life. I have seen pain and hardships, but I have been protected from experiencing the true devastations of disaster and abuse. I do not long for Hell in order to better understand grace...I just long to know Him more, and want that depth of relationship with Him.

These two things have been stirring in me, separately with no connection until today. In quiet time this morning, I prayed for the struggles of my clients; I thanked God for the inheritance of blessing and faith in my life and family that has protected me from going through the pain they have experienced. I went on to pray that he would help me to have a deeper appreciation for my need for his grace, that I would know it is not cheap. That I would not miss knowing him more, because I miss knowing just how much I need Him.

Then, I opened "My Utmost for His Highest" as I have done nearly every day since a friend gave me this daily devotion book in 1994. Here is what I read:

"When God wants to show you what human nature is like apart from Himself, He has to show it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He only does it when His spirit is at work), you know there is no criminal who is half as bad in actuality as you know yourself to be in possibility. My 'grave' has been opened by God and 'I know that in me, (that is in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing.' God's Spirit continually reveals what human nature is like apart from His grace."

I didn't realize God was bringing these thoughts to a revelatory intersection. I am beginning to understand that through these hurting people, and the humbling opportunity to walk alongside them in their pain, God has already been answering my prayer of deepening my appreciation of his grace. He has allowed me to identify with them in order to comprehend who I am without His grace: I am them. I am afraid. I am hurt. I am angry. I am abusive. I am unfaithful. I am arrogant. I am hurtful. I am self-absorbed. I am devastated. I am blind. I am spiraling. I am lost. I am deceived. I am broken. I am hopeless. At any moment I could choose to take my eyes off of Him and give in to the despair I have seen in them, and considered myself. But, by His grace, my faith is anchored, and I can point the way. I am tempted, but His grace keeps me secure. By His amazing grace, not by coincidence, these people sit across from me sharing their pain. Their despair is pushing them back to their hope, the hope and comfort He has shown me. God does not hold a grudge that they have lost hope, have given in to temptation, or that I have moments of doubt. There is no sacrifice he will not endure to secure our hope in him and eternity with him. Not the sacrifice of our pain, or the sacrifice of His Son. Some lose hope. We all lose sight at times; but He is at work, and His grace is sufficient.

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  1. Haley, I love your posts -- both of them. But I REALLY love this post. I've been having the same thoughts, only not so organized like your words but more jumbled together in a chaotic swirl. I am very encouraged by the insights God has given you. Thank you. Are you open to having other people post your blog on their facebook walls? :)