Sometimes God’s Love Has to Take You Apart

“Why won’t this stupid thing work???”

I had been so blessed when my friends gave me their old Playstation 3 video game console, even though the disc drive didn’t work.  I’d heard that replacement parts were available online for cheap, and I’ve been known to do a bit of fix-up work on electronics before.

Maybe this time I could actually make it work!

Sometimes God's Love Has to Take You Apart

I ordered the replacements.  A neighbor and I disassembled the machine and removed the old parts.  The new ones arrived a few days later and I installed them with great anticipation.

I re-fastened the dark translucent plastic cover and plugged in the thick black power cord.  One switch, then the press of a button and viola!  At least I hadn’t broken the whole thing.

Then I put the disc in the drive.

Gears and springs and servos whirred and clicked, stirring my hopes of success.  A small green activity light flashed on the device, the progress icon on the television spun…and then froze.  No DVD screen popped up.  No amount of button-pushing made any difference on the menus.

There I sat, cross legged and nearly cross-eyed with frustration on the light gray carpet of my living room floor, pushing the eject button again and again… to no avail.

There was no denying it.  The disc was stuck.


Have you ever felt your life was like that?

Maybe you saw areas that needed to be different and you made big changes, only to discover things were still broken after your attempted repairs.  Maybe you took things apart yourself, only to put them together again with no improvement.

Maybe you waited and waited, tried again and again but no matter how many times you pushed the buttons, you didn’t get the results you so desperately wanted.

There was no denying it.  You were stuck.


For my Playstation 3, I knew only one thing to do — take it apart again.  I pulled the plug, pulled the screws, and piece-by-piece removed the barriers to the goal until at last the disc was free.

I fiddled a bit, jiggled a few pieces, put it all back together and prayed as I tried one more time…

And it worked.

It’s easy to give up on hope when we’re hurting.  It’s easy to give up on God when it seems He’s allowing our life to fall to pieces again when we’ve tried so hard to put things back together.

Here’s the thing: only He knows how to fix the problem.

A good doctor knows that sometimes you have to re-break an improperly set bone so it can heal correctly.  A good mechanic knows that sometimes you have to strip an engine down to rebuild it well enough for another go.  And even a terrible electronics repairman like me knows that sometimes the best thing to do for a machine is just to take it apart and put it back together again.

So it is with us.

Sometimes we may feel like God is angry with us because He’s allowing circumstances into our lives that hurt more deeply than we think we can stand.  We may feel He is punishing us for some failure by breaking into pieces those things we tried to rebuild.

But maybe the breaking isn’t a sign of His anger, but of His love.

As you look at the broken places in your life, may you not despair and believe that hope is lost.  May you know instead that if you’re a follower of Jesus, every season of being taken apart is done with this goal in mind…

To put you back together again in Christ.

-Pastor Phillip

God Wants to Expand Your Boundaries

It’s hard for a two-year-old to stay in the boundaries.

“I will run in the way of your commandments, when you enlarge my heart!” -Psalm 119:32

There they were, my godson and his friend, two little boys running ’round in the fresh-cut grass with a solid blue sky overhead.  As the sun slowly set behind the house, the kids were laughing and playing, chasing and tackling one another… and getting steadily closer to the edge of the lake.

God Wants to Expand Your Boundaries

“Boys,” said daddy, “you can play in the yard but don’t go past the shadow.”

It was a good idea, one that would give them plenty of room to maneuver but keep them away from danger.  It wasn’t a small yard and the boundary gave them lots of space to play.

But they wanted to push it.

Closer and closer they got to the edge of the shadow, probably not with any wicked intent, they’re just little boys, after all.  Yet there they were, right on the dividing line between obedience and foolishness…and then they stepped over it.

“Boys!  What did I tell you?”

Needless to say, the boys got in trouble.  Not a bunch, but enough to put them in time-out for a bit because they knew full well what the line was, and they crossed it.

Here’s the thing that struck me, though… the boundaries were expanding!

Like all shadows, this one was moving.  The day was getting late and the sun was going down, so the shadow kept expanding.  It was going to give the boys more and more room to play, if they would just be patient enough to wait for it.

Do you know that’s how God deals with you?

Certainly, there are some hard-and-fast rules that never change.  “Thou shalt not commit adultery” doesn’t have an exception clause if you’re having a rough week.  Yet, so much of what God calls us to do has much less to do with limiting our actions, and more to do with enlarging our hearts.

You see, you are only as free as your heart lets you be. (That would be a great post on Facebook or Twitter.  Just sayin’…)

I have known people with barely any boundaries for how they live their lives, and they are some of the most enslaved I’ve ever met.  I’ve known others who have very regimented habits, and they have an inner freedom that most of us would be jealous of.

That’s what God wants for you.

When you look at God’s commands and how they relate to your life, remember this.  His goal isn’t to restrict the boundaries of your freedom, but to lead you in to true freedom in Christ by expanding the boundaries of your heart.

-Pastor Phillip

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