God humbles us. Recovery revealed that I was not a humble person, that I was in fact, disgustingly proud. Yet I am so thankful that it revealed that to me, because God has used it to also reveal His redeeming, incredible tremendous abundant grace and mercy.
This verse from James 4:6 became astonishingly true, ‘But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”
God had to humble me. He revealed about me exactly what I needed to see, and I couldn’t see it without God opening my eyes. And He was SO gracious and kind to humble me, to show me my need of Him, before He could lift up my heart once again to see Him, to behold just how BIG and INCREDIBLE and FULL His grace and forgiveness and salvation is.
Recovery was really humbling for me, especially when we live in a culture that kind of um… prides themselves on their pride?
I thank God that He used the eating disorder and recovery and revealed just how much pride I had in myself. I wasn’t boasting in Jesus. I had pride in what I thought was healthy. I had pride in not wanting to tell other people that I struggled with the sin of idolizing my body and food. He knew that when He humbled me, that He would be exalted, and that I would see just how awesome and amazing and majestic and good He is.
Isaiah 2:11, ‘The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.’
Deuteronomy 8:3, ‘“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.’
Recovery was like looking across a vast ocean of so much of my sin and idolatry and wondering how I would ever get out, but that was ONLY the beginning of a journey of beginning to know who I was and MOST of all who God was, and why my SOUL needed His redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Recovery and struggling with my body image revealed a good chunk of my pride, that I really was a ‘good, moralistic’ Christian. I didn’t really fully comprehend the verse in Romans 3:10, ‘As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:’ Now, that’s an offensive verse to my nature, because I like to think of sins, by nature, in orders of magnitude. If I haven’t murdered someone, then I’m ok. Then John says in 1 John 3:15, ‘Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.’
That makes me guilty. I’m no longer the moral person that I thought I was. I hated people because they looked nicer than me. I hated people for not loving me how I thought they should.
That condemned me. That showed me the exceeding sinfulness of my sin as Paul said in Romans 7. Paul SAID that the purpose of the law was to show just how BAD sin was. And Paul was a pretty ‘good’ guy by society’s standards. He was a smart Jew. He was persecuting the Christians, because he thought that they were all wrong for following Jesus.
Then Paul met the Lord Jesus Christ Himself on the Damascus road. Acts 9:3-6, ‘And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.’
Paul met the living God, and he realized that all his righteousness, his personal righteousness was filthy rags. Isaiah says that in Isaiah 64:6, ‘But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.’
Recovery also taught me that God is so much more compassionate than I ever imagined. I am grateful that God is both angry with our sin, and tender and compassionate and merciful. He wouldn’t be holy if He were not angry with our sin. And it would make total sense that perfect, holy judge would have every right to put me in hell, put me in eternal punishment for all the sins I’ve committed.
Yet, the fact of salvation that I will never really grasp in full, and I’m not sure I even will when I get to heaven, is God’s mercy? Psalm 103:8-12, ‘The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.’
Paul meditates on God’s mercy and compassion in Romans 9:14-18, ‘For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.’
God’s mercy is inexplicable, but He shows it on whom He wills.
Some days after recovery, I really struggled to believe that God truly removes our sins as FAR as the EAST is from the WEST (Psalm 103), that He does not count our sins against us when we are covered with the righteousness of Christ, that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness as we confess our sins and return to Him time and time again in grief and repentance. (1 John 1:9, Matthew 5)
But He DOES. You can never doubt God. Sure, we can doubt ourselves, because we are so changeable, but don’t doubt God. God is God. He made us. His plans are perfect. With Him, a thousand years is like a day. He never changes. He is CONSTANT, in the midst of a restless world. Malachi 3:6, ‘For I am the Lord, I do not change; therfore you are not consumed O sons of Jacob.’
God reveals Himself so mightily in Scripture to us, and this is SOLID truth that you can cling to. 2 Samuel 22:31, ‘As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven. He is a shield to all who trust in Him.’
No matter how much my flesh wants to, I can’t ask God, ‘Why did you take me through that ED,’ because His ways are perfect. His Word didn’t promise that my life here would be perfect. He promised that even in the VALLEY of the shadow of death He would be with us. He promised that even through the waters, He would be with us. Isaiah 43:2, ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.’
Recovery revealed that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was, and in fact it’s still showing me everyday that I’m by nature, selfish, full of sin, and not naturally inclined to walking with God.
BUT God sent His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to be the PERFECT and last sacrifice. 1 Corinthians 15 is an absolutely INCREDIBLE chapter reminding us of WHAT Jesus Christ did. He not only DIED, taking on the full burden of the reign, guilt, and power of sin, but He rose AGAIN, giving us the hope of rising again with Him. No, it’s not turning into a jellyfish or just going to no place after death. Death is only a door. Death is only a door to glory with God. And if you aren’t right with God, that is WHY JESUS came. You can’t save yourself, but Jesus Christ can and does save the lost.
Remember. Recovery is a journey. It will show you who you really are. It will show you a need for Christ Jesus, I pray, a need of LIVING water, of eternal life, of a right standing with God to wipe away all your guilt. It will show you a need for repentance, and it will show you that God’s mercy truly is EVERLASTING!
Psalm 103:17, ‘But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;’
(Linking up with Amanda to Think out Loud this week!)
What has recovery revealed about you?
Has recovery brought things to the surface that you needed to see?