I heard a woman named Sarah Hagerty speak recently about a time in her life when she was fighting a losing battle with bitterness in her spirit. Like so many, she had embarked upon her married life with expectations that if she did right, life would be right.  She believed that the Father would bless her with the fulfillment of her deepest desires.  One of these was to have children.  Many children.  Time passed, and yet no children came.  She could not understand why.  The difficulty was increased by her observation of seemingly every other young couple in her church being blessed with children.  Many children.  She said she didn't begin to question the goodness of God, because she knew from His Word that He was good.  What she questioned was whether He was good to her.  How could He be, if her greatest desires were not being fulfilled?  His Word says He will give us the desires of our heart, yet her desire remained unmet.  I think more than a few of us have spent time in the same place as her.  The question is, are we still there?
    She said that things began to change in her heart when she read Proverbs 27:7, "A sated (full) man loathes honey, but to a famished (hungry) man, any bitter thing is sweet."  She sensed that He was speaking deeply into her life in the midst of her bitterness.  That the Father intended to use this unfulfilled desire, bitter on the surface, to reveal the sweetness of Himself in the midst of it.  That this place, a place she did not want to be, that frustrated the deep longing of her heart, could be, would be, a place of revelation of the wonder and beauty, and yes, faithfulness of who He was and is.  Just as the Lord had turned the bitter waters sweet for the Israelites in their wilderness journey, so He would turn the bitter experience of her journey sweet for her.  As He will for us if we will have it.
    She said that the Father began to take her ever more deeply into Himself.  She shared how one morning during worship, surrounded by all those young families with children, she saw a picture of the cross.  On that cross was nailed one word; "Family."  She knew what the Lord was calling her to.  She knew that He was asking her to surrender that deep, unmet desire for a family to Him, to nail it to His cross, to surrender that desire to Him.  And then trust Him that even if He did not bring about the family she longed for, He would reveal Himself to be sweeter to her even than that family.  That He would make her life sweet, despite the bitter circumstances she found herself in.  In obedience, she nailed her desire to His, and her, cross.
    What might you and I need to do the same with?  What do we need to nail to His cross?  Our deepest, yet unmet desire?  Our marriage, or desire for marriage?  Our mate?  Our children?  Our job, business.....ministry?  The past, future, or present?  What depth of bitterness is present in our lives because in some way, our desires for, or in these have gone unfulfilled?  He has not acted or answered.  Bitterness has taken root and grown.  Can we believe He will make the bitter, sweet?  Even if nothing outwardly changes?  Can we take whatever, or whoever causes us to doubt His goodness to us, and nail them to the cross, and leave it there?  Can we?
     For Sarah Hagerty, her journey took she and her husband to adopt 4 children from Uganda and Ethiopia.  Then, what she believed could never happen, did.  She gave birth to a child.  Out of bitterness, sweetness.  I cannot, and He will not promise that we will have all we want in our lives. There may be something we so deeply desire, something very good, that He doesn't give us.  Can we believe Him to make that bitter place sweet? Can we believe in His goodness to us even there?  At the cross, He will make the most bitter place or experience, sweet, if we will surrender it and trust it to Him.  He calls us to nail it to His cross there.  Have we nailed it?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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