My life was changed a few weeks ago. Not anything drastic or really noticeable from the outside. I still throw my hair up in a ponytail far more than I'd like to (no glamour mommy, here), still haven't cleaned under my refrigerator since we installed it, can't bring myself to wear socks to bed even though my feet are always freezing , and only moved the Christmas garland from the porch railing to the porch floor 3 weeks AFTER Christmas. All of those things are the same as they've ever been for me.
My heart on the other hand, is different.
I met with a friend of mine at the beginning of December. 2009 was a difficult year for both of our families and I get a ton of comfort from sharing that with her. I am understood, no talking necessary. A few days before we met for coffee I had come to a startling realization while doing the dishes. Why that's thinking-time for me, I don't know, but monotony produces introspection. I was rinsing plates and loading them into the dishwasher when I stopped midstream, water dripping onto my toes when I thought: In all my beliefs of God's sovereignty and goodness, I realized that although I believed God COULD bless us with a healthy pregnancy I didn't believe that He WOULD.
For some reason I believed that it was my destiny to live in perpetual grief and unfulfilled desire just so God could show that He was in charge and I wasn't going to get my way.
When I told my friend this, it almost felt like a confession and saying it out loud was relieving. Doubt had been harbored in my mind and heart for the entire year and I finally leaked it out. I wasn't depressed by my admission, but it didn't feel like acceptance either- it was just out. Even though some relief came, it didn't feel like truth. Honesty perhaps, but not truth.
Not 3 days later our pastor preached about hope. I sighed and groaned internally throughout the message- not because I didn't like it, oh no, because it pierced me through and through.
A few days later I received a mailing from Chip Ingram's ministry, Living on the Edge. This is how it read:
NEED HOPE?---------------------> Romans 5:1-5
What do you do when you get discouraged? When everything in you just wants to give up, throw in the towel, or just flat out cry?
I have found that discouragement births in my thinking. Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks, so he is." The gate to your heart is your mind. What you allow yourself to believe about your circumstances may be the most important decision you make every day.
So what if you viewed your present circumstances- whether painful or pleasant- through the lens of God's wisdom? What would it do for your soul? Your emotions?
Get HOPE-------------------------> Romans 11:33-36
Hope comes when we choose to look at all of life through the lens of God's wisdom. The wisdom of God tells us that He will bring about the best possible results by the best possible means, for the most possible people, for the longest possible time.
Ever have those times where God communicates so clearly that you almost feel like an idiot because how obvious He makes it? I've known all along that the experience of this last year is full of meaning and purpose, that nothing goes to waste if I keep myself open to what God is doing. What I hadn't grasped was that the experience of this last year is God's PERFECT means to His PERFECT ends. If there was a calmer, gentler, more loving way of accomplishing whatever He's doing, THAT would have been my reality. I cannot tell you how many times I asked, "This way, God? Could there not have been a different way?"
But no, there could not, and I cannot be angry with him anymore. I cannot possibly understand how this all works together and therefore cannot tell him how to do it differently. I'm seeing knots and tangles, places where the yarn has been torn and retied, frayed a bit in some places, like-new in others. What I know is that God promises redemption-when I will see in full what He did with my life.
Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out.
Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.