Friday, August 30, 2013

Selah

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in [a]any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are [b]ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

It has certainly been a while since I've written, but I can assure you it's not for any lack of excitement going on in my life. This is the second summer in a row that has been completely life changing. And while I wish I could say that with the same enthusiasm as I had last summer, I'm afraid this is a different sort of life changing and a more somber season I'm walking through. The Lord is showing me just how imperative it is to cling to Him every step of the way, knocking down so many of my walls and preconceived notions about what 'surrender' and 'faith' mean. To say that it has been challenging is probably the biggest understatement I've ever made in my life. To say that my only option is to trust in the Lord's perfect plan and timing just barely scratches the surface. Mainly because to not say so leads me down the darkest black hole I've ever glimpsed and I don't know how I'd ever recover if I allow myself to wallow in the uncertainty of it all.

He is good, despite my circumstances.

He is loving, despite my hardheartedness.

His timing is perfect, despite my anxiety.

I read a post yesterday about idolatry and how God has been in the idol crushing business for quite a long time. Really, since the beginning of time. It reminded me of a sermon I heard a while back about a little girl who excitedly exclaimed to her father, "Daddy come meet my new friend!" To the father's horror, his daughter's "new friend" was a tarantula. The father did what any father would do and quickly removed his daughter from the dangerous situation and let's just say he also removed the danger altogether to ensure no future play dates. The daughter threw a fit. A total temper tantrum, screaming and yelling that her daddy was mean and wondering why he wouldn't let her play with her friend.

This seems ridiculous to any adult, but to that child, this was the object of her heart's desire, even if only for a moment. Her father, however, knowing fully the danger produced by this situation, did what any loving and protective father would do, and extricated his daughter from harm, despite looking mean.

Hopefully, by now, the illustration is clear. In so many respects, I am that little girl. I am the daughter who doesn't always trust my Heavenly Father's motives when He decides it's necessary to remove something from my life. I may not kick and scream, but I certainly do a lot of crying and pleading, literally begging for the object of my affection to be mine again. The problem with this, though, is that any time we want something this badly, we risk idolizing it. We risk placing this object in a place in our hearts and lives where only God should be. God should be the ultimate object of our desire and affection and the scripture says He is a jealous God. God does not stand for being second in our lives. It's all or nothing with Him. And rightfully so. He paid the ultimate price for our transgressions to give us eternal life with Him, when we do not deserve it, and yet so many of us thank Him by accepting the gift, placing it in our back pocket, and saying, "Catch ya later, God!" The real problem with all of this is that if our own personal lives do not glorify God, what kind of testimony do we give to others? We say, "Jesus completely transformed my heart and life." The response is, "Oh really? Your life doesn't look that different." And if our lives don't look that different from their lives, then logic would dictate that it's probably not worth them pursuing this new life in Christ (which to most people on the outset looks like a life of rules) given that it doesn't look like much of a new life at all. Christ does transform our hearts, but the evidence of a transformed heart is in the lives that we live, or the fruit that we bear. Additionally, sometimes the change is painful at first. Sometimes, He removes things that we love, to make room for better things. To make more room for Himself. This is precisely what He is doing in my life.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say that I'm happy about it. Just like that little girl who had her friend taken away, it makes me a little sad, even if in the long run, this really is the best thing for me and for the other people involved. The thing about faith though, real faith, is that it requires you to believe in something that you have yet to see. God has always kept His promises, both in my life and for all preceding time. He works all things for good and I need to trust in His sovereignty in this situation, just as much as I trust in it when things are peachy. Probably even more so now.

I think I'll wrap up with this thought. I've been yearning for a big life change for a little while now. Something that would require me to lean on the Lord in a way I've never had to before. Well, I think it's safe to say, He's answering that prayer. In a really big way. A life changing way. As in all things, though, He will be glorified through this situation, whether I get on board or not. It would probably be easier and less harmful to myself and everyone else involved if I got on board, though. As for right now, I'm thankful for His constant presence and for the godly community of support and love that He has so purposefully placed in my life. For right now, the only real thing to do is Selah.

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