Everything is not okay…and even so, I think I’ll be okay

What do you do when everything is not okay? How do you live life when it is no longer possible to pretend that’s your life is all right, that you know how to deal with the horrors you’re going through?

This might surprise you, but I don’t think we do anything in the common understanding of the word. Instead, we sit and watch. We ask God for a greater vision of what He’s doing and we trust Him to bring to pass what He reveals to us.

We use the time in front of us in a way that says “I’m letting God do what He’s doing with me. I’m not going to get in His way–though I’m surely going to be running His way a lot!” We recognize that we’re not going to come through this without His comfort. We believe that because He will give us His comfort, our entire test will become a blessing.

We don’t do this because we want to impress God. Neither do we do this because we hope our sheer willpower can make us more righteousness while we fight. We do this for such a higher reason: We do it so that we may not forfeit an opportunity to treasure the presence of God in moments He wants to redeem. We treat days and years and seasons of pain and pressure like missives written in code. We consider ourselves loaded down with grace not because we see so much good but because we know God does.

He knows where we are, and He may not move us, but He won’t let us mistake that He is right in our midst. Trials teach us to welcome Him in with greater abandon. The teach us that He defines our hope and that no one or no thing can cripple Him though they try to cripple us. We are safe in His arms. What ever wants access to us, to destroy us, must go through Him first.

Trials also bring out the sin in us; they impress us with the magnitude of what Christ did for us at the cross. They remind us that our greatest enemy has been vanquished. They encourage us that we are not beholden to our former orientations–we have been raised to live for Christ.

There is nothing to obsess over. There is only to walk the path He made ready. There is really nothing for us to settle, nothing for us to make right. God has done all that. He simply invites us to enjoy it, to come into the kingdom He has set up. After all, God allows trials in our lives because He wants to get us acquainted with what He can do, what He has done; He knows how handicapped we are when all we know is what we can do.

 

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And God is important WHY?

If you’re wondering why God exists, or what is the point of all His works, you are in good company. The whole of His creation must ponder such questions when at their most honest and vulnerable.

What do we know of God, and what difference does it make? we ask. And how can we not ask it? Is this not the beginning of wisdom — to question what we know, and to seek to verify for ourselves what is true? To deny such questions and to forge ahead with such doubts so deeply ingrained in our consciousness would be quite an error on our part.

Oh, that we would have the courage to seek God’s truth! To desire that knowledge of Him — and not solely about Him — that will lead us to realities we’ve lived ignorant of our entire lives. Thought the end of this quest be a mystery, may our desire to test the reality of what we’ve heard and thought, be enough for us to move ahead.

The Work He Wants to Do

We cannot force God to do what we want Him to do in our lives, but we do have more power than we think. We can choose to receive from God whatever He wants to do for us in whatever form He chooses.

This is a gift that I think we too often over-look. We should be asking ourselves deeper questions: What could we be and do and have if we let God take first place in our lives? What could it be like to forfeit our earth-bound agendas in favor of abiding by His heaven-releasing promises?

I think it would mean that we were choosing to know God for the first time — not because we knew just how our faith was fully insured, but because we wanted to put no conditions on God so that we could experience for ourselves who He truly is.

What I’ve Finally Figured Out

Call me “the Quester.” I’ve been king over Israel in Jerusalem. I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth. And let me tell you, there’s not much to write home about. God hasn’t made it easy for us. I’ve seen it all and it’s nothing but smoke—smoke, and spitting into the wind.

Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened,
A minus that won’t add up.

I said to myself, “I know more and I’m wiser than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I’ve stockpiled wisdom and knowledge.” What I’ve finally concluded is that so-called wisdom and knowledge are mindless and witless—nothing but spitting into the wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-17

I’ve thought about it, if my life was so “good” that I could say that it was exactly what I wanted, would it truly be better than the life I have now? If the things God uses — which I often don’t appreciate in the moment — to humble me and correct what needs to be straightened in my character, were not apart of so much of my experience with Him, would I still love Him?

Sound like a silly question? Not if you consider something He has been showing me again and again and again and again — yes, I’ve needed to see it that much — in this season: If I did not know I needed God, and it was not a fact and an emotion and a definition of who I am that faces me every day, than I would not love God.

This idea takes me back to the verse in the Bible where it says:

This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

(1 John 4:9-10 The Message)

So, the very idea that I would believe that I could love God without Him acting in my life, to push me toward Him, is choosing to believe what is absolutely opposed to the gospel. And to find fault with the tools He uses to accomplish this is arrogant; I am questioning God’s knowledge of the nature of my sin and my primary opposition to Him — I am telling Him He doesn’t know what He is talking about, and I know myself better than He does.

Yet, who knows sin better than God? Who has seen its devastation more clearly, and knows from whence this destruction came? Whom can I trust with this grievous heart of mine more than One Whose holy heart can wrap mine up with mercy that can only belong to a God like this One?

Faith in Relationships

Faith in relationships…what does that look like? For me, it is being able to trust God that He is working out all the big and small details that I can’t handle on my own — details that concern more than me, and what’s going on in my heart, but someone I love who seems to see things so entirely different than myself.

That’s what it starts with at least, but from there God consistently leads me into the next stage, pointing out the lessons He has set up for me in this misunderstanding or apparent distance between me and another.

There is always so much to learn through the daily dynamics of our interactions with the people we share this life with. The experiences we have together are what pushes us to work on more than just what will improve ourselves, but will make us more focused on the interests of others.

It can be easy to pursue growth that makes us look good, serving as personal accessories, to trump up what already makes for a wonderful person. It is far harder to choose to see ourselves in the light that others see us, accepting their observations as being capable of being legitimate representations of us.

No, what others think of us will not ever tell the whole story, and their sentiments should not discourage us with the idea that we are not worth anything unless we live up to someone’s expectations of us, but we should not dismiss them either. We should take the  assessments we receive from others to our Father, who is faithful to present to us our true identity along with all the flaws that He is not lax to confront and correct.

Waiting Here

So many of the lifestyle skills I have become proficient in are proving to be a hindrance to truly living. I want everything that is good for me, but I don’t know how to get it. I can’t go by appearances, though they can often seem so reliable, so desirably representative of the outcome I’m looking for in everything I do.

Yet, instead of waiting to find out the end of these things, I live in the hope of even greater possibilities — possibilities too great for me to have the ability to dictate. I should not even be anticipating such broad planes of blessing, except that when I go with God, none of my limitations can limit what God has chosen to give me.

For truly, this is all about God. If I could totally control what I got from/with God, I would undoubtedly miss Him completely in my hustle to obtain endless rewards and resources. I would miss the fact that He is my one true reward and resource.