How Come They’re Just Not Getting It, God?

God really got my attention the other day when He told me I had to stop abusing the wonderful works He has been doing in and through me by His Spirit. He showed me that I was looking every which way for affirmation and appreciation from others after God did something new with me. If I had a word of prophesy, I would pray that certain people would come up to me later and shared how they had been affected. If I spoke in a public setting I hoped they were listening and growing more impressed and interested in me.

I was running to and fro in my mind after others who might become fresh converts to the delight-of-Elaine’s-fellowship-and-gifting. I thought God could mend my broken or retarded relationships so easily if only He could stage it so that their hearts were softened towards me as God used me to bless them.

Well, God had other ideas. My expectations and motivations needed to be turned around. With all that He was doing to bless me, I was responding, this is wonderful, Lord, but I just don’t understand–why are those people (pointing my finger W…A…Y over there) not showing any signs that they are in awe of what You’re doing with me? I need that, Lord. There is either something wrong with them or something wrong with me–and I don’t think it’s me!

How wrong I was. How I needed to be humbled. I thought God’s main purpose was to give me spiritual and relational success. I thought, and continue to think (to my shame) that I’m really very important to what God is doing and that others should see that. I get angry and disappointed when people appear to miss or dismiss me.

Yet, what a gift all of this to me! I get to see my pride in bold strokes upon the canvas of my heart. I see a blackness that cannot be reconciled to the image of personal purity that I keep alive while I am busily finding all the faults in others. It is at times like this that I discover that I am the one who is marring God’s grand mural.

I am the one who doesn’t want to be a two-dimensional character who belongs in a community of other two-dimensional characters. I look at everyone else emerging from the paint splatters on the wall around me and I have no problem recognizing what they are supposed to be. Yet I am disoriented when the Artist takes some time to apply His paint brush directly and specifically to me.

I don’t know how to translate the glory of such attention: this must mean I am more important than all the others, right? I mean, why else would God neglect all those other characters to focus just on me.

A thought that never occurred to me until now is that maybe I need His focus. I need to see and feel Him so close or else I would tremble with doubts and fears that He has forgotten me. Perhaps I would fail to recognize how close He keeps me to His heart if He didn’t make sure I was so close to the beat of it. And if I couldn’t see His marvelous behaviors up close I would not realize He had any attraction at all.

I would forever see myself and myself alone. But when God and others prevent me from continuing in that line of death I should be grateful. How much I would miss if I should always see myself in the dim light I prefer!

“Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” — Galatians 10:10

Christ uses suffering to make us well

There is nothing like knowing that you will be okay when God gives you a glimpse of

how in control He is of your circumstances,

how capable He is of unveiling more of His glory to you in it, and

how adept He is in transforming your heart by its pressure.

Love Him even if He is all you have! If testing is what He has chosen for you, then appreciate the fact that there was likely no other way you could have become pliable enough for God’s love to freely mold you.

Consider the trial-testimonies of others, and ask your Savior for new insight in reflecting on yours. Our stories are not so different; they will always reflect the same truths that we need to see, if we are first conscious of the same God at work behind them.

Our Lord has enabled me to face and endure the testing of so many things that I never could have faced or come through alone. This is how the gospel of Jesus Christ continues to accomplish the revelation of grace in our lives: It corrals us into positions from which we might be most certainly impressed by our need for His sacrifice and by His willingness to offer it.

Just that I might see His glory

How much the Lord encouraged my heart last tonight! I went to a young adult meeting at my church for the first time in months, and I got to see how He has been working in ways that I have not been at liberty to be involved with or aware of until now. The group there is growing in number, variety and passion for the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God!

As we sang and listened to the message that followed, the Lord impressed upon my heart a few things that I needed to hear.

He showed me that He was fully aware of the thoughts and questions that I have had on my mind the past few difficult days. If I would listen to His voice, He would do for me what I asked earlier as I prayed:

Lord, please clear up some of my confusion and doubts about what You are doing with my life. I know that my heart has to be re-set on You and how my needs point me to because I will not be filled and made content any where else. Only You can bring my trials into proper perspective.

He began to show me how He saw things — with me and my position being represented so differently than I saw them with my own eyes.

“You have not been caged, Elaine,” He said, “Where you find yourself is not some kind of detention from the good things in life. You are not in a position so difficult that all you can do is sit around and feel sorry for yourself as you wait for someone to rescue you. I do not need to make your life absolutely carefree for you to recognize the presence of the freedom I have given you in your life. I have not left you with any remaining constraints that will mean your doom. I have given you life to know in the fullest through Me, and sometimes I choose to let you see how amazing this gift is by letting you see in temporary sufferings how great a wealth of suffering you have escaped because of My death that defeated hell’s right to torment your soul forever.

“Quit waiting for the bars to be removed from a prison that doesn’t exist for you anymore. I am not holding back any joy, peace, hope or purpose from you in allowing you to wade through the uneasy waters of this trial. Neither am I letting this hardship be in vain — I am developing from it invaluable fruits. The fruits of My Spirit can only be witnessed and exhibited by My people who know Me and abide in My love no matter what their present difficulties may say to the contrary. Your faith in Me and what I am doing even when you can’t see right now, is what will cause you to grow strong and confident and able to more fully understand the realities of My death and rising-again that are greater than you do now.

“The sorrows you know now are small compared to what you would know without Me. Since you have not realized this the freedom that I have awarded you is from sin and soul-slavery to Satan and a destiny spent in hell, you have trivialized what real freedom looks like.

You do not need to feel good all the time, or get out of the house on a consistent basis, or be oblivious to troubles in your life. You need life that includes Me and lacks nothing of spiritual abundance. When you appreciate that, when you hold Me as the awesome backdrop of your life, you have the strength to deal with whatever else lies in the foreground of it.”