God: The only roofer you should trust

Perceived control. What a comfort it is. We clutch it with both hands, afraid to let anything come between it and us. Indeed, what we believe we understand about our circumstances, our relatives/friends, and ourselves becomes our home; the place that protects us and that we, in turn, must protect.

The only problem is that God is not on the same page about protecting our sense of sovereignty. He knows that our “home” is a fabrication of self-protecting illusions and God-restricting doubts. To remain in this habitation is to eclipse the joys of being wholly kept for and by Him.

So what does He do? Bit by bit, He painstakingly sets us free. Yes, it is painful. Of course, we are often screaming, “No!” But, in those moments in between, may we let our hearts be held and possessed by the prevailing reality that God will not rest until His child is sheltered properly–in no place other than the shadow of His roof.

Wasn’t there a reason why things didn’t work out?

Trying to interpret God’s plan with limited evidences of what He’s actually doing. Not working so well.

Options:

Over-evaluate–put intense meaning into observed patters and “clues” that may not have been fully seen.

Vs.

Trust–buy into what He sees, believe what He says, boast in what He secures and…rest in who He is.

Yeah, I think I’ll put my heart into the second one!

“I do”, but not perfectly

Is “pristine” the only thing that glorifies God and benefits us? Can love have mistakes in it? Certainly God’s love has no mistakes in it, but what about mine? Can it still be called love if it’s blemished and misshapen? Is it good-enough to offer up?

I don’t think our love should be the focus of our gaze. I believe our love should be a response to His love. His love is perfect–that’s why we focus on it and that’s why it makes us righteous in His sight. His love is the One that went to the cross; ours is the one that exists because of the cross. Our love should not be our shame because it does not define us. His love does–if we’ll let it.

Therefore, we should no more desire only that the glory of God would shine forth from our lives; may we also plead that His glory would shine into our lives. In love is glory and in Him it rests. Let us rest there as well…

Rest is lost on the racetrack

If you are struggling because you seem to be missing God, do me a favor: Sit down, be quiet for a few minutes, and don’t move. Don’t be rigid, but rest.

God Himself has been watching your every move, ready to meet you, but unable to get your attention long enough for you to consciously slow down and move in to hear what He has to say to you.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes God can feel far away even when we have been peaceful in our anticipation of His revelation.¬† But, if that’s where you are, and you’re growing impatient, know that the story isn’t over. You can’t write up your disappointment report until God moves, speaks or reaches out to you.

The question is not, will God respond? but will I like how He responds? God never fails to return the attention we give Him, but we must learn how to interpret the aspects of that return.

If God takes longer than we think He should to answer us, is He wrong? If He says no, when every happiness in the world pointed to yes, has He deprived us unfairly? If He says yes when we were desperate for Him to relieve us with a calm no, has He lost His compassion; can we no longer trust Him to do good on our behalf?

Before you try to make those judgments, I wonder if you have realized that God never said that any of those things were not good. And if I may now go one step further, I am curious if you know that He is adamant that they are good so long as He has chosen to give you this response to prayer. This is true because everything that God does is good — absolutely every time.

Now consider that God grants half of your wish: you ask for peace and happiness and He gives you peace. Do you judge His response as soon as it comes, or do you turn to the Lord in a spirit of humble submission and offer the Lord your worship even in your momentary ignorance of the beauty in His plans?

Let me tell you that God wants the latter, but not just for His own sake. Take this into account:

More than anything else, our prayers teach us what we value and show us where we need to grow. He is working to make clear to us, in every instance that we seek Him, just how we are missing the heart of God. But He does this not for the purpose of finding fault with us. He does everything with the intent of bringing us closer to Him, and bringing our character into greater conformity with His.

This is not a punishment, but an opportunity in everything we do to be like God and full of God. There could be no greater gift: God, when He is known for who He truly is, proves in us, that He is nothing short of everything we live to know and experience.

Do we vaunt pride more than patience; do we value power over persistence; do we seek prestige to the neglect of persecution? Then we are missing the point of living, the object of seeking God.

No matter what He says, I want to be able to show off God’s answers to my prayer, especially the ones that show His glory in contrast to my sin. For, how can He appear more faithful, more purposeful, more compassionate and merciful if I deny that I need all these things? And if I do not realize and proclaim that I am in debt to Him in all these ways, I will absolutely revert to believing that I am deserving of everything that comes to me from Him — and then, even more than that.

So, the keys to hearing, and more importantly relating, to God are resting and waiting. And the way we rest and wait is summed up perfectly in James 1:4:

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Recognize that God’s ways are above your own. Rather than grumbling, use your responsive efforts to praise Him for that — knowing that the end will make clear His wisdom that is mysteriously in play now. Let us not meet that end and be grieved that God’s only offering from¬† us was anxiety and displeasure.

It is impossible to have regrets with God when we trust Him. When we rely on Him with our whole being, we will neither look back with disappointment at His behavior toward us, nor remorse for our behavior toward Him.

Is this fair enough for you?

I don’t know a lot about what makes life fair, but that subject has been on my mind a lot this past month. I have sat comparing the condition of one friend against another, one’s range of blessings versus others’ depth of pain. I ask indignantly, Why do some lives seem bombarded by suffering so intensely, while others appear to steadfastly experience abundance in ways that the other could never imagine?

These are questions I don’t have the answers to; this is the sum of a matter too deep for negligible experience to dispel. Yet, my discomfort with these mysteries is a chance to be humbled by a God that need not explain to me His every nuance.

Not that God is at fault for things like world hunger, and extreme personal suffering, but He does absolutely rule over these things, and often not in ways that I can understand.

I want simple responses to big questions. I come to God with the hope that He will make the problems that I see small enough for me to stand above, rather than stretching my faith to recognize that He is standing above everything that I do not.

I utter complaints about the world around me, believing He’ll get behind my judgments on the obvious disorder around me, and set the world straight. Yet, rather than blighting the fruits of error that I can’t stand, He points out the great, big root of it so mercilessly growing up and out of my own heart — so long it wraps around the vital organ, so strong it cripples a beat that I trust as the standard of every other rhythm.

Clearly I’m a wreck, and not as proficient at judging the world around me as I thought. Instead of sticking to what I think I know, I have to stand on faith — relying upon Him who sets me right, and not on me, who only gets in His way.

For, it is when I commit myself to trusting Him who makes both my faith and vision sure, I find that my heart is set to the beat of His own heart. And the tempo of Him I love more than life rising from the deepest places of my soul, I recognize that if He resolved this fairness issue according to my heart, I would face a more bitter reality: I would be completely deprived of knowing Him in this rare way because I am not perfect.

A Lanuage I Can’t Translate

Why do I feel like I always have to be running when I don’t really have anywhere to go? Why does being still and waiting feel so abnormal, when I need direction anyway? No matter how far I come in my relationship with God, His ways will still be foreign territory to me; a language I can’t translate without Him near to replace my insight with His.

There are so many things I want to have Him involved with in my life, yet my first reaction when I see Him in something is always, “Oh, God, You’re messing everything up!”

Why are my plans and ambitions so important to me; so much more important to me than what He has had planned for me since before time began? You would think with all that time and all that infinite wisdom, He would know a thing or two, and I would revere that, but is that like me? No.

I get excited at the good ideas I come up with for myself, and try to shelter them from damage. But is letting them be replaced really a bad thing? Especially when God sees down the road and knows where I would be going if I followed plans that offer me such a foggy hope.

Yes, God knows best…if only He would continue to make my heart know and live by that too!