Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Morning

You know those times when you sit there in a church service and hear the words and listen to the message, and it is applicable to your life and you walk away from that time convicted, challenged or encouraged to face the week ahead? Today's message at church was not like that.

Instead, it was as though the entire morning had been carefully orchestrated specifically for us. The second we sat down, we knew...this is what we need to hear. The lyrics during worship were exactly what was in my heart and what I needed to cry out to Him; that life may be challenging and disappointing and unfair - but He is good and holy and worthy. Our circumstances don't change who He is, instead, He changes our perspective in our circumstances.

I knew as we were getting ready this morning that discouragement and sorrow were beginning to well in my heart again. I also knew that I was determined to worship Him, even if I don't understand, even if I am brokenhearted, even if I feel doubt and confusion - I will still follow Him. I will continue to practice trusting Him. I will be thankful.

When the pastor spoke, it was as though a good friend, who understood all we were feeling and everything we were facing, sat down beside us and reminded us of the truth of His Word, walking us through each verse we needed to hear. Our confidence is in a God who loves us, who sees and understands what we cannot and who is more than able to meet all our needs according to His good purpose.

It is easy to say all that in one breath, and grieve our circumstances with the next. The real test is in walking through the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in from time to time [or, perhaps, painfully often] and choosing, each moment, to praise Him - to trust Him.

It is so helpful for me to look at our relationship to our children. We have one in particular who is irrationally dramatic sometimes and before this child even has an opportunity to process information or a situation, this child's reaction becomes instant fear, discouragement, hopelessness. Words like "never" and "always" erupt in bursts of un-checked dramatic exclamations. Often when we want to give this child something good, before we even have an opportunity to explain, this melodramatic display surfaces and the entire plan is dampened by the illogical behavior.

Maybe we react this way a little with God.

Instead of just waiting patiently for Him to explain the whole plan, we jump to conclusions, assuming that because things are not going the way we thought they would, everything is ruined. [Insert hand on forehead and fake swooning...] Or rather than trusting that even if there is no foreseeable plan or answer or conclusion in our favor, that He loves us, wants what is best for us and is not only willing, but able to protect us and help us. That doesn't mean nothing bad ever happens, it just means that He knows, cares about those hurts and has a purpose in allowing them in our lives - even if we never are able to fully understand the "whys".

We teach our children that they need to learn to trust us - even when they don't understand. I imagine our heavenly Father, the God who made the world and everything in it - who formed us with design and purpose and knows the intricacies of both our bodies and our spirits, expects that same respect from us.

That's kind of what it boils down to. Respect. If I believe that He is God and that His Word is true, why would I question or fear or become discouraged? We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. If God is for us, who can be against us?

This is a verse that was brought to mind this afternoon: So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I just need to love Him. That's it. If I love Him, I will listen to Him, I will walk in obedience and do what is right. If I know Him, I will know that He is to be trusted. He clothes flowers and feeds sparrows. He loves us. I won't waste time wondering and worrying and wishing. But instead, I will invest myself in worship. I will commit my heart to trusting His character and wisdom, rather than my own. I will find contentment in His company, rather than seek satisfaction in something innate or unattainable. My confidence cannot lie in what we see alone, because our eyes can trick us to believe we see something different from what really is. My perspective is so very narrow, there is a whole world of insight and understanding that I could not possibly gain in a lifetime. I am like my child in my understanding compared to the Lord, [if even that wise].  He knows better and if I am wise, I will continue to let my confidence rest in Him.

I'm so encouraged to know that He works things together for our good and for His purposes - even preparing today's message for us. He is kind.

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