I think of George Mueller. Sitting at that table in the orphanage that had been on his heart to start. With hundreds of hungry children and no food to feed them. We hear the story as if he had complete and full confidence in God providing. If that is so, praise God and I hope to be there sooner rather than later. But in my imaginatin, I picture maybe a more typical person would have to work through a different inner dialogue.
I picture a more typical person looking at those hundreds of hungry children and the very real empty cupboards and thinking, “God, I thought You were in this. I thought I was participating in Your work. I know You’ve provided for us so many times before. I know those were not just random coincidences. What happened? Did we mess up? Is it time to shut all of this down?”
Our heart cry: “Where are you, God?!”
I think of Job. I am so similar. First with the easy-to-say things. But as time goes on, as the trial intensifies, I get stuck looking at the waves. Ruminating. I even get angry at Him. It seems He must be late.
No shortage of thoughts run through my mind wondering where I went wrong or what I should do to fix the situations. I think I know better. How silly! How quick I am to forget all He has done. For me, for others.
I always pray big prayers. And then freak out when the Egyptians are rushing up on me or I see the size of the giants in The Promised Land. How many times have I prayed for Him to bring me out of the boat onto the water and then completely panicked when I switched my focus to my own abilities and resources instead of how big and good He is.
These trials are a terrible blessing. At least that is the wording that comes to mind. While I hate every bit of the discomfort, I am so happy God is so persistently doing deeper and deeper healing in my soul.
I am repeatedly surprised to realize these strongholds in myself that are revealed to me. It’s easy to talk a good talk but whew does the refining expose the real foundation our trust is built on. I think surely I’ve overcome such and such and then am brought to face and admit parts of me still are relying on things and people other than God.
I love that He clears that junk out. That the Great Physician is so passionate about removing all of the dis-ease of my heart. On the other side I experience exponentially more joy and peace. Real security.
It’s only when we really, really know and experience how much God loves us that we can be ok with uncertainty. That we can be in this moment alone. That we can run to Him and bury ourselves in His embrace. Like the Father He has always been and still is. Love unlike most have ever experienced. Not dependent on our performance.
Will we look up? Will we surrender? Not only to things working out how we think they should, but also if they don’t? Will we truly surrender and truly let go? There are no guarantees as to how things will work out on this side in this world. Do we want a God who will be with us through all but may not work things out as we expect?
Our American Democratic Capitalist mentality can hardly entertain a God that is still only love in the face of what we experience as great loss. We take such pride in what we do and what we have.
Sometimes we are so ignorant to how we patronize those with minimal outward manifestations of our ideas of success. Explaining away their suffering in some frame that helps us avoid considering what it would take for us to be in their same position.
I have to always remember that I am so focused on this physical world when there is a whole other infinity out there after this. One quick glance at the real length and magnitude of the starry sky, one short dive into the intricasies of the intelligent design beneath the depth our human eyes can see without instruments. And yet He says He knows the hairs on my head. He formed me in my mother’s womb.
He humbled Himself because of His love. He came to serve because of how much He values us. Values me. Values you.
He let us take out all our anger on Him and He said, “Look at how much I love you. Don’t worry. You can’t destroy Me. And I’m not here to destroy you. My Father has Me and I have you. In Me you live and are alive. Now and after this time. Forever more.”
Will I trust Him? Will I stop insisting I need an explanation? Will I stop demanding answers. Will I stop fighting Him and invite Him to fully be the God in my life that I say He is? Not that He ever leaves me to myself. But will I rest? By and with His great grace.
“Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.'” (Isaiah 49)