You know those moments when you know you made the right decision but still feel like an idiot? Well, I’m kind of having one of those moments. I’m so embarrassed and I feel so silly that I don’t even feel like I can talk to God…but I know He’s listening for me, and I know He hears my heart even when no words come from my mouth, and even when I feel so ashamed and embarrassed that I don’t feel I can talk to Him, don’t feel like I can run to His word or be comforted by His touch, I know He’s still there, shaking His head, saying “Don’t you understand? I’m not going anywhere.”
But I know in my heart I made the right decision in the area I had to make it in, I know I did the right thing, regardless of how nonsensical it appears and unfair it seems and painful it feels. I know I’ll feel idiotic for a couple of days, maybe even for the entire summer, but I know, despite how I may feel, I did the right thing, I did what was asked of me, I obeyed God’s leading even though it took me awhile to obey, and that’s enough for me. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense to other people. It doesn’t matter how long it took me to give into God and just do what He was asking. It doesn’t matter if the results and consequences of this decision change the course of my life to lead into something I didn’t desire. God asked it of me and gave (if “gave” is the right word) me this Holy Spirit to lead me in His way during times where His word wasn’t explicit for the specific situation, and that’s enough for me.
While I was reading Knowing God today, sitting in the living room bundled up in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, listening to the rain, I read this concerning Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
“Once they were convinced their stand was right, and that loyalty to their God required them to take it, then, in Oswald Chambers’s phrase, they ‘smilingly washed their hands of the consequences.'”
Granted, my situation is much less dramatic and intense and life-threatening than these great men of the Bible, but the point still stands. I don’t know how the results of this decision will play out, whether things will heal or whether they’ll remain wounded, but I know that regardless God is not surprised by any of this. He’s not pacing the floors of Heaven, saying “oh my goodness how did this happen?” And He’s got it under control. If the results are painful and remain wounded, He’ll use them to grow me and glorify Himself. If the results are beautiful and conclusive, then He’ll still use them to grow me and glorify Himself. It’s going to be okay.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all Grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV)
…it’s going to be okay.
This reflection is more or less how the day ended, not so much how it began. The day as a whole was rather wonderful, challenging, growing, important.
I spent most of the day reading and writing, talking to God and talking to people about everything from Calvinism to diamond cuts. It poured all day and when I went to go pick up the munchkins from school the roads were covered with rain, embroidered by deep puddles, and continuously pierced by cold rain drops.
When everybody was finally home, we all relaxed while getting ready to go over to my pastor’s home to have dinner with him and his family. I baked Nutella brownies and talked to Edward about Calvinism v. Reformed Theology and commented on the movie Gracie and Jimmy were watching (it was Camp Rock 2: Final Jam, oh yeah).
We all got changed and left for dinner, my father staying home. There was a moment while we were traveling and I was trying to encourage my mother, but she didn’t want to be encouraged. It was then that I realized I needed to step out of God’s way, to stop trying to come up with the perfect words and just let Him encourage her in the way she needed to be encouraged. It was really, really difficult to do.
Dinner with my pastor and his family was wonderful. We are Frankie’s pizza accompanied by my brownies and vanilla/chocolate ice-cream. We played The 5 Second Rule and Bible Outburst. We discussed theology and talked about how when we encounter other people who are saved, there’s a spiritual bond between us that exists only because of the Holy Spirit living within us, and it’s a bond greater than a familial bond.
The visit ended with my being invited to go to Syracuse with Pastor Dan and Julie on Monday while their kids are at school. So I’m excited to be able to spend that time with them 🙂
When we came home, Gracie and I entered the house rapping out the lyrics to Diverse City by TobyMac.
I spent the next hour or so with my mother, watching Pride and Prejudice for the second time this week, enjoying my time with her. It was a real blessing, just being able to hang with her. It was after that when I learned the following things:
1. I brush my teeth when I feel weird.
2. If you have something difficult to say to someone you care about, especially if they’re a guy, it’s better to just be straightforward and hurt their feelings and risk the friendship than pretend everything’s good.
3. I have SOOOOOOO much growing up to do.
So, as I sit here writing, I’ve been knocked down a few levels and still have many levels to go. But God is still good. He can still use me, even though I’m so not worthy of His attention. It’s weird: I can never become worthy by my own devices and for the longest time I never wanted to be worthy of Him, worthy of my title as a child of God, worthy of His love and adoration, but He took the initiative and MADE me worthy, without asking anything of me. I’m such an impossibly complicated and fickle human being who hurts people and runs around in circles like a half-blind horse who was given whiskey instead of water and despises all truth and prefers wicked darkness over purifying light, and God still loves me. He still loves me. Please tell me how that makes sense.
And now, as I sit and wonder how all of this is going to play out, I’m trusting that, no matter what happens, God still means what He says and says what He means. God still cares about His children and, while He accepts them as they are, He loves them way too much to let them stay there.
And I’m counting on that.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” —2 Corinthians 4:7-9, ESV