Thursday, September 4, 2008

My absence part 2

My beautiful sisters....

I wanted to continue my previous post, as there was just so much to say! How can one put the Lord's glory and provision in times of sorrow in ONE blog post? (smile)

So where was I? The Lord is breaking me down, day by day, but in the kindest of ways. I know that I get afraid of what the Lord would ask of me...and frankly I think it is best that I not know what He has in store for me in the future, because He will need to build my faith to accomplish whatever He wants me to accomplish.

If someone had said "Your grandmother is going to die and you will be almost entirely by yourself through it" two weeks ago, I would not have been able to handle it, or not understood the grace that He would provide. He had to walk me through, minute by minute. NOW I understand.

And do not think that I think that the Lord is only planning scary things for our lives! NO! I have found that even glorious, wonderful things are things that I am not ready for! In those times as well, He has to slowly lead me to the maturity and wisdom that I need to handle them! Right now I am like a toddler who keeps running off at the mall--as soon as I get some freedom or some praise, I run away from my Father's side and start exploring. He has to bring me back to His side (usually with a rebuke and chastisement) because it is not safe for me to wander. So even in good things, even in blessings, He has to walk me through step by step because I cannot handle the headiness of blessings any more than I can handle the sorrow of loss or have the courage required in times where I need to stand my ground.

So if you wonder why you are not being blessed with what you desire, there is a reason. He has His plans and they are NOT to make you miserable but to teach you and to guide you! Now, sometimes we do not get what we want. But even those should be times of praise because we THINK our lives would have been better if we did get what we want, but they would not have.

Here is an example or two. One day I could not find my keys. I looked and looked and they were no where! If I had had the choice, I would have found them. However, because I could not find them, I was home to take the phone call of a friend who needed me. The Lord orchestrated that situation to bring glory to His name, not mine.

Also, I was born with a birth defect and was teased quite mercilessly at times in my life. I was in agony and sorrow. BUT the Lord always provided me with one true friend, I mean a TRUE friend--one you could trust. I always wanted to be popular (don't most girls?), but I never was. Instead of many shallow relationships, I had very few, but they were deep and lasting and bonding.

Also, because I was teased, that "thorn in my flesh" changed my entire personality. I shudder to think of what I would have become without it. I would be even more vain, even more shallow, even more proud and haughty. My defect gave me humility, which is of great worth in God's sight. Now, understand that I am not THAT humble! I needed a very obvious defect to even bring me to what I am now! (imagine how intolerable I would be! lolol). Likewise He brought me to the ends of the earth, almost literally, in order to isolate me so that I would learn to lean on Him. He is always faithful, even during our most painful times, and uses those for our good.

BUT AGAIN, that does not mean that our lives will be nothing but painful! No! With the grace and the patience of the Lord, I am starting to understand what the Lord meant with Jesus and Paul and the thorn. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.". Then Paul said that he delights in difficulties, for when he is weak, then he is strong.

It is scary, but again, the Lord is not going to put us in things we cannot handle. It is kinda like this: when we are young, we dog paddle in the kiddie pool and ride a tricycle and trip over sticks. NO ONE would think of taking that young child and putting them in an Iron Man triathalon. That would be cruel.

BUT the Lord continues to grow us, to groom us, so that we can handle the ocean swim, the miles long bike ride in the hot sun, the run up and down hills. The triathlete does not have the mind of a child thinking "I am just in a kiddie pool! I cannot swim in the ocean!". No, the triathlete has been trained, slowly, over their lives, so that they can achieve greater glory safely.

Likewise the Lord trains us, slowly, so that we can achieve more for Him in spiritual and emotional safety. So do not be afraid of what He might have you do....He is not throwing you into the deep end of the ocean. He will train you, guide you, save you so that you are ready for whatever task or situation you will face. He might need to train you for something happy, like children or an inheritance or being a famous author. OR He might need to train you for something difficult like being a missionary, comforting the dying, or a weather tragedy. In any case, He will not give you more than you can bear, either good or bad. But you have to listen to Him. Someone cannot say "Well, I outgrew the kiddie pool, so i am definitely ready for a triathalon. They have to devote themselves to their Coach and be trained.

So do not worry about tomorrow, either good or bad. It wastes time to stress about what pain or stress you might face, and it wastes time to fret about what you really want that you do not have. He will show you what you need to know, and will give you what you can handle. What you need right now is what you have right now. His goal is to bring us to holiness and to bring others to Him so they may be saved, and our job is to glorify Him. We can do that in pleasure and in sorrow, but our witness is much more obvious in sorrow. It is easy to praise God to others when we just won the lottery....but people PAY ATTENTION more when we praise God when a loved one is sick or when we are standing in line for an hour.

I hope this is making sense. I am praying that it does and that it is neither too much nor too little. If anything I have said is stressful for you, do not let your heart be troubled. Remember, the point is that the LORD is in control, and He is not wanton or unkind. He is merciful and wonderful. He is patient and loving. He provides in all ways at all times. The point is to rest in Him and be at peace because He is guiding you. Soak every bit of wisdom from this moment, without fretting about what you want or what you fear in the future. Don't try to race ahead, and do not dwell in the sorrows, guilt, pain, or resentments of the past. Just rest at His feet and let Him lead you. He is faithful, He will do it.

Glory be to God in the Highest, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, our Counselor who right now dwells in the hearts of those who are called by Him, saved by His name.

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