How things have changed—and yet, they’ve stayed the same! Time never seems to act the way we want it to. I find it incomprehensible that I am in my 50s, that more than half of an average woman’s lifetime has elapsed—until I look in the mirror and see that my mind’s eye has tricked me and aging’s truth serum reveals the brutal reality that so many years have sped by.
But, on the other hand, I seem to spend so much energy marking time wherein there seems to be no evidence that my prayers are heard or regarded in the heavens.
What Jonah wanted was the world his way, and he was discontent and rebellious when it was denied him, even to the point of being willing to give up his soul.
If I’m not careful, that’s where I end up, too.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Instead of feeling like we need to protect ourselves from the world we feel has been so cruel and harsh to us, what if we used a different approach to the troubles of life? What if we begin at the end, with what the Lord is trying to accomplish in us—for us to become more like him, tenderhearted, humble, and patient ? And what if we consider what we are experiencing as a preparation for that? As a peeling of the skin, the tough, knobby layers dropping away, and the person underneath being just what He has intended for us to be all along.
Darkness is pushed back as a spotlight flashes on. It’s over my head and I am in the middle of its sharply defined circle of light. I look down at my trembling frame, encased in rags and smudged with ash and dirt from the fire. I am not prepared to meet Him who “has roused himself from His holy dwelling.”
Surely I am doomed.
In our flesh, in our insecurity, in our anxiety, we know very well what we should be doing. And we hate the fact that our will sides more often with our flesh than it does with our mind, where we have stored what we know is true.
But should is really where the beauty lies. We cannot escape the indicatives and the imperatives. The Scriptures are full of should statements, so to hate should is to hate what God has told us in this wonderful letter of love to his children.
Should is there because of could.
In accordance with his sovereign will, the circumstances of my life are set along a route with the goal of his glory in view. But they are mere wisps and shadows of this world. If I am claimed by Christ’s blood, they are not my life. Jesus in me is life, eternal life. The circumstances are really inconsequential.
And I, almost-58-year-old me with all my baggage and experiences and stumbles and failures and memories and gifts and skills and wisdom-gained-through-affliction-and-hurt and compassion-grown-through-seeing-others-through-my-own-mistakes and faith-growing-like-a-mustard-seed, am the one he has prepared for the journey, this particular journey, because this is the one that will reflect Jesus. None other is suited to me. No one else’s is matched to how he has tilled the soil of my heart or how he nurtures the seed of faith in my soul or how he plans to shine through in love and truth.
Although we reside in the Lord’s garden, the inclination of our still-fleshly lives is to choose our own path for growth. We strive for reproduction of ourselves—more of me! more of me! But God has a way to strengthen and beautify us, drawing forth applause and glory—more of Him! more of Him! And as happens in the cycle of growth, that often involves deadheading and affliction.
The world cannot dislodge our footing in Christ. He is steadfast and so are his promises, more than anything we could find from this present vapid and groundless age. He has said he will complete the work he has begun in us.
We do what we are now, as a new creation, able to do. The bear is made to hibernate in the winter. The sheepdog is made to herd sheep. The bird is made to fly and the fish is made to swim. We are made to glorify God. And his merciful conversion of our hearts away from sin and in love toward him makes it possible.
I woke up this morning and checked my investment portfolio. It’s something I do as often as I can to … More