Good Morning! Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Walden Shores, Lake Wales, FL
Watching the Today Show this morning, the news as usual, politics, terror attack in Pakistan, prisoner release from Iran, one prisoner notably missing from the release, Jamie Fox rescuing a man trapped in burning vehicle and impending snow and ice storms across the Midwest and East. In other words, business as usual in the World since we humans, the Crown Jewels of creation exercised free will.
If you are a little bit like me and mind you, I am not making any accusations here, but if you are then you have harbored at least a tiny doubt about just how trustworthy God is. I cringe when I hear unbelievers ask questions like, ‘If God is so good then why doesn’t he stop ______[fill in the blank, child killings, terrorism, destructive storms, etc.] or ‘If God is so powerful why does he allow ______[cancer, suffering, hunger, famine, racism, the mass murder of 6 million of the very people He chose to bear his name, etc.]. I cringe, because along with the seed of faith inside me there remains a tiny bit of root rot that I have been battling for years. I cringe because I don’t have answers that will satisfy their questions. I rage a little at God, having discovered some time ago that He can handle anything I sling at him. I become a bit presumptuous like Job and after my hissy fit, I feel the Holy Spirit wrap me in an embrace so powerful that it stops my trembling and comforts me, giving me hope and leading me to praise, scripture, the Body of Christ, and prayer.
One thing I know, when Eve entertained the silken words of the devil in the Garden as he whispered in her ear questioning the intentions and trustworthiness of God–God allowed it–He did not stop her. He did not stop Adam from following his wife into the same sin, which was essentially ‘wanting to be God’, the very sin that caused Lucifer’s fall. Free Will, a gift of God, comes with both blessings and curses. It is the very thing that rises up inside believer and nonbeliever alike when we think, ‘If I were God…’
For me there have been multiple moments when I would have liked to be all powerful and intervened, but one always stands out for me. I have written of this before.
Once I sat next to my daughter in a darkened ultrasound room as the technician gelled her pregnant belly and ran the magic wand over her womb, there clearly was Lydia, our first granddaughter, her form in fetal position and there was SILENCE. If I had been God in that moment, I would have reached in and restarted her heart.
But I was not, and God chose not to do that. That moment and the months afterward my relationship with God waxed and waned. I struggled, but ultimately came out stronger a woman with a mission, an advocate for all expectant mothers and fathers, for the unborn, for ordinary and high risk pregnancies.
The point here is not my ‘chosen prayer mission’, but my continuing quest to grow in faith and trust of God. It comes from acknowledging my own helplessness, to give up the idea that I just need to pull up my own bootstraps, and to let God be God. Easy??? Hardly. Natural??? Not if you are a stubborn control freak like me.
And yet, when I do, when I back off, when I pray and watch, amazing things happen in me. The pressure comes off my fragile shoulders and puts it squarely on God’s. Acceptance of whatever happens still does not come easy; however, I am able to glimpse God working in even the interruptions, the sickness, the tragedies as well as the joyful moments, in my own life, family, among my friends and in the world.
Well, God, You say You want to Comfort and Bless
That Your Nature is to Give
But sometimes in light of a world determined to stress
Not to mention my own struggles to live
Can I really trust You or the gifts in your hand?
Why, do I shrink or stiffen within
As You reach out to me, as You speak of your plan?
Your faithfulness daily always has been
So why do I find it so hard to be grateful?
Your overwhelming love, your direction, your gentle caress
When I open my self and my need, I come away full
Knowing in the moment your desire to bless.
Help me, Lord, to trust, to be less careful
To open my fists, to receive and to give you my stress
And please God, in whatever, Help me be more grateful. Amen
Not finished with me yet, because I still have a ways to go….Maybe you do, too. Just saying…