The roads we travel are most often winding and unknown. We have a plan, but God directs our steps. He gives us the opportunity to make a plan, but if it isn’t in our best interest, He may not let us keep it. He really does have a plan for us. He really does know what is best. Sometimes what He views as best just doesn’t make sense to me. Of course it doesn’t. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I wish I understood better. Oh dear..I wish I did. However, knowing the end from the beginning, the twists and turns that I would take, the flat tires, the rainy days…that would most likely be more than my senses could handle. Jesus knew that. When Peter asked Him about such matters He carefully said only enough to give a picture, yet not the full view. Peter wasn’t ready to handle the full view and most of the time I’m not either. It’s a dance. A day to day dance between where I’ve been and what I’m facing and somewhere in the middle is the now.
I took my oldest son to work this morning for the last time. We’ve been doing alot of lasts. The last guy night before he leaves. The last Sunday before he leaves. The last breakfast before work. The last search for a work shirt. The last early morning shared with him over coffee and hot tea. The last quiet moment when I can share something deep and spiritual. The last. And then he will go off where he will create his own. He will choose. He will see flat tires and rainy days of his own. He will also see sunshine. I will remember that God has carried us each and every day and nothing is beyond His watchful eye. I will remember that He calls me to His supper table each day…and some days I make it. I will remember that He walks us to that place of conversion. I will remember that He understands our frailty. He understands our journey. He understands our pain. He understands. When one seeks His face He does not turn away. He hears and He draws that one even closer. I will remember. His grace is so much bigger than anything I can comprehend. His love is so much bigger. Why do I feel the pain and not consider that He feels it with me?
This is the journey of life we all take. It is the path that is least understood and most often traveled. It is the reality of moments of bliss and equal moments of desperation. The mantra comes from a song I listen to when my son takes on a new season. “I trust You, I trust You, I trust You Lord I do” … over and over and over this comes to my mind as a concrete reminder that I do trust Him and He knows that. He will not fail me. Will everything go as I plan? I hope. But even if it doesn’t…I can trust Him to see me through that. I trust Him.
Twists, turns, hills, valleys…flat tires and rainy days. We see them all. We also see rest stops, sunshine, the perfect waterfall and the best place ever to fly our new kite. We see those things too. Our God is good. He lets it rain on the just and the unjust. Rain is a blessing. When we think of it we don’t often consider that part. In earlier seasons the people did think of it that way. They knew they didn’t have what it took to water crops without that rain falling. They counted on it. When they heard the rain falling they saw the blessing. They knew it was good. God gives the good to me. He also gives the good to a Hitler or a Bundy. He gives the good as long as He can…wooing and drawing and sharing the message of grace and love and purpose. He will do that till the very end. He seeks to heal us. He blesses us with showers to feed our crops and thus, to care for our families. He shows us His sunset and sunrise. He gives us the gentle kiss of His breezes. He offers hope to a mom and a dad who have taken broken roads and the consequence has been painful. He loves them. He knows their pain and He feels it as His own. He calls us to feel the pain with them.
In a perfect world no one would ever feel pain. No mom would feel the awful ache of having her child taken from her arms because her brokenness is just greater than her child can handle right now. No one would stand by the grave of their loved one. No marriage would fall apart. No one would ever use the word cancer. No son would ever go so far away that important moments shared with them would be lost to an unknown future. In a perfect world. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a broken world. We live in a world that God dearly loves, but it’s broken. It is torn all apart. It is not something safe. It is something scary. We have to rely on our Father or be broken further and further until we are past feeling.
Sometimes the broken places leave us with choices to make that are not very good. No…always broken places leave us with tough choices. If we act out of our brokenness we must eventually see the outcome and choose what to do from there. We must choose to be healthy. We must choose. We are blessed with a God who does not see it as we do. A God who is not the same as the local condemning congregation and BY CHOICE His memory is very short. He loves us. Truly. Honestly. Even to the point of causing pain to Himself. That is the God I trust.
“I trust You, I trust You, I trust You Lord, I do”
Sometimes trust is difficult. If you have ever been hurt you understand. Trust takes all you have. That is why it means so much to God when we trust Him. He has already written our story. He knows the end from the beginning. He only asks that we trust Him with it. Only. To us it is like a lifeline while we hang over the edge of a cliff. Trusting. Is He big enough? Can He be trusted with even this…this thing which means so very much to me? Yes, He can. It may not come out the way I hope. The way you hope. But He can be trusted to have done what was the very best in that situation. He can see what we cannot.
Trust Him. Believe the truth about yourself from His perspective…no matter how beautiful it is. Recently I attended a day of reflection. During that event the speaker used a mantra with those words in it. I found myself questioning. All the years of religious training opposed that statement vehemently… until I considered it. What is the truth about me? About you? Not what we see in our broken lives. Not what the papers would write. Not what our “friends” would say. Not what the priest or the bishop hears in confession or your pillow knows about you as you whisper those prayers deep into it. No. I mean what is the TRUTH?
The truth…it is that Jesus…who is God Himself come down from Heaven…loves you. He knows you. Before you were formed in the womb of your mother He loved you. He knew you. I mean it in the most intimate way. He knows every inch of your body and your soul. He knows your thoughts. He knows your sins. He knows your weaknesses. He knows your pain. He knows your shame. And yet…He loves you. He is not ashamed to be known as your God. You do not shame Him. You are not so bad that He believes His image would be too tarnished if He claimed you. He loves you. He is God. Who would there be to look over His shoulder and make fun of Him for loving you? Who would there be to shame Him for calling you His own? And yet…every time we reject one of His sinning children that is what we do. Every single time. We deify our opinion. Oh Father, forgive us.
The truth….Jesus died to wash away the sins you carry deep in your heart. He died to remove your shame and replace it with dignity. The truth….people don’t like that. They like to hold on to your shame and to deprive you of dignity. Truth…that is wrong. Truth…you are loved by the Creator of the Universe. Truth…He wants you to stand tall and share that same message with the rest of His dearly loved children…because they don’t all know that. Many don’t care…their brokenness is deep…but some will listen. Truth…He doesn’t want you to hate the ones who don’t listen. He wants you to love them. To grieve for them. To NEVER see yourself as better than them. And if you feel like you are way below the rest…He wants you to know…you are good enough…just the way you are. You are ok. There may be areas the two of you will work on….but when He looks at you…the love is deep and real. The love is something only your Creator can share with you. It is real. You can trust it. Hold on to that.
” I trust You, I trust You, I trust You Lord I do” …. will you?
Good News Translation (GNT)
God’s Complete Knowledge and Care
139 Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
2 You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
3 You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.
4 Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
5 You are all around me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
6 Your knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.
7 Where could I go to escape from you?
Where could I get away from your presence?
8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there;
if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
9 If I flew away beyond the east
or lived in the farthest place in the west,
10 you would be there to lead me,
you would be there to help me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
or the light around me to turn into night,
12 but even darkness is not dark for you,
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
15 When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that I was there—
16 you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
had all been recorded in your book,
before any of them ever began.
17 O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;
how many of them there are!
18 If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
19 O God, how I wish you would kill the wicked!
How I wish violent people would leave me alone!
20 They say wicked things about you;
they speak evil things against your name.
21 O Lord, how I hate those who hate you!
How I despise those who rebel against you!
22 I hate them with a total hatred;
I regard them as my enemies.
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
test me, and discover my thoughts.
24 Find out if there is any evil in me
and guide me in the everlasting way.