Friday, July 30, 2010

Ever have one of these?

Most everyone from my generation would remember the book about a little boy named Alexander. He woke up, and from the get-go of his day it was a bad one. To more specific, it was a "terrible, horrible, no good, very, bad day".

And though my whole entire day yesterday wasn't "terrible, horrible, no good and very bad" there was a big chunk around dinner time that was. A time when I was driven to my knees in prayer and frantically digging through scripture for truth and encouragement. While I won't go into a lot of details I learned a few things...about life... and about myself... and about truth.
1) Ministry - it's hard and confusing and amazing and complex and wonderful all at once. You can allow God to mold and shape you through the hard times or you can wall up and let it destroy you. Working with imperfect people as an imperfect person is always a bad combination...without God at work. I am so thankful for the hard times {really} that push me to reach that much harder toward Christ. It's in the difficult hours that my need for Him seems so much clearer.
2) I've grown up! Err...I'm growing up! I'm finally learning and choosing that my first reaction to fear, panic or anger is to go to God's word...instead of... my mom {non-hypothetical}. Praise the Lord! And man does that make all the difference. Rather then forming opinions, harboring bitterness or stewing - I can see people and situation through HIS eyes and that truly changes EVERYTHING! Then, and only then, do I know how to pray and love. It is amazing... and its only taken two decades!
3) Truth is... God isn't done with us yet. That is... all of us, even those difficult people who seem to want nothing to do with God. Even those who claim to love Him. Even those who are lost. HE ALONE can change hearts and minds... He alone loves perfectly - and we need to trust in His timing and His "runnin' this place". Can I share a reminder with you? Something that literally smacked me around yesterday during my "hour of dismay" was in 2 Peter 3 vs. 9.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
All? This passage is specifically speaking of the scoffers who would say, "your God still hasn't come back..." or "Your God's promises are lies... see, He still isn't here!" (my translation). Truth is - God has a plan and while we know the end result we don't know the path it takes to get there. The ALL here in 2 peter is still the ALL today.
My heart is heavy for teenagers who claim the name of Christ but refuse to live it publicly. {can you be saved and do that?!} My eyes are weary from crying out to God on their behalf. And I can get a little emotional anyway...but, yesterday was just kind of the icing on the cake I guess. My heart breaks that Christ is PATIENT with us and wants ALL TO COME TO REPENTANCE (salvation) but people still push Him away. I pushed... for so long. I was angry to hear my husbands exasperation - a man who is very normally never easily brought down - and downcast spirit. I was angry with the swirling voices in my head wanting to defend or attack or do something rash "to show them". That was before I read 2 peter. God is so good to remind me in the midst of my personal drama that He has a plan and He desires us all for His sweet salvation. Punk teen boys, defiant girls, worthless on purpose men and women. ALL.
As I prayed last night with very sweet friends...with tears running down our cheeks.... I asked God to use these hard times to mold Brad and I. I asked him to give us a day 3 or 4 or 10 years down the road when we can look back on these times and say, "wow, that's why!"... and, He might. Just thinking about that has changed that "terrible, horrible, no good very bad" feeling into one of Hope. And, I think that's the point. We... have... hope.

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