Thursday, December 4, 2008

When Life Is Less Than Perfect

I’ve been putting off writing this for a while. Partly because I really didn’t want to dwell on it; partly because I needed to dwell on it, meditate. Plus my life continues to be less than perfect, less than what I expect when walking with the Lord. That’s not to say there aren’t wonderful blessings, even surprises, along the way. But somehow I think the health, wealth, and prosperity “gospel” that is preached by many today still is appealing to my flesh, even when I know it’s not biblical.

Nor am I blind to the fact that others feel the same way about their lives. In fact, no one lives a perfect life. Impossible in this imperfect, sin-controlled world. But that’s the point, I think.

While pondering on these thoughts over the last two or three weeks, I ran across this quote in one of my daily e-devotionals:

Facing an impossibility gives us the opportunity to trust God.

That’s the point. When life isn’t perfect, when my expectations aren’t met, when conditions in the work place aren’t what I was led to believe they might be, when people (especially those in customer service anywhere *smile*) don’t respond to me the way I think they should, when I wonder if I’ve missed hearing God’s will, or have misinterpreted it—in short, when life isn’t perfect, that’s my opportunity to trust God in every circumstance and detail of life.

But how do I do that, especially when I thought I was doing that already? Much as I hate to admit it, I find I still want my way over God’s way. If I don’t think things are working as they should be, I jump in to “fix” it, to “help” God out.

As if God needs my help! In fact, it’s just the opposite—I need God’s help.

I’ve been studying the book of James again, preparing to teach it to my Sunday school class, so I’ve been reading almost daily the verse in James 1 that says that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God for it, who gives it out liberally and without reserve to those who truly believe Him.

That goes with a verse I came across in my Daily Light (November 20).

When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8 ESV

Much of my life the last two plus years has been a walk in darkness. The Lord purposely has not revealed to me much beyond what I need to know for today. As I’ve said earlier, my word for this year is guidance, using the verse in Isaiah 58:11 where God promises to guide me continually. And He’s teaching me to take each step totally dependent on Him.

For one who loves to plan well in advance in detail, I struggle with this. Though it’s coming somewhat easier, I still have times when the initial struggle comes back. And I have it to do all over again. But . . . I do see progress.

November 20th’s reading goes on to these verses:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2–3 ESV

"I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 ESV

More assurances that God is leading me on the best pathway for my life (Psalm 32:8 NLT). I can trust Him. He cannot go against His nature and do other than the best for His children. It reminds me of Romans 8:28 where Paul says that God works all thing for good for those who love Him. What is good in God’s eyes doesn’t necessarily fit our definition of good, but if the end result leads to conformity to Christ in my life, then it is good.

Since we’ve come back from my dream vacation in England and Scotland, we’ve felt the pinch of finances, the pain of a body trying to crash from fibro and chronic fatigue, and we’ve experienced the time crunch of seemingly too many things to accomplish in too short a time. In my quiet time, I was reading through 1 Chronicles, and David’s charge to Solomon about building the Temple spoke to me.

Here’s David’s advice for those of us struggling to find God’s will in less than perfect circumstances:

“Get to know the God of your ancestors. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and with a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The LORD has chosen you. . . . Be strong, and do the work.” . . . Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work . . . is finished correctly.” 1 Chronicles 28:9–10, 20 NLT

God is faithful. And He is good. I’m claiming these promises for today.

1 comment:

Kathy (sister) said...

I still say you have a gift for devotionals. Loved the passage from 1 Chron. Now I'm ready to go out and conquer the world! Hope your day goes well.