Thursday, October 3, 2013

...And God said... 3:

The set up: this afternoon my daughter and I were driving home from school when we had to pass through downtown. She asked, "Why are we going through town?"
I answered her, "Because sometimes you have to go through it to get out of it."

And God said: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me." Ps 23:4

"When you pass throught the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; and when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." Is 43:2

There are destinations. And then there are journeys. Since we haven't worked out teleporting yet, we are bound to take a more scenic route when traveling. And while this is true in the physical sense, we seem to think spiritual circumstances should be more quickly resolved.  After all, don't we have the Holy Spirit? And isn't Christ seated at the right hand of the Father as our intercessor? 

You heard about the young pastor who preached his first sermon at a new church? The congregation loved it. The next Sunday he preached the same sermon. They didn't fuss about it too much. After all he was young and probably didn't have that many written. After the third Sunday of the same sermon, some concerned deacons came to his office and said, "Pastor, you need some new material. You've preached the same sermon three Sundays in a row." To which the young pastor replied, "Well, when you start obeying the first sermon, I'll move on to something new."  
Sometimes the only way out of that sermon is to just obey it. Go through it. 

Things I've had to go through that I would have preferred to avoid, but am thankful for in retrospect:
-infertility, because it brought me to MY children. 
-financial strain, because it is teaching me to reprioritize and to also have more compassion for the needy, particularly the hungry. 
-my current job. I've done it faithfully, to the best if my abilities for seven years, even though it is not my "calling", thereby teaching me sacrifice. It also is perfect for this season of life with small children. 

Then there are wildernesses that I never want to see again. I didn't like them, struggled to see how the promises of God were being fulfilled in the midst of them, and just barely got out of them unscathed. But...we came through them. 

I'm gonna brag. I have a rock-solid marriage. I am so head over heels in love with my husband. He is the best father, partner, friend, love I could have ever asked for. And I am sure our roots are as deep as they are because of all the hurt we've experienced in ministry. It is difficult. But it is not the destination.  There is a reason the spiritual life is called a race, why we refer to it as "walking with God". We don't classify ourselves as "being there". We more likely say we're "getting there". 

And sometimes, you just have to go through it to get out of it. I don't know what your circumstances are. But a wise friend just recently said to me, "Sometimes, how you handle a situation is more important than the issue itself." 
Keep walking. This isn't your destination.  

It is only the journey. 

1 comment:

Mabe Stern said...

Great words...your roots are growing deeper. Pain and joy and grief and hope have a way of doing that as they are woven into the tapestry of the life we are called to. Are you familiar with Amy Carmichael's poem "No Scar?" It goes like this:

No Scar?

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot,
or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty
in the land;
I hear them hail thy
bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded
by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree
to die; and rent
By ravening beasts
that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master
shall the servant be,
And pierc├Ęd are the feet
that follow Me.
But thine are whole;
can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?