Somehow even though those memories were left far behind, and even though I became something of a cynic, and much of a rebel, once I could grasp what Jesus meant for me,
Not a bad thing at all. The Happy Hollisters aren't bad either. But what IS dangerous is when somehow we unconciously fill in the future we are working towards and dreaming of with sanitary, picture book, happy endings.
A very wise woman (my mother) once told me that pretty was a face that had perfect porportions, pleasing to the eye. But, that true beauty, was a face that was striking, and would have to have some sort of imperfection that made the face even more satisfying to the eye.
He is not surprised by the u-turns we make. He's not overwhelmed by our rebelliousness.
Think Abraham + Sarah + a perceived delay = + Hagar = Ishmael
"And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. and Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. (no kidding!) ...And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes."
Then there's how He makes good come out of our perceived foibles...like so:
How about Paul and Barnabas disagreeing about the departure of John Mark? Their polite agreement to disagree resulted in them splitting, to go in different areas for mission work.
Saul thought he was serving God, as he zealously persecuted Christians. He was practically a fire-breathing monster on the trail to hunt them down. He was hot on the path when Jesus stopped him in his tracks. When Jesus temporarily closed his natural eyes, his spiritual eyes were forever opened. He was transformed by that encounter with Jesus, to a church planting, disciple making man of God. God was able to meet him in his misconceptions and sin.
Seeming Tragedy Turned to Heroine at Work!
When little Hadassah, raised as a Hebrew, was called to the King's Palace, to participate in a year long regime of beauty treatments and whatever else was required in the pagan environment, it was not looking like this could ever be something the would be pleasing to God.
To put her environment in perspective, it would be something like a young Amish girl being sent, in answer to a call by the President, for all young, single, beautiful women to be sent to the Harem Headquarters for an Extreme Makeover, while filmed on the reality show Real World, and then at the end of the season participating in The Bacherlorette and then Bridezilla.
Well, you get the idea. This was an extreme culture shock, and wouldn't have looked or felt anything like the hand of God at work in her life.Yet, Hadassah became Esther, and she saved her whole people through her humility, purity, wisdom and bravery!
God is sovereign. He has taken into account our carnal nature, even while making provision for us to live according to our regenerated spiritual nature.
What does this mean to me? To you?
It means we as parents, often try too hard (many times thinking we aren't) to follow a Christian Recipe to get an expected "product". When the dish (our children) we worked so hard on, thinking it would be a chocolate souffle', turns out to be scrambled eggs with bell peppers and sausage, we are so shocked and panic stricken.
We think, "But that is not what I prepared! How could this be? What have I done?"
But, as much as scrambled eggs with sausage and bell-peppers look, smell and taste very different from a chocolate souffle' - there is just as much pleasure for some, in eating one as the other.
This post comes from many thoughts this week, as I have considered how two children, who are great young men, that both love the Lord, have charted VERY different courses for their lives than I pictured in the rosy gardens of my mind.
Each of them as they became young men, transformed into people we no longer recognized, from the squeaky-clean, little, bright-eyed boys we raised.
They are still very young, their futures stretch out in front of them. It's a little misty on the path, and none of us can see the horizon.
But, I am encouraged that God has gone before them. He has charted a path for them, that will incorporate all their quirks, strengths, desires, weaknesses to create a Masterpiece for each of them. Because, Master that He is, He will be glorified in their lives.
It's been hard not to listen to the sly voice that wants to say - "I can't think of any other family that has put the effort into raising their children that you have - that got results that looked like this or sounded like this...what have you done wrong?"
We love our sons AND we are humbled to be their parents, to be enstrusted with that privlege. God uses them each in unique ways. They reach people I am ill equipped to converse with, much less inspire, or lead to Christ. Where I have been unsuccessful at evangelizing, my sons seem to do it seemingly by accident, (it's not really, but it sorta seems that way).
Earlier in the week, I shared a portion of scripture that was my devotional reading Monday morning. Hebrews 3:7-8. It led me to read all of Chapter 3 & 4. I am very familiar with these chapters, and have studied them often. I knew what I was being impressed at that moment. Those verse are about BELIEVING God for His promise to us, entering into His rest, against all odds, no matter what current circumstances look like. He was reminding me that in my prayer the night before, I had decided to hold fast to my belief in Him on a very unlikely issue.
Later in the week, I was given the opportunity, many, many times to come back to those scriptures and just believe Him. It is my hope that struggles you may be having, that look messy, and that are faith challenging, can be looked at in light of the ability and propensity of God to do the unexpected, the grand, the sublime, the beautiful instead of the pretty!
I really like the idea of a chocolate souffle', but I've never had one. I think scrambled eggs and sausage might be better for me.
"But Christ the Messiah was faithful over His own Father's house as a Son and Master of it. And it is we who are now members of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope in Christ."