If there is one thing on earth that makes my heart happy, it is a beautiful morning, with bright sunshine, and the smell of honeysuckles washing the morning air. This morning met all those criteria, so I was eager to get outside, even if it did mean exercise.
I have found that an early morning run is not only a great way to start a day, but a great opportunity to have some quiet time with God, so as I soaked in my surroundings and started my jog, I also started talking to God. The further I got down the road, and into our conversation, I began to feel the tears burning my eyes. I have had a lot on my heart lately, and this seemed the perfect time to pour it all out to God.
I needed His peace, and His comfort, which had seemed far beyond my grasp in the past few weeks. Circumstances of which I seem to have no power to change, were draining my strength, and crushing my spirit; distracting me from being the person God wants me to be, and keeping me from putting Him first in my life.
I found myself asking God that age-old question – WHY? Why this, why that, why, why, why.
I am sure God was not surprised by my question. From time to time, we all wonder why things happen the way they do, why people are the way they are, why we are the way we are, and why God is not intervening the way we want Him to. But this time, I almost had a hint of anger in my questioning. It caught me off guard actually.
As a result, I realized I needed to adjust my thinking. There are a lot of things that I dont have any control over, but I do have control over my own mind, and over the strength of my faith. Even though I may not like the things that God is allowing in my life, I should not be angry at Him. In fact, scripture tells us to rejoice during our trials, but sometimes it is hard to do that in the midst of them.
Thank goodness we serve a merciful and loving God, so I know He understands and forgives. I asked Him, once again, to help me “let go, and let God”.
The verse Psalm 51:12 suddenly popped into my mind, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”, so I recited it over and over for the next few minutes. I realized I had been missing good things, while focused on the bad things, and that is a recipe for disappointment.
I finally ran out of energy, then went home, and got ready for church. Todays sermon was focused on the return of Jesus, but the Sunday School lesson is what really hit home. It was focused on the basics of the Christian faith – that Jesus died for us, so that we could have an abundant life and hope for eternity.
As the lesson progressed, the teacher asked us if we had ever asked God “why?”. My ears perked up. Suddenly I was more interested……hadnt I just had that conversation with God a couple hours earlier? Was this Gods way of trying to tell me something? I believe it was.
We discussed how all things happen for a reason, and to remember that God uses our experiences, good and bad, to draw us closer to Him, to help us to learn to trust Him, and to help us remember to depend on Him.
This was not news to me. In fact, I “preach” this same stuff at all of my speaking engagements, despite the topic title. Those truths are the absolute core of everything that God is to us. But I apparently needed a reminder, and God reminded me ever so gently.
Our teacher ended the lesson with a visual… a little stick person drawn on the white board. He drew one person standing there, with several rocks being flung at him from the sky. The person was asking, “why God, why?”? Then he drew the other side of the picture, completing the visual, which showed Jesus holding back an avalanche with His mighty hands, shielding the person from the huge boulders that would otherwise be crashing down upon the little guy.
Just a little stick figure, with a huge message for us. At first we only see the problems, with no reason to thank God, but if we remember that He is working in the invisible areas that we cant see, all the while protecting us and preparing us in ways we cant even imagine, we can learn to seek Him during the trials, instead of blame Him.
We all have concerns, problems, heartbreak, and disappointment – they are just a part of life unfortunately. We all have circumstances that we wish were different, or people we wish we could change.
We also all have a choice – to worry about the “seen”, or trust in the “unseen”, believing that the unseen is where God is mightily at work.
My prayer this week is that I can keep my heart focused on the One who can mend it, the One who can change it, and the One who created it, for His purpose. This week, I think I just need to get back to the basics.