Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Have You Ever?

Have you ever been in a situation that you just KNOW that God Himself orchestrated? Heck, it might even be a place you prayed for, longed for, dreamed of. Have you ever arrived in that situation or received that answer to prayer and felt all those wonderful feelings you knew you would? The joy, the peace, the contentment, the lightness of spirit?

Have you ever watched in sadness, shock, confusion and dismay as those feelings waned? Have you ever experienced the cold reality that sometimes your initial happiness does not last but gives way to darker, more disturbing feelings? Have you ever been disgusted with yourself for being given a blessing and wishing you had never received it? Have you ever pondered how your rejection of God's gift makes Him feel?

I have. And it is not a pretty place to be. I have even questioned whether the situation I longed for and carefully waited to hear from God about was really from Him. I have gone so far as to even doubt the times I KNOW I heard His voice, the times I KNOW he orchestrated the events to try to make sense of my negative feelings. Just to be clear, that is not a very pretty place to be either. Just in case you've never been there.

But as I mentioned before, I've been there and I am sorry to say that I have made that ugly place my home at times. Struggling with my flesh, wrestling with God, self-condemnation, shame, denial, anger, disgust, loneliness- these are but a few of the decorations that adorn this home. Actually a more fitting description for this "home" would be war zone. A war zone in which the Enemy has been allowed to be victorious and I have been resigned to defeat.

After struggling internally and wrestling with God, though, I have come to realize some things over the past year that have begun set me free from this cycle of defeat. I am still learning and it has been a process of moving forward in victory and sliding back into defeat. But as I look at the big picture, I can see that I have moved forward in victory more than my Enemy has reigned over me in defeat this year. I have learned many things but one of the most life changing for me has been that just because my feelings don't match the expectations I had about a situation or if they have waned or changed, the fact that GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL of it remains. Simply because I am not experiencing the feelings and reactions I wanted does not change the truth that GOD ORCHESTRATED even this. And that He is allowing me to experience this disappointment, this confusion, even this despair, FOR A REASON. His plans for me are to prosper me and to give me a hope and a future. He who started a good work in me STILL INTENDS to bring it to completion.

Why has He allowed this season of defeat? Why didn't He just rescue me right away? Why am I still struggling at times, still learning? To produce in me those character traits that are lacking, of course! Why is it so easy for me to see that this is what God is doing when he allows trials in the lives of my husband, my children, my friends and to be so blind to this truth when it is at work in my own life? I was blind but now I see! Now I remembering more often and more quickly the exhortation of James, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

I have not yet won this battle. I am still struggling in the fight. However, I see that I am more and more frequently able to push aside the negative feelings and believe that God has orchestrated the situation. I am more equipped to operate in spite of the feelings, believing that if I keep myself from sin and change my mind about the situation, He will change my heart. I look forward to the day when my feelings match my actions in every situation. I put my hope in a future in which I can enjoy the blessings of God in my life in every circumstance. Thus far the lord has helped me! I'm sticking with Him.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

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