A song, a blog, and a picture book.
That was the sound of God’s voice I heard today, reminding me where He is in the middle of my messy life.
I’ve written previously about the wild range of emotions I can experience through the course of the day. Up/down…at peace/full of anxiety…confident/doubtful. It’s remarkable I can remember who I am at any given moment.
The past week has found me feeling a lack of assurance that God is ever going to work my marriage out in a way that resembles a happy ending. I’m not sure if it stems from my poor frame of mind or from the relative absence of promising indications, but the resulting fear is the same either way. I know that God is omnipotent. Nothing is outside of the shadow of His awesomeness. But, lately, I haven’t felt that knowledge to be very present in my point of view.
Today, God reminded me of His love for me in three wonderful ways.
I started my day by reading a very honest and powerful post by Alece in her Grit and Glory blog. She wrote about the disappointment we can sometimes feel with God’s action (or lack of action) in our lives even if we’re not always transparent enough to call it that. Referencing John the Baptist’s question about whether Christ was “the One” or if he should look for another, Alece pointed out that Jesus asks if we will still trust in Him even when He doesn’t choose to show up as we’d like Him to. It’s a question I need to answer for myself.
If I had my way, God would have brought my wife home within a few days of when she moved out. If I really had my way, she wouldn’t have left in the first place! My way doesn’t often equal God’s way, though, and I have to decide how to respond. Do I know that God could restore my marriage? Absolutely! Do I hope that He will restore my marriage? Undoubtedly. Am I prepared for the possibility that He may not choose to bring us back together? Wow…I really dislike that question. It doesn’t fit with my expectations or my prayers in any way.
A crown of thorns, to mock Your name
Forgiveness fell upon Your face
A love like this, the world had never known
When I heard those words, my mind and my heart felt slammed with the reality of God’s merciful love in the middle of suffering. Jesus, the One who allowed Himself to be a replacement for sinful me on the cross that my foul choices earned, responded in the face of unfairness and pain with grace and compassion and forgiveness. It kicked me in the gut and showed me how immature I’ve been with these feelings of frustration. God doesn’t immediately meet my demands? WAAAAA! He doesn’t put the pieces back together in the manner that I see fit? TANTRUM!!!
Now, I’m not suggesting that it is completely unreasonable for me to feel devastated in the place I find myself. It truly does stink and it really is lousy. Most people could agree with that. The problem is in my forgetting that God’s power is not my power. His ways are not my ways. His timing is not my timing. I feel like He’s saying to me, as Alece suggested, “Will you still trust in Me even when you feel disappointed?”.
The final reminder leapt off the page of Kevin Henke’s delightful picture book Little White Rabbit where the title character wonders many things (what if he were green like grass or tall like trees, for instance) but knows one thing for sure.
…he didn’t wonder who loved him.
I know who loves me. I have no doubt that the love of God knows no limits and that His heart is for me. I have seen His provision and His compassion and mercy in the darkest moments of the past 8 months, and there is no reason to doubt that His nature will change. I honestly am disappointed in the reality that my wife isn’t back home and the big questions in our marriage are still unanswered. I am a little disappointed in what feels like a lack of action on God’s part. How can I possibly be disappointed in His love for me, though?
His love that goes beyond reason and merit and barriers and understanding. His love that never fails and never backs down and never lets go. His love that will sustain me in the face of broken promises and broken hearts.
I don’t wonder who loves me. I know it very well.