I won't pretend to be experiencing a life-threatening trial--I'm thankful to say I'm not. But regardless of the degree of darkness, what I've learned is equally true.
This challenging season has exposed a lie that pervaded much of my faith in Christ: I can claim God's promises while dictating how those promises look in my life. And so it went--God is healer only when He heals me right now or how I want. God is present only when I feel spiritual. God loves me only when I feel holy. God is good only when everything is going well.
Faith premised on these lies is really no faith at all. Until I addressed these lies, Christ's peace in my life was superficial. Yet these lies were so pretty and clean. Surrendering these comforting lies--lies that God's faithfulness and goodness should always look like I want them to look--meant genuinely accepting that God is accomplishing His work in ways beyond my glib notions, ways that often appear ugly and unmanageable.
We can only claim and expect God's word in the present if we relinquish control of how God's word is effected. If God's word is only true when God manifests Himself or works in the way we expected, we have sold God's work in and through us remarkably short.
I refuse to miss God's work and goodness because circumstances fail to align with my ideas.
God is still healer when I'm not yet healed. God is still present when I feel empty or dark. God still loves me when I am dejected. God is still good when I am in anguish.
Right now, I'm taking God at his word--and it looks vastly different than I initially wanted. But I trust in and expect God's goodness because it is no longer bridled by my elementary ideas. Christ has supplanted my crippling expectations with hope in an ineffable God.
I pray this is true for you.
"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV).
This sweet little concoction is tried and true. And if you're feeling cocky, sprinkle some cinnamon on it. You can thank me later.
Much love to you,