Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On happiness, holiness, and dreams that don't come true.

One friend said, “I don’t think I could take it if I lost my son.” Another, “I haven’t talked to God about my wedding because I’m so afraid He’ll jerk it away from me.”

Could I? It’s a question I ask myself. Would I be willing to trust God if He granted me a dream, then took it? Or can I trust God now? I’ve thought about it. What if He took my parents, that piece of solid rock that never changes for this girl who hates change? Or what if my dearest of dear friends turned on me? What if? 

Or what of now? I found a root of bitterness in my heart when I commented, “Well, no one wants to hear my testimony about trusting God with your love life ‘cause no one wants to wind up like me!” and that made me think...

Do we still love God when our dreams don’t come true?

His goal is not our happiness, it’s our holiness.

I heard the phrase somewhere and wondered if it held true to the Scriptures. Alert as I read, I realized...

He works all thing together for the good of those CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. Did you get that? According to His purpose. Not our pleasure. And He grants the desires of our heart when... when our delight is in HIM. His Person. His Presence.  And He is holy.

And then I read Ezekiel. Chapter 24, verses 16-18. God told Ezekiel he would take “desire of his eyes.” His wife was not a burden, nor a negotiable. She was his dream. He was not to mourn but rather - to go forward.

What? How? We are not told, only that
[he] did in the morning as [he] was commanded.

Ezekiel trusted God when his dreams didn’t come true.

Scripture doesn’t say God explained to Ezekiel all of His plan before implementing it. It’s pretty clear that Ezekiel walked by faith, not by sight. He loved God not for his own happiness but for God’s HOLINESS. Holy. Set apart. Different. Outside humanness.
God did reveal His purpose. He was teaching the people not to mourn for their possessions or their families, “earthly treasure” if you will, but to
“pine away for your iniquities and mourn toward another..."  In that day Ezekiel would be a sign to them and they would know that He was the Lord. (v. 23, 27).

Ezekiel was laying up treasure in heaven. He delighted in the Lord, not in the desires held or granted. And God worked - all things together for good according to HIS purpose. 

We don’t know what Ezekiel got out of it, but we know the rebellious received the kingdom benefit. And we know that God does not forget a labor of love.

All things for good, for those who are called according to His purpose... to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29), to fill up the afflictions of Christ (Col. 1:24). To be like Jesus. And in Jesus is joy. Joy bigger, joy deeper, joy greater than happiness - in Jesus. And Jesus is - holy.

Do I trust God when my dreams don’t come true?

He is making me. Not happy. Holy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

He came to set the captives free

She came to me in January, quietly, slipping in unannounced except for a word from the secretary. She reacted to the kids, the kids to her, as if she'd always been with us. She turned in her work without asking for help and when I asked her questions she gave me a nod and a little half smile.

And looked at me with those haunted eyes.

I soon realized that the work was done without help because this was her way. It was not that she knew, or that it was easy. It was that she could not get hung up, she would not stop her life over something she did not understand. She was not careless, nor lazy. But she moved on. I think it was the way of her life to move on.

It showed in those haunted eyes.

She seemed to be happy. The girls played with her. No one complained about her. Who could? She was so quiet and never fussed, nor fell behind. A mom of her friend told me, though. Told me that some girls wanted to leave her out. Why hadn't I heard? It wasn't her way to complain. She just buried it all and faced the world.

Faced the world with those haunted eyes.

And sometimes she told me about home. -- Did you have a good weekend? No. --- Why's that? My mom is in the hospital again. She had seizures. ---Did you get your agenda signed? No. My auntie wouldn't sign it and my mom can't come home. She won't eat if she leaves the hospital and she will die. ---Oh, who's picking you up? My stepdad's mom. She will take us today and I'll go somewhere else tomorrow. But she never cried. She never even allowed a sad expression to cross.

Oh, what haunts those eyes!

There came the day I cried, I called out to the Lord in repentance for missing my opportunity to show compassion. I'd been lamenting class percentages and performance and perhaps begrudging that there was no way this little one would meet the standard within the time I had her. I ran the classroom as an assembly line that day, everyone in his place, every task done on time. They came over the intercom to tell her to ride the bus home. She turned to me, out of order, off her task, out of turn, and said, "Does that mean I have no tutoring?" Slightly irritated, I responded, "I guess not, since they called you." She turned back quietly and one of the boys asked, "What's wrong with her?"

I called her name. She turned again.

There were tears. Tears in those never-complaining, never-flinching, emotionless eyes. 
And the haunts overwhelmed.

I let her call that day, they rearranged, she stayed. The eyes dried, the half-smile and quiet manner returned. And so easy it was to lose her again in the hustle and bustle of each day.

Today she was gone. They called. She'd changed schools again.

She's gone. I've lost her, lost my chance to love her, to find her, to look behind the eyes.

Oh, Jesus, I pray for this child. This child that only You can save. This child that only You can fill. Break her free from the haunts in her soul.

Oh Jesus, clear those haunted eyes.

Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land....