Thursday, August 31, 2006

All is as it should be.

Over the past couple of days one point has been driven home to me and it is this: the ONLY problem I have is the problem of self. Me. I am my biggest problem.

No matter the situation or circumstance, if I am struggling, I am the cause. Am I anxious because my niece is sick? Am I frustrated at work? Are my emotions overwhelming and a bit oppressive? Do I want to comfort myself with food? Am I irritated with my mother? (Insert your things here) The specifics and whys and wherefores and logical explanations do not matter...the real problem is not life and all the things it brings my way, the problem is me and my response to them. In each instance, no matter what it is, my degree of struggle is directly related to how far the circumstances are from what I'd like them to be.

The truth is, if God is sovereign (and I truly believe He is) then whatever place I'm in or set of circumstances or denials I face...all is as it should be. He has ordered and ordained everything that touches my life. All is well...all is as it should be...all will turn out for the good. That is the promise. And He is not slack in fulfilling His promises, indeed, none of His promises have failed, ever. So, truly, my only problem is that things don't look or feel the way *I* think they should in that moment, and I have chosen to respond to THAT as opposed to the truth, which is: God is good and does good always. All is as it should be. The Lord has it all well in hand. I can trust Him. I can trust that He is moving, even (and perhaps, especially) when it looks like He isn't. I can trust that there is a "Yes and Amen" on the otherside of denials, because He is only saying "No" to one thing to say "Yes" to another, better thing.

In her devotion this morning, my friend Elisabeth Elliot said:
Sometimes our prayers are for deliverance from conditions which are morally indispensable--that is, conditions which are absolutely necessary to our redemption. God does not grant us those requests. He will not because He loves us with a pure and implacable purpose: that Christ be formed in us. If Christ is to live in my heart, if his life is to be lived in me, I will not be able to contain Him. The self, small and hard and resisting as a nut, will have to be ruptured. My own purposes and desires and hopes will have to at times be exploded. The rupture of the self is death, but out of death comes life. The acorn must rupture if an oak tree is to grow. It will help us to remember, when we do not receive the answer we hoped for, that it is morally necessary, morally indispensable, that some of our prayers be denied, "that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in these bodies of ours" (2 Cor 4:11 JBP). Then think of this: the agonized prayer of Jesus in the garden went unanswered, too. Why? In order that life--our life--might spring forth from death--his death.

So again, I say my biggest problem (and may I say, YOURS, too) is the problem of self. In almost every instance, our "negative" response to any circumstance is simply our self resisting the reality that things are not as we think they should be. But the Lord would say, "Come to me. Trust me. All is as it should be. When all is revealed, you will have no questions. Come to me and I will give you rest and peace and joy."

This is truth: God's sovereignty and goodness is equally displayed in denials, deliverance, struggle, and the impossible being made possible. He is the same God, and equally good when He says "No" and when He says "Amen". The promise of His faithfulness and kindness and active presence in our lives is equally certain both when we see it and when we don't. In fact, when it appears God isn't moving, He always is.

Father, help us to remember, to see you rightly in every circumstance, and to glorify you today and every day.

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