Better Not to Know…

I am writing this on Thanksgiving Night.  I am perfectly lonely (as John Mayer sang).  My sons got a holiday gig and my ‘biologicals’ are at odds with me right now, over an exorbitant amount of money, so I don’t exactly crave their association.  My ex-husband stopped by before the boys headed out and wished us all a happy holiday.  And I have been at joyful rest ALL DAY.  It has been a wonderfully quiet holiday.

I have not taken much thought to what I need to be thankful for.  I am a notorious celebrator of Thanksgiving whenever the mood strikes me.  It just so happens that today, I am thankful for all the things I do not know, that God is already working out for my good.  Things I have already had a hand in without knowing the details.  How, you ask?  In ways that every child of God can play a part, with, “plausible deniability.”

I am grateful for a God who knows me well enough to involve me in my own deliverance and provision without actually involving me…too much.

We are all given a couple of magnificent gifts when we accept Jesus as Lord of our lives.  These are gifts many of us take advantage of, without realizing scope of their benefits.

There is a passage in Romans 8 that talks about how the things we suffer here on earth are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. It says that we, much like all of creation, yearn and groan for these things in ways that we cannot even utter. You’ve made those groanings…I’ve made them, too…in situations and circumstances too overwhelming for words.  Sometimes, it seemed that everything was going great, but somewhere on the inside of you, you just felt this yearning…this aching that you could not explain.  Like a belly ache that hurt all the way down to your soul.  Did it ever occur to you that in that instance, you were praying on behalf of things you could not understand?

Let’s take it one step further.  It has been said that praying in an unknown language is like talking in code to God.  Praying in tongues, as the Spirit of God gives utterance, is like praying in a language that neither you, nor the enemy of our souls can understand.  And yet, there are times when there is a sense of urgency attached to those prayers that can make one feel like this is something that I must do RIGHT NOW.

It’s actually a good thing that we don’t know what it is that we are praying for sometimes.  It’s also good to experience that ‘groaning’ without understanding exactly what it is we are groaning about.  This is one of those instances where God, being all knowing, and us NOT knowing is the best thing in the world that can happen.

Often, God wants us to pray a specific prayer, knowing what we need and He knows that the need must come expressly from us; otherwise it would be in violation of His own divine order.  This is exactly why He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, not just as a comforter but an intercessor.  When we pray in an unknown language, it enables us to pray the specific will of God without being party to what that might be.

Why?  Because, what God has for us is sometimes so much bigger than we can comprehend. If we saw what He wants to do in us and through us from our limited perspective, we would be the first ones to opt out.  “His thoughts are higher than ours.”  We know that what God wants for us is best, but sometimes what we need to get through the day will deter us from going for His best and just settle for what would comfort us right now.

I have had to deal with that…especially right now in my current state of affairs.  I am in a really good place. But this is NOT the place I would have chosen for myself.  While I can clearly see where God is taking me, I would have picked a completely different path to get from Point A to Point B, if given the choice.  God, knowing that about me has enabled me to pray for His perfect will in ways that I could not understand, with joy and fervency, just to keep myself from monkeying up the program.

And so, I will pray in the spirit. I will also pray with understanding (1 Corinthians 14).  I will cry out with groaning that cannot be uttered.  I will also cry out to God in my pain and despair for answers that I may not get in this life.  I have learned to accept that this is just the way it is.

God knows our whole hearts, and He has given us a part to play in the construction of our future. As far as it goes with the details…sometimes it’s just better not to know


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Avoid the Breakdown (REPOST)

I have not been able to write for myself for the last 3 weeks.  This transition is really trying my patience!  I have been mulling over some of my archived work and it is blessing me tremendously.  Sometimes you have to encourage yourself.  I am so grateful that God blesses me to bless others.  And, I am so very grateful that sometimes, the word I have for another person applies to me and I can hear God from my own mouth.

With everything that I have experienced this year, this article was one of those times. Enjoy.

I am so glad to be alive!  I am truly grateful for every breath.  I love it when my head is clear and I can see what’s going on and I am aware of the distractions that need to be avoided.  It’s real easy to take these moments for granted and even believe that I’ve got it all under control.   It’s in these times of clarity and peace that one scripture always comes to mind.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1Corinthians 10:12)

This does not come as a harbinger of bad tidings. It comes to me as a reminder that it is just as important to cling to the cross of Christ in the best of times as in the worst of times.  Pain and pleasure both invite the same temptation to be distracted by the emotion and lose sight of the source of our joy and our deliverance.

It’s a question of humility, really.

The root of the definition for both humility (humble) and humiliation are the same: To be brought low; to be in a state of submission and deference.  My personal observation: it’s the difference between bowing down or breaking down.  I have seen people full of pride and arrogance do and say things asserting their “authority,” only to have life come back around on them and break them into teeny tiny pieces.  To suffer that humiliation is a fate I would not wish on (almost) anyone.  By the same token I have seen others in a position of humility that others have tried to humiliate and was pleasantly surprised to discover that if you are already bowed down in a state of submission and deference, you can emerge intact and none the worse for wear.  When you seek to define yourself by accomplishments or accessories, you will always need more.  But when you seek your worth from the One who made you, you will always BE more. Just think of what He made you FROM.

What an interesting thing to acknowledge our origin as being dust.  Did you ever think about that?    “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19) Exactly how much do you think dust is capable of accomplishing in and of itself?

I am a strange bird in that regard.  I actually had a bottle of lavender water that I used to spray around the office.  And anytime I felt particularly pleased (or disappointed) with myself, I would go and spritz the air really quickly and just remember James 4:14, “…For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

There is nothing so powerful in a wisp of vapor and a sprinkling of dust.  Even if you put them together all you’ll make is mud.  BUT in the hands of an Almighty God…what mighty things can we accomplish!

We go through so much in this life.  So many things that we honestly believe are within the scope of our power and control! And off we go, trying to “make it happen.”  How often do we stop to defer to the Creator of the Universe and submit to his instruction?

I went from Kindergarten to 8th grade with basically the same group of kids.  It was at Lincoln Elementary School in East Hazel Crest, Illinois.  We had one hallway and a little bitty gym/lunchroom and it was only one classroom per grade.  We were actually a pretty close knit group and I loved them all very much.  They impacted my life forever and you will hear about many of them in due course.  There was a girl named Stacy Bray.  I remember she had brown hair and freckles and I always thought she would have made a cool character to hang out with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang.  But I digress.

Anyway, Stacy had this one t-shirt that said, “When all else fails, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.” That doesn’t seem like a deep theological statement.  But, when I was faltering in my faith and could not pull myself up, it was that t-shirt that God brought to mind that sent me back to my Bible and put me back on course.

And so, I would like to use that statement to encourage you today. Check the Instruction Manual and re-evaluate life.  Are you acquiring more or becoming more?  Are you making a difference or making mud?  Isn’t it better to bow than to be broken? Defer to God’s word and submit to the Scriptures. We can’t make the most of life without the God who made us.

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