Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)
Last March my husband and I rented a house in Florida. We were especially thrilled because we were allowed to bring our two dogs. Within the first few days Tom headed out on a business trip so I went exploring on my bike, glad to be warm and not in New England! I decided not to leave the dogs free to roam the house and instead locked them in the finished basement. But, upon my return I was horrified at what I found. One of the dogs had chewed a huge section of the door!
I was faced with an ethical dilemma. Do I confess this now and run the risk of eviction or do I wait until we leave and then confess it? I was prepared to pay for all the damages, I just didn’t want to be sent home at the beginning of this much awaited respite!
After wrestling with God for 24 long hours I finally couldn’t take it anymore and headed straight to the rental agency, putting my future in their hands.
Turns out they couldn’t have been nicer and they weren’t the least bit worried. “This happens all the time,” he said and right then and there called the repairman. I was so relieved I literally cried.
Peace and joy flooded my heart as I headed back to the house, happy I had done the right thing, but that innocent thought quickly turned to deeper thoughts of how good I was and therefore how God was certainly going to bless me for my honesty. And just like that, Pride reared her ugly head!
What I realized in that moment was how I have been living my life based on Old Testament theology instead of understanding my freedom in Christ. Not free to sin, but loved completely, not based on anything I do. I seem to feel that if I do good things then God will bless me. Like I can somehow bargain with God! So, when something bad happens I am confused and say, “God this isn’t fair! This isn’t how it is supposed to go!”
Looking at this deeper I see I have a control problem. Can I trust the author of my life WITH my life? Do I accept that God loves me even when He says, “No!”?
And then I remember the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus cried out “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” …And the Father said, “No.”
That “no” may have not been the choice response but that “no” made the way so we can live for all eternity in God’s holy presence! That “no” was the turning point of all history tearing the Old Covenant of works and replacing it with the New Covenant of grace.
Maybe God isn’t interested in blessing my life according to MY plan but instead, asking me to surrender my life and trust His plan.
And sometimes His plan takes us through a dark night before He turns it to glorious day!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
Do not fear ,for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)