Certainties and Doubts

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“There is no security in what God is doing. There is only security in who God is.”

– Graham Cooke

I dreamed I was getting a tattoo (not going to happen). However, once in the parlor I was struck by how permanent the decision was. There were two ladies present to help (my husband was getting one too- I believe he wanted a ridiculously huge tiger to go down his arm) but despite their suggestions I just couldn’t decide what to get, where to get it or how big. I ended up paying them for their time and coming back the next day. Upon my return the words from Psalm 18 came to me.

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress,

and my savior;

my God is my rock,

in whom I find protection.”

 I decided the have the ladies tattoo this in script on my right thigh. When I woke the words were still revolving through my mind. The Lord is my rock, my fortress. 

________________________

The last two weeks have been really hard. I knew when God called us to Haiti there would be cost. I knew that we would have to deal with fear, push-back, and grief. I also knew that there would be much unfamiliarity once we were there. It’s not like we have an extended history with this country or long-term relationships that we’re working with. But I wasn’t prepared for him to start the trial of trust on this side of the plane ride.

When my husband dreamed twice that he was going to be offered a severance package and then it happened, I felt like the way to Haiti was paved. It was, to us, a sign from the LORD that He was going to make this happen. He was setting this in motion. I didn’t anticipate Him to follow that with silence. And it has been silent. No call backs from the NGO’s. No job offers. No reasonable plan for when and how to pick up a family of seven and move them from a well-established community to a country that has just been ravished by a hurricane.

For now those seven people are spending every day under the same roof. The needs haven’t changed. There’s still dishes and laundry and homeschooling, but there’s also more. There’s packing, sorting, planning and talking… a lot of talking… emotional talking. Even I have hit a word quota but there’s so much communicating that has to happen to stay in sync while this transition takes hold. The stakes feel higher. On the outside we’re trying to stick to the normal routine, but on the inside it’s anything but normal. Each moment is in slow motion and yet the weeks tear by like their on steroids.

We’re a little fried and the promise suddenly seems very far off.

I never, ever thought the story of Peter on the water would be so tangible in my life. Jesus calls. Peter hears. He climbs out of the boat and starts walking… but then He considered the waves. I remember when my dad asked me how big a stop sign was and I thought it was about five feet. He got out and stood under it and I realized it was closer to eight. I wonder if that happened to Peter. Walking on water looked pretty incredible, but once he was out there those waves were a little bigger than he thought.

The uncertainty comes in waves now; and they are a little bigger than I thought. Where will we live? What will we do? How do we get there? Will we have a community? How will I wash the diapers? And the void of information sets the stage for a more sinister character. He walks out wearing a wisdom suit and makes His case.

Sure God speaks, but that doesn’t mean you hear him correctly. What if you’re wrong? 

It sits there; echoing until it’s faded to black. What if..?

__________________________

I love that when I am struggling, God comforts me instead of condemns me. I mean really, what right do I have to expect God to do things a certain way? What right do I have to doubt Him? But He is so patient. In fact Jesus is sympathetic to the struggle of this life and it actually compels Him in heaven to pray for us at the right hand of God. What!? God is praying for me?! He has every right to judge me and my duplicity, but instead He sends his Holy Spirit as the Comforter and speaks to my core.

Aroea. I am your rock. I am your refuge. I will not abandon you. I will not only call you, but I will also finish the work – only believe. 

You know, if we would have gotten a job offer a couple weeks ago things would probably be a little more comfortable right now. And definitely more clear! But, I wouldn’t have had this moment. I wouldn’t be experiencing the God who knows me completely and in my weakness reaches toward me in love. Yes, I’m facing a permanent decision. We’re making a choice right now that’s going to leave a mark on things. At least on our family.

But Jesus didn’t send Peter out onto those waves. He called to him from them. He was calling Peter to Himself. He was saying, no matter how crazy it looks, how impossible even, don’t let there be space between us. Come. Do what I am doing. Be with Me here in this moment. That is incredible! The immortal, incorruptible Creator of all life seeks fellowship with us. There are no words for that! And there is no way to measure the sanctity of that moment. This is His perfect will for us. Knowing Him more fully. Finding Him certain when all else is shifting waters.

So, the trial has ceased to be a stage from which the enemy repeats his same sad monologue and has instead become a cavern, a cathedral. A place to raise my voice and say God is good! He is the God who sees me! He is the God who not only calls but completes! His fullness of glory is now my fullness of joy! Thank you Father for your great compassion and goodness. And thank you that I will get to see miracles unfold in front of me simply because You will to show me the wonder of Who you are!

I have so few answers. There’s peace in finding I need none. He is certain. That is enough.

Father, 

Thank you for the unrelenting way you pursue us. Thank you for not judging our struggle, but comforting us in it and meeting us where we are. Jesus, thank you for being a priest who understands how hard it is to walk when you only see through a glass dimly. Thank you that you pray for us so that we can overcome through the power of your Holy Spirit. Thank you that you don’t call us based on our limited abilities and inconsistent character but by Your Own Goodness. Thank you that you drive out fear with love. Thank you for an opportunity to trust you and experience the fullness of Your glory. Thank you for the holy scriptures that help remind us when our emotions make us forget. You are so good and so patient and so majestic. Help each of us to stop straining at a helm too big for us and instead let go to take your hand. May we find joy and beauty in that place. And may it produce in us sincere worship as we see you repeatedly do the impossible right before our very eyes. Thank you Father. Thank you for being a rock and a savior and refuge. We love you. Amen. 

**I wrote this mostly because tomorrow I will need to read it and remember again. However the quote at the beginning was from a powerful clip that may serve me better to those ends. I strongly encourage you to put it on in a quiet place and let the truth wash over you. I could have pulled more than a dozen quotes from this one segment. Don’t be daunted by the length it feels shorter than it is. You’ll find loading the dishwasher or taking a bath has never been so profitable

The Nature of God- Graham Cooke

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