Friday, March 23, 2012

Be Still

This has been a week of lament. Of praying “Thy will be done”, then faltering under the weight of the response. Of tasting bitter disappointment. And what else tastes more bitter than that of being let down? Of hopes dashed? Of loved ones disappointing? When the one letting down is in human flesh, though the disappointment is crushing, the expectations can only be set so high, because flesh is never void of failure. But what about when the one is the Almighty? Expectations are limitless with Him, because Creator equals perfection. Yet there is one limit to the expectations. Our comprehension. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” When prayers seem unanswered, when hopes feel crushed, when direction gives way to disappointment, what then? 

For me, first the lament. I read these words this week.

Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is a bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love-beat of the Father’s heart. True lament is the bold faith that trusts Perfect love enough to feel and cry authentic.” A. Voscamp.

Some days, from my perspective, it appears that God just played a prank on me, a prank void of any humor. I get angry. I cry. I hate to feel as if I’ve been fooled. Misled. Tricked. 

But then comes the quiet. The whispered reminders that I only see through a glass darkly. The authentic cry of lament, but not the bitter howl of unbelief. And in the quiet I open my eyes wide. It’s dark, but I want to take in every glimpse I can get while I wait for my pupils to dilate. Surely there are things of importance to see here, because He is good, and He only gives good things, and I must believe it. I MUST. Good is His very character, and if I do not believe His goodness, I can not believe Him at all. Choosing to accept something as good when it appears less than appealing to my eyes, this is the stretch. Perhaps not so different from the child whose mother says “playing outside is fun, but a nap is better. Trust me.” Trust. What need is there for trust if there is no element of puzzlement? No mystery?

In the quiet, quieting my heart, my life, my schedule, there are scenes of stirring beauty that would otherwise be looked over. And it is in these things that my strength is regained, my confidence in His goodness is restored.

Things like a tree in full spring splendor.

Baby lambs playing on shaky legs. 

The smell of fresh grass mixing with spring rain.
Delightful blooms bursting from bulbs that I planted one heavy-hearted fall day and then forgot about.
The discovery of Yanni’s music. Where has he been all my life?

This calm companion who’s made it her life mission to never let me out of her sight.

 Reading through all the words in red. This was the page I read today. "Blessed is the one who is not offended in me."

This verse, shared by both Ann V. and Katie D. this week, which so fully encompasses all that my heart has been trying to grasp hold of.

 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:14,16

Friend, if disappointment has left its bitter taste in your mouth, how is it that you quiet your heart and move forward in joy? What sights of goodness and beauty are your eyes resting on as you grapple with ways that are Higher than yours? How has His goodness washed over your life, even in the midst of circumstances that appear less than good from flesh eyes? 

“BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Ps. 46:10