God will take you where you haven’t intended to go in order to produce in you what you could not do on your own.
– “The theology of uncomfortable grace” – Paul Tripp
I hate this.
I don’t like the idea that God takes me where I don’t want to go. This is not a quote full of “yayyyyyys” in my head. It is a reality of the Christian life. Of life in general. I think of people like Elijah and John the Baptist. God took both of those men through things they didn’t want to go through…. and he produced in them character and lives that reflected his glory… but man.. they had some rough times…
I love the story of Ruth from the Bible… It is a story of redemption. Of God taking an awful situation and using it to redeem a broken family plagued by death and despair. These women get grafted into the family tree of Jesus. But I don’t envy an ounce of what got them there.
For those of you who are less familiar with historical characters from the Bible… death, despair, poverty, wicked kings and queens chasing them down, loneliness all marked these three people. Sure Elijah was a prophet that got to see God bring down fire on a mountainside and had amazing encounters with God, John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and the predicted character who would “pave the way for the Lord” and Ruth got to be the great great grandmother of the famous King David and way down the lineage tree, in the ancestry of Jesus… but… those good things all were born in much suffering..
There are places in my life I have not wanted to go. Even this month. I have questions for the Lord. I have tears for the Lord. I have prayers for situations to change.. to experience redemption..
But .. the Lord has not answered all of those prayers yet for me. He has not brought me the redemption I am hungering for. He has not brought an answer to all of my prayers and hopes. So today I read in the Psalms to “wait on the Lord.”
I often forget the Lord is good in times like these. Or I forget that the Lord is sovereign.. meaning.. he is big and in control. I meditated on the Psalms today to remind myself that those places where I know my sinful heart and mind tend to go to are not what is true about God.
I have been trying to learn the art of silence and meditation in my prayer time. I have lived a busy life for so long. Stopping and pausing has been a journey I have been on this year. Today was a gorgeous day and so provided the perfect evening for a quiet walk by myself. I found myself walking into the Dene near my house, a gorgeous wooded park and praying and taking in the silence. Then it struck me.. I want to be thankful. There is much I have been sad about lately, fretting about lately, not sure if the Lord will ever answer prayers; but what does it mean to thank God in all things? So I ended up wandering through this park by myself thanking Jesus for dying for me. Thanking him for grace. Thanking the Lord for the overabundance of rocks in England that meant there are gorgeous stone walls everywhere. I thanked him for the beauty of the street light and the loveliness of the warm breeze. I thanked him for the rain on Friday that left the river swollen and wild with rushing water. I thanked him for big things and silly things.
And then I came home.