After over a week of not blogging, I've missed the rest that comes in nesting here. Tonight as I catch my breath after fighting some bugs, I have so much to share!
First, I missed "Thankful on Thursdays," so here are a few of the blessings I've been able to jot down even in the whirlwind of crazier-than-normal:
- a pleasant parent-teacher conference with Miss W, and her kind comment that she would take a thousand Josiahs. So would I.
- lemon-scented hand lotion in the women's bathroom, and the comfort to my dry, cracked hands
- Your strength when I'm frustrated and weak
- open doors for K, and her perseverance to do Your will, wherever that may take her
- for all of the times Ruth was called "My Daughter," and that You have always addressed me this way when You speak to my heart
- for perfect vision, and forgiveness for the times I've taken it for granted after my Lasik
- for this song and singing it all day every day this week
- seeing Kim Walker-Smith live in Hershey, and for the way she leads people into Your presence with her amazing voice. As J said, "shocking that such a big voice could come from someone so tiny!"
- scrambled eggs and toast. I get to feed my kids this morning. So many moms don't. Thank You. Please help them, Lord our Provider.
- for friends who pray for me right away when I don't feel well
- the sunlight on my face through the window, and the way Your presence shines into my heart that way
Second, I missed out on giving you a writing prompt on Friday. Well, Saturdays are just as good for writing as Fridays are, so here you have it:
Change the ending of your favorite story, movie, or historical event. For example, what would have happened if Uzzah hadn't put his hand out to catch the falling Ark when the oxen stumbled? Use your imagination and write your own conclusion to the plot of your choosing.
And last, how about some Bread for the birds? For some context, this passage comes after Absalom had been restored to his father, David, and, for some unstated reason, decided to rebel against his dad with attempts to take over the kingdom. His crafty plan caught my breath when I read it:
Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. -2 Sam 15:4-6 (ESV)
Because isn't that the way the enemy works? I love how Liz Curtis Higgs taught at the conference in Hershey that the adversary of our souls doesn't even deserve a name, like the un-named self-serving redeemer (little r) in Ruth. In light of that teaching, I've been refusing to even name him.
Absalom's behavior reminded me so much of the ways no-name can try to trick me by planting seeds like, "If I were God, I'd do things differently. I'd give people happiness. Comfort. Whatever they ask for, right away. Yeah, that's what I'd do if I were God. I guess too bad I'm not ..." he sneers as he slinks away, leaving me with these arms so heavy with doubt.
And not only the detestable no-name, but I even think that way sometimes. "Why, if I were the Lord, I would never allow people to face such trials! I'd stop those murderers in their tracks. I'd make sure my people had justice ..."
But who's to say David wasn't giving his subjects justice? Of course he was. He was David. Hero of all heroes, lover and worship-er of the Lord, David. There's no reason for us to doubt his leadership. ... Not until Absalom planted the doubt, that is. And he stole their hearts.
Like David and even more-so, God is the faithful Judge, who gives justice like only the Ancient of Days can. He is good and gives good and defines good. Who's to say they could do a better job of being God? Not I. And so I want to stop thinking that way. Like I could do it better. Like I know answers He doesn't. Like what I'm petitioning Him for He isn't already working on. As if.
I want to stop questioning God. Stop second-guessing His hand. Stop the madness of this pretense that I could do a better job. That's actually pretty disrespectful and rebellious to say, although I know people do so in jest most of the time. I'm just saying for me, I don't want to give away any territory of my heart that could be claimed by doubt. Stolen by rebellion.
Lord, trusting You means especially surrendering to Your plan in the trials. Even if the healing doesn't come. Even if we don't get our way. Thank You for teaching me this through Your Word. Help me not to be like Absalom or give in to the lies of my un-named enemy. What I want ... what I really want, more than anything ... it's just You. More of You. More awareness of Your presence. More open-handed, surrendered living according to Your grace and gifts and goodness. Only You are God, so good, so faithful, so loving, so just. And me? I am so ... so very ... not. Lord - no one is allowed to steal my heart from You.