As much as I write and talk and preach and text and journal about hope and joy ... it slips through my hands too, sometimes.
I went to bed last night grieving, grumpy, and frumpy, and I woke up the same. Too much to do, always running late, never enough time, letting myself down ... and tell me where Simple is supposed to fit in?
I'm not sure how many times my heart will be able to break and mend, break and mend, break again ... but I am sure that this hurts. To listen to an hours-fresh widow plead to wake up from this nightmare, to hear of regrets over time not spent with a dad ... to pray for the mom to keep the baby so a friend can adopt the precious little bundle, only to learn that abortion claimed another bloody point today ... to endure another slug to this gut - I have emotions too. With angry fists I pound the bathroom counter this morning, and though my lips and tears are silent, my heart screams it louder than a bullhorn.
"Is there anything good in this world?"
And He doesn't have to answer.
I already know there is. Looking down at my fists, I'm already repentant, knowing the problem is not His blame. These hands have closed again. Of course there is good in this world. I've counted nearly 2500 gifts, and it's only been over a year since I started. I wonder how many I could have counted if I'd begun sooner. So many. Books and books of them. Thousands and thousands since I've come into this forsaken, fallen planet. This place where I am not a citizen. This very place where I can still receive good, because He is good, gives good, and defines good. But my hope is that I belong to a place much higher.
Of course it's not His fault and though I'm allowed to despair, I'm not to be despaired. That is not my identity.
"Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today the "third day" and He has still not done what I expected? Am I therefore justified in being dejected and in blaming God? Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get a hold of God, not of the answer." -Oswald Chambers
And when what we want is Him, we'll never be sick.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." - Proverb 13:12
"Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4
photo credit: National Geographic
My delight is in Him, and He gives me Himself. I'm not sick because I have the hope I want - though I don't have the results I pleaded for, I do have Him. So I have hope for joy, and He's all I need. My hands are opening again as I preach this to my own soul. There are good things in this world, and I've seen them, held them, written them, thanked Him for them.
Here are a few:
- Your freedom that reigns over every place I'll surrender, and hope for Your Majesty to come even more in my life
- brown ribbon and more paper for more gratitude, always more - for all this grace
- pretty souvenirs from India, brought from my Guy
- listening for long minutes after the service to J, T, and others - a wonderful testimony of Your loving hand at work
- for this breath and the next: "He's the One who runs the earth! He cradles the whole world in His hand! If He decided to hold His breath, every man, woman, and child would die for lack of air." -Job 34:13-15 (Msg)
- " ... a plain and simple life is a full life." -Proverb 13:7 (Msg)
- humility ... "anyone who thinks he is something when he is nothing deceives himself." -Galatians 6:3 (NASB)
- for binding the enemy's lies and loosing Your truth over me (Matthew 18:18)
- audio clip from IRM's founder: a brother with many rescued sisters, and many more to rescue
- encouragement from You through my Guy to keep pressing on in obedience, regardless of results
- warmth in the cold weather, and strength to keep hoping for spring
- J finding a good book to read
- privilege to minster to R and her family
- a bit of sunshine this evening, and a lovely sunset tonight of orange, blue, and violet
- for Your unending love, unconditional faithfulness, unsurpassed power ... and that I get to know You
- science experiment about crystals with J
- for opening Your hands of goodness to me, and for opening my hands again to receive it - more of it, all of it.
Lord, forgive me again for clenching and pounding fists. I find myself in so much trouble and trials when I close these hands. May I learn, once again, the power of opening them in trust, believing that you WILL put good into them. Please accept these open-handed thanks. You are still Good, even today. You are so very worthy. My gratitude is all I have that You want. And it's Yours.