Trustworthy

To say that I’ve had a hard week would kind of be like saying the ocean has a lot of water. Perhaps just a little bit of an understatement. 

I was thinking about it last night, and I was thinking, none of these things stressing me out are actually my problems. This is just me, trying to help other people through their problems. Their junk. Not mine. But then I had this niggling thought of, is that really true? Because actually, when we help other people deal with their junk, it inevitably stirs up some of our own. 

I am realizing that this week, I’ve had some serious doubts and worries about the Goodness of God and being able to trust him. I think, when I say that I “trust” God, what I’m actually saying is, “I’m really confident that God is going to work out everything the way that I want it.” And this week I’ve had to face the stark fear that Maybe, God is not going to work things out the way I want in my loved ones’ lives. Maybe the happy ending that I’ve been praying for, isn’t going to actually happen. Maybe God isn’t going to answer my prayer and keep all harm far, far away. 

That has been hard for me to accept. Again, an understatement. 

I feel helpless. And the power of prayer doesn’t feel as strong when there are no guarantees that we will get the answer we want. 

Yesterday I had to walk away from someone I loved, leaving their problems in someone else’s hands. I started walking back to my car. Tears running down my cheeks. I sat in my car and sobbed for a minute. My brain numb. And I felt the Holy Spirit whisper into my soul the word, Trustworthy. 

And as I sit and think about that word, I realize that I have been guilty of creating God in my own image. I know how I want things to work out, I know how I want God to move in these situations, and so I create a God in my mind that does everything that I want him to do. And then, when crisis comes, it feels like God is not being God. Except that he is being God. Just not my little image of him that I’ve created. He is being God: Omnipotent, Sovereign. And, as he reminded me yesterday, Trustworthy. 

I think what the word Trustworthy means is, God is who he says He is. He can do what he says He can do. (To quote an old Beth Moore Bible Study). My knowledge of who He is and what He can do comes from the Bible, not from my imagination. And when my ideas get shaken up, I’ve got to return to that firm foundation. 

And so I find myself on new ground. Perhaps it’s Holy ground. It feels really unstable, but I think that’s just because my legs are weak, not because the ground is shaky. It’s a place of saying, Your will be done, not mine. I’m sacrificing my preconceived ideas, and instead am going to walk into the unknown, clinging to the truth that you are good. Your love is wider and deeper than mine. You are Trustworthy. 

Kite Flying

Last Sunday, Easter, we took the kids to the park in the afternoon, and for a special treat, we got all the little kids a plastic kite. The kind they sell cheap at Walmart. We spent the afternoon trying to help six kids get a kite going at the same time, and chaos erupted. I suddenly remembered why we hadn’t flown kites in a long time. Group kite flying is not very fun. Only one child successfully got her kite up and kept it up. Everyone else was frustrated. 

This Sunday, a week later, I decided to return to the park and try this kite thing again. I only took a couple kids with me this time and we only tried to get one kite up in the air at a time. It was also very windy, so I was sure that we would have much better luck. 

Nope. 

I have come to the conclusion that our kites are too cheap. We just don’t have the right kind of kites. This theory was brought home when a guy appeared on the scene later with his two kids. They brought out a beautiful, obviously well-made, professional grade kite. And it flew so high. So beautifully! The kids and I admired from a distance. 

Of course, it also takes some skill. The dad flying the kite passed the string to one of his children and after a while it crashed to the ground. Which makes me think that what our family needs is just one, really nice kite. The older kids can take turns using it and the little kids can watch. 

Quick subject change. I’ve been thinking about control. Lack of control. The need for control. And how that runs contrary to being a Christian. Even to just being human. There is so little that we have control over. We can’t control the weather or any natural disasters that might pop up. We can’t control the spread of viruses. We can’t control cancer. We have very limited control of the actions of people around us. 

Me trying to control my life kind of reminds me of standing out in a field with a cheap kite that has serious design issues, a tangled string that won’t come off the reel in a timely manner, wind that gusts and swirls haphazardly, and the end product is my kite wrapped up in a nearby tree branch.

The Christian walk requires trust and faith, the opposite of control. I have to somehow believe that, first, God loves me. His end goal for me is for me to be with him in Paradise. This time here on earth is a time of refining and growth. Second, God knows what he is doing. The things that happen here are not a surprise to him nor do they hinder God’s will from happening. Third, I am not going to understand everything during this lifetime. Bad things are going to happen that knock me down. I’m not going to be happy with everything that comes my way. Maybe, I’ll be able to look back and see how everything worked out for good, and maybe I will never see how any good came out of it. But, the fourth, and last point is God is good and I can trust him. 

And when I trust him, it’s kind of like handing control of the kite string over to a master. Someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who has the ability to transform my broken kite into a beautiful masterpiece. And that’s the life I want. Me in control is not a pretty thing. Me trusting God makes my life a beautiful thing to see.

My Unpopular Opinions

I had a dream last night that I was in heaven. It was a really strange dream. I was exploring, and I was aware that I was dreaming. And I kept hoping that I wouldn’t wake up, because I wanted to see more. It was peaceful. I remember, in the dream, taking note of how I felt, Hmm, I don’t feel creeped out like I usually do in dreams, this feels peaceful, it really must be heaven. But, there wasn’t very much that was “heavenly”. It was like being in a regular city. The buildings weren’t amazing, just regular city buildings. I went inside one building and it just looked like a regular building. Nothing amazing. I talked to people and there was nothing that stood out about them. Just regular people. The only two things that were different was I had a “new” body that I barely paid any attention to, and I was handed some amazing french baguette bread, and told I could eat it without worrying about gaining weight. (Yay!) And then I woke up, thinking, huh, that was a weird dream. And I’ve been thinking about it and I quickly realized what was wrong. Jesus wasn’t there. I think in the dream, I was subconsciously looking for him the whole time. And there was no sign of him, except for the peaceful feeling. And a pleasant city with pleasant people, but no Jesus? That’s just not heaven. 

 

All the biblical descriptions of heaven make it very clear that God is the center of heaven. God on his throne, angels worshipping him. 

 

Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

 

I would think that if the glory of God is the light source of heaven, you are definitely going to be very aware of his presence when you are there. In fact, if I were to give a definition of heaven, I would say, it’s being in the presence of God. 

 

And for some reason, my mind is drifting to our country and politics and the current mess that we are in as we approach an election in the Fall. 

 

I have found it pretty amazing that I have had Christian friends express the sentiment that to vote for Trump is “unchristian” and at the exact same time I have had other Christian friends tell me that to vote for Biden is “unchristian”. 

 

Can I ask a favor? Could we stop doing that? God is not setting up his kingdom solely in the United States of America. His kingdom happens to be in every single country on this earth. His kingdom does not rely on which party is in office. His kingdom does not depend on whether our country is socialist or capitalist. His kingdom does not depend on us being a republic or a democracy. There is no government that can stop the spreading of God’s kingdom. 

 

In my dream, the “heaven” I was in was nice, peaceful. Pleasant enough people, the surroundings were ok. But it wasn’t Heaven. Jesus wasn’t there. It was just a nice place. Kind of like our country. Nice place. Not heaven. 

 

For some reason, right now, Christians on both sides of the political spectrum seem to be taking a stance that if their candidate wins, we will be able to have a country where the Kingdom of God can be advanced. But, if the other side wins, the future of Christianity is in grave peril. 

I would like to put forth the idea that God is sovereign. He can and will advance his kingdom no matter who is in office. And while our country is a nice place, filled with nice people, it’s not heaven. It’s not the headquarters for God’s kingdom. God’s throne is not in Washington D.C. (thank God!). Believe it or not, this upcoming election is not going to be a deciding factor on whether God’s kingdom advances. 

 

Now, I know that by now, everyone is mad at me. I’m sorry. I understand that your political stance is very important to you. And I understand that you are very worried about the upcoming election. Thinking about our country being led by a political leader you don’t respect and don’t agree with is alarming. And right now, our political beliefs are so strong that we seem to have overset our tendencies to be polite and respectful to other people. 

 

We need to understand something though. There are born-again, on fire, devoted believers on both sides of the political spectrum. And when we start tossing around the term “unchristian” concerning our political beliefs, we are causing a LOT of division in the body of Christ. And we are living in a state of fear that is unnecessary. God is on his throne, his kingdom is not in danger. Yes, your Christian beliefs have shaped how you feel you should vote. But please understand, this is true for both sides!!

 

So, yes, have your political beliefs. Campaign for your favorite candidate. But keep in mind, this is an earthly kingdom we are talking about. Somehow, our country is going to have to gain some unity. And a good first step is to stop throwing around the term “unchristian”.