And Then What?

A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew pictures. Occasionally, she would walk around the room to see each child’s work.

“What are you drawing?” she asked one little girl who was working diligently at her desk.

The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”

The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”

The little girl replied, “They will in a minute.”

God must think we’re kind of funny when we try to identify Him or his plans. Or figure out what the platypus is.

I remember several years ago that someone contemplated the vastness of the universe. Imagine, they pondered, that we live in a solar system that we barely know anything about. That solar system is part of a galaxy. In fact, it’s one of several galaxies. And the universe is all of the galaxies. So…you’d think that somewhere out – at the end of all of that – is…a wall. Right?

The question, then, is…What’s on the other side of the wall?

The “other side of the wall” is the stuff that I think God is all about. We have those things we can examine and may some day be able to identify, label, and categorize. But what about the stuff on the “other side of the wall”?

People had ideas of what Messiah would sound like, look like, act like.

Do you think they expected their deliverer to be raised in the home of a carpenter – or in the home of a soldier or politician?

Do you think they expected him to “slum it” with lepers, Samaritans and tax collectors – or with society’s elite?

Do you think they expected him to actually encourage his brothers and sisters to walk the extra mile for the army that oppressed them – or to overturn that same government, to begin an insurrection? 

Do you think they expected him to go to his crucifixion without a hearing or a single protest – or to defend himself and finally rise up to make his stand?

Do you think they expected him to come back to life after three days in the grave?

Now, that is the stuff God’s about! That mind-blowing, are-you-serious, how-is-that-even-possible stuff is absolutely what God is all about. 

The Hebrews knew the stories of God’s miracles and deliverance – the exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, Sarah’s conception of Issac, crazy Noah and his ark, David’s unlikely defeat of Goliath. But even then, they were determined to fit God into a man-designed box. Just like we do today, they considered very human, very limited ways that Messiah would – or could – come to them.

But Messiah didn’t come in a box. He came in a womb.

baby jesus.jpg
“Immanuel…God With Us”

Now, that’s outside the box! But outside the box is exactly what we need because we’re not fighting a war that’s “inside the box.” The war is not about the possession of land or resources.

The battle is for our souls, for eternity.

lion reflected in sword

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

And the battle?

But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

Like nothing we’ve seen before or can possibly imagine with our five senses and limited imaginations.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. 

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

But how unbelievable is it that God would come to us as a baby – vulnerable and dependent, yet so very embraceable.

God came down to be embraced. (And if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.)

So what has God got planned for us? When he makes a way where there seems to be no way, what will it look like? If it’s like nothing we’ve seen before, if it’s a new thing, it’s going to make the platypus appear logical and mundane. It will have colors and scents that we can’t imagine because we’ve never seen them or smelled them! It will be the stuff on the other side of the cosmic wall, and it will take our breath away and feel like home at the same time.

And I have a feeling that God is looking forward to seeing the look on our face when we see it.

GOD’S GOT YOU COVERED!

0fca0f31e3ae70ed82b1e571ed0ed6fdI wasted two days of my  life this past Friday and Saturday. They’re just gone!

I felt angry, bitter, and scared and numb. I was so scared that I shut down. Worry about what my future holds consumed me. I ran future possibilities through my head until I couldn’t think anymore. But I felt I had to look ahead to determine if I could handle any of those possibilities – just in case. I’m so tired! And the only thing I managed is to lose two days of my life.

I struggle between trusting God and trusting all the players, including – especially – me. I can say I’m going to let God handle everything that troubles me now, and then I worry about it.

When I worry, I take the whole thing outp of God’s capable hands. I know what I’m saying is, “Lord, I don’t trust you.” (Like I can trust myself to do better!)

Here’s one of those “fortune cookie” declarations I mentioned in my last post – the ones that are always optimistic and seem to be meant for someone other than me:cd608ccfde83a8700ac72470819c551e.jpg

But I’ve decided to claim this one because I think it reflects the personality of God. And these are the characteristics of God that I need now and believe I can go boldly before the throne and ask him to use in my life.

My God has me covered. He has already been where I’m going and has made a straight path and good plan for me. He has already spoken to the people who will influence my life, closed the doors that need to be closed and opened the doors that need to be opened. He’s got me covered.

When I had an emergency open heart surgery at Allina, I was helicoptered there. I learned later that before I even landed, the path to the operating room was cleared. There were no obstacles at all. Every door was open, including the elevator doors. Nothing was going to delay my arrival. And everything and everyone was there and ready to save my life in operation. That’s what God does in our lives.

And because he’s God, we can always be confident that he will – at his discretion and in his time – provide increase, restoration, healing and breakthroughs. He loves us and meets us where we are, but when we become His child, things need to change. He can’t leave us as we were without him. That means we can expect an upgrade in our life. Praise God that while I’m not yet where I want to be, to his glory I’m not where I was when he got ahold of me!

But I can’t do this on my own. I’ve seen what happens when I try to handb7458c51ee3ce0ffe8fcf57175829bd9le my struggles alone. I waste days feeling sorry for myself and nothing gets done. So I need to turn it all over to God. And that can be hard to do. What if I don’t like the plans he has for me? What if He takes too long? So the first thing I had to do was to surrender my heart to Him. And as I do (it’s a process for me!) I find him softening my heart, making my heart and thoughts right, in line with Him and his plan.

The hardest part for me is to “choose to trust”. I’m already in pain because there’s been a breach in trust, usually, and I’m hurt. Now I’m supposed to put my trust in someone I can’t see or touch?! If I want peace and want to see victory, yes.princess warior

I have to hold onto the fact that I am putting my trust in someone who truly loves me and wants what’s best for me. I didn’t grow up with that. In fact, I grew up with a parent who I believe hated me and would sabotage me every chance she got. She did not have my my best interest in her heart as God does. So this faith alone is very hard for me. But I have to believe it, and I have to believe that God will give me a new set of eyes to go with the new heart he’s given me.

Does God want us to have the victory over our enemy? Yes! Why? Because he loves us and because every victory we have is a victory for His kingdom. What sort of leader would he be if he had a defeated army with no hope in them?

I pray that I can remember Whose I am and who I am as I go through my present struggle. God has promised that He has a good plan for me. He’s promised me a new heart and new eyes to see more clearly. I think trusting Him sounds better than wasting my days in bed feeling sorry for myself.