Monday, March 4, 2013

A Promise of Celebration

The praising man in ice
If the little man in ice were real I know exactly how he feels...trapped.  This journey feels like being trapped sometimes....often asking "Will this struggle ever end?"  I've been asking that question a lot lately it seems and again my week started with having to face the challenges brought on by physical pain and weakness. I have been struggling internally and angry since the results of my recent MRI and talking with my chiropractor who was less than encouraging only made things worse. I found I have been wrestling with God about this whole issue because of how things are happening and not in a particularly healthy way either.  My wresting has been robbing my peace and causing me to become impatient with others, that person I don't like being. 

Even after God's specific instructions to wait, to let Him do the doing I still fight it.  It's easier to said than done to trust when you are someone who has always had to find help on your own.  It doesn't matter that God wants me to just be still and not fight against the way He is doing things, I want so badly to find answers and relief and it's not least not yet and this waiting is hard and I don't like it.  I don't think that it is that I don't think God will do something, it is that I don't know how to really wait or maybe what the heck am I supposed to do while I wait.  Am I supposed to do anything at all? 

God knows me well and all those internal struggles I go through and my heart that desires to please Him even when I struggling...yes I do want His will most of all.  So in spite of my struggling God being ever so patient and faithful knew exactly what I needed and did not correct me for struggling or failing to trust Him completely.  Instead He spoke quite clearly through a good friend as she stood and preached about God taking ugly things and transforming them...specifically the cross, into lasting symbols of redemption, grace and forgiveness.   Then these words came out of her mouth, "Your weakness will be your celebration." and I knew God was looking directly at me telling me what He is going to do next... Tears immediately began to stream down my face as I felt the finger of God touch my heart and my heart begin to let go of its struggle...but not all the way.

I must confess I don't know what it looks like at all to live transformed in this manner or even sort of feel that way about this life of pain.  And this letting go doesn't seem to be happening overnight as I found myself still struggling this morning.  Old habits die hard I guess.  All I know is that this struggle has robbed me of so much it has left me with little to feel celebratory about other than God is using it. 

Knowing all the Bible verses relating to such a word hasn't made me feel any better or turned me into an instant expert on it either.  That is only head knowledge and of little value when the soul is crying out for mercy.  What I lack is true heartfelt understanding of what it means...and it seems God is planning on showing me what that means.   This is same work that God did in the heart of King David enabling him to say "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing" in Psalm 30:11 and that same transformative power that takes a horrific symbol of payment owed for wrongs committed like the cross and turns it into a symbol of grace and mercy and of His love.  It is the transformative power God.

I find those words spoken through my friend so beautifully compelling and I hear is His voice, my Abba Father's voice, every time I read them.  It is as though HE is saying it to me out loud "This is my will for you and what I will do in you!" so I read them over and over again, letting the sound and spirit of them sink deeply in my spirit.

My heart is responding with such a longing to experience what God says He will do and my soul is encouraged.  My spirit is hungry for His good will to be accomplished within me.  Am I nervous about how it might happen?   Yes, I have to say I am, but I am not afraid and am not going to sit here and dredge up all the various ways I think that might happen.  That is just a waste of time and energy as I have no control of what God has planned...not to mention it would be the perfect way to open the door to worry and fear and become bound with anxiety.

This ability to celebrate will not be achieved any other way than by His work in me and only God knows how to accomplish the necessary work that will transform the pain of weakness of this struggle into my celebration.  It is God taking what is not and making it so, God taking what the enemy meant for evil and using it for the good of those who are His own.  It is the kind of thing that cannot be accomplished by human strength of will or through constant quoting of scripture and claiming them in faith any more than we can save ourselves.  This"celebration" will only become reality through the work of the Holy Spirit according to God's will in me...or in you if and when you come to this place in your walk.  Then and only then will this "celebration" be born in my/our hearts and not just in our minds, born of truth and not just something we worked ourselves up into "feeling".  It will not be the sinking sands of emotionalism or vain imaginations but foundational truth built in us by God...built in me and built in you.

This is one of those times when I can say, "Though my heart and flesh may fail me God is my strength and my portion forever" and really mean it.  If it were up to me I would just give up, through in the towel, get angry and stay angry, fill up with self pity or even self loathing and become a pitiful example of a suffering saint.  How grateful I am He is not leavning me as He found me and not forsaken me...or you too for that matter.  And I mean that. 

Here's to more adventures in discovery as God works in us in ways we could never imagine.   

Copyright © 2013 by Patty Hicks

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