A Beautiful Tension
Several years ago I was reading where God was talking to Moses about destroying the Israelites in the desert but Moses "talked God out of it". This became an ongoing topic of conversation between God and me and from time to time I found myself asking Him to change His will. It didn't come from a place of haughtiness but only when my heart was genuinely in pain. I remember once a student was looking at being locked up for a good while because of a string of terrible choices made and my heart felt like it was literally going to explode at the thought of someone so young and full of potential in a situation like that. So one morning we were all praying and my heart was overwhelmed with the plea, "God, if your will is jail, please change it because I know you can make it where not going to jail would be the best."
And for a while I felt God teaching my heart through this kind of prayer what it means for me to go before His throne so honestly. That yeah, I ultimately want His will, but at the same time, I am free to talk to Him as a friend and plead for situations. Then a friend, who happens to literally be one of the smartest people I know, was teaching on the Psalms and explained that pleading with God was an ancient Hebrew tradition and how they believed God was honored by their going before Him like that... and it made sense. Lately though, God has been teaching my heart about something else and that is trusting His will. Most people know I am praying about moving to Thailand next year and heading on an exploratory trip in the next couple of months. I am excited about the possible adventure and do miss being in full time missions, but then at the same time I love my life. I get to help in the raising of five beautiful children as their nanny, I have a great place to live, I'm blessed with more friends that I could ever deserve, and I am happier and more content than ever before... but I think I hear God saying it's time to go again. So then I read passages like the one in Genesis where Abraham begs God to bless Ishmael because he doesn't believe Sarah will ever be able to give birth. God says no because He knows His plan. But in their humanness Sarah and Abraham can't even fathom what God is up to. And although, like Sarah & Abraham, I don't like the idea of being in the dark when it comes to where my life is going, I do trust God and know ultimately He has my best and His glory in mind. So wherever my life goes, I can rest in Him. Then this morning I read how as Lot was leaving Sodom & Gomorrah, he so dramatically tells the angels he can't go to the mountains and begs to instead be allowed to live in a nearby village. The angel grants his request, but my heart wonders what was waiting for Him in the mountains? Did Lot miss out on something great because He was too scared to go where he was told? And my heart is then reminded of the garden where Jesus prayed the night before paying the ransom for all of us on the cross... “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” The beautiful and painful picture of how all of us who are followers of Christ have and will feel.. The beautiful invitation of The Father to come before Him with our petition and at the same time know He has us. He holds us as the apple or little maiden of His eye. We are invited to live in the tension of the invitation to go to God with the confidence that He in fact does hear us, and trusting the Father's heart that He knows the best for us and is orchestrating our life in such a way we can't even begin to imagine. Being born a person who sees things black and white, I didn't initially care for this invitation. It would be easier if there was a map or formula to pray. But at the same time, the beauty of life doesn't happen in the black and white but rather in the magenta and cyan. After all, how fun would life be if we always knew what would happen? I'm so thankful God, in His creative and sovereign way, placed us in a world full of color and uncertainty with the promise that He is good and He has us....