Trust on My Terms
My roommate is out of town, so I get to take care of her cats. Her two, VERY needy cats. So after I got my coffee going I spent some time with them. Did I mention they are needy? The house was extra quiet, so I put on Youtube and wasn’t quite ready to listen to a sermon or teaching so saw an interview with Sandra Bullock and thought that’d be fun.
As I listened to her talk, some of her story resonates with mine. My heart starts to hurt in an old familiar place and God and I begin a conversation we’ve had maybe thousands of times over the last twenty years. The conversation is about some things I felt Him put on my heart to pray and believe for honestly, as long as I can remember. And I don’t know about you, but when I feel God put something on my heart I expect that He is moving in a way that I will see it soon. But that often isn’t the case. It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn to trust and still hope when His timing is beyond anything I can comprehend. That was kinda my lesson for 2016/early 2017. It was the hardest year I have ever had. It was partly due to the dreaded mid life crisis, a couple injuries that were slow to heal, and two people who as close to me as my biological family moving to another state. But honestly misunderstanding God’s promises and His timing was the main root, but I didn’t know it at the time. I found myself at a crossroads and remember God speaking to my heart, “Have you ever seen someone who once had great faith, but then turns away completely from Me and wondered how it happened? This is how it happened. They found themselves right where you are and choose something other than Me.” I never thought that so many years into my journey with God that I would be so tempted to quit and give up. I even had a conversations with someone at my church about possibly stepping down from leading because I was unfit. I hit my lowest low, but praise God He surrounded me with people who understood both grace and the truth that come from Him. I realized in all of it that my concept of God, His promises and how He moves was wrong. I had arrogantly thought I had God figured out. I just knew how He was going to do things. But I was so wrong and instead of opening my hands and my heart to Him I just shut down. I felt so heart broken by Him I didn’t want to spend time with Him. But slowly, in His loving timing, He held the mirror of the Word up to me and I realized where I had wrongly understood. Where I had treated Him like a vending machine instead of the Perfect Father working His will in our lives. I learned to trust without trying to dictate what He should do. And as I type this out I am having to deal with my roommate’s neediest cat wanting all of my attention. He is a quirky thing who was born into a hoarder’s tiny home and spent his early life in a cage. As a result he is obnoxious about getting petted and when he’s in the mood will not let you do anything but love on him. But because this cat is still skittish from his former home, he tries to insist on affection only on his terms. He tries to rub up against my computer, which drives me crazy. And then gets in my lap, but if I move him the slightest for my comfort He freaks out. If I am in my room and he wants me, he yells in kitty talk till I come out. He gets upset when I make coffee or do anything when he wants my attention. But the minute I stop to pick him up, if I don’t hold him the exact way he wants, he jumps down from my arms, only to be right back at my feet begging to be petted. This cat wants all of my affection but only on his terms. And I think many of us, I know I do, do the same thing to God. And God in His patience lets us in a way demand the terms of our relationship with Him for a while. For me that looked like spending a couple decades thinking I had Him figured out and confusing my desire to control His moving in my life with faith. I thought I could “faith” Him into doing things the way I wanted. But last year when the bottom fell out and He brought me face to face with the pride that still resided in me, I realized that I needed to change the way I saw faith. I owed up to my failures and sin and am learning how to hold the promises of God with open hands so He can move as He sees fit without my heart growing bitter. And God in His goodness, after He and I had this beautiful conversation again this morning. After once again I chose to be vulnerable and trusting in my dreams and what I feel He’s called me to. After all that I sit with my Bible and open it to where the bookmark was left yesterday to find John 16:23-24 “…This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!” Man, God is good. I don’t have it all figured out of course. In fact the close I get to Him the more I see His mystery. For me I’m learning to just enjoy the adventure of it all like a little kid enjoys their dad throwing them in the air. As I type this out I’m reminded of this video which so often has spoken to my heart. Today I am praying for all of us and we learn what it means to fully trust God with the dreams and promises He’s placed in our heart.