Without Words

img_0369I long for the words to write. I write in order to understand. I write to attempt to makes since of the uncertainties. I write to share the hope I know, and the truth I find. Once I’ve put it into words, I gain clarity and certainty.

I hate the chaos of unwritten words. Those words left to bounce around in the head, just trying to decipher where to go, what order they belong, and mostly, what they mean. A million started sentences in mind, but they can’t seem to be finished.

I’m reminded of my God. A God who is bigger than my lack of words, my lack of certainty, my lack of concrete understanding. He knows all, He sees all. He knows the order and the meaning of all the unwritten words. Yet, for now, they seem to remain inside my own mind.The Lord teaches me the power of the unwritten word, the words I’m still figuring out. The Lord teaches me in the silence that there is a time to speak, a time to listen, and a time to be quite. There is value in tuning out even your own voice to clarify His above all. He reminds me the importance of relying on His Spirit, and pouring the entirety of my unfinished sentences into His hand, and letting Him finish them for me.

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Orpah Left, And That’s Ok.

20150714_194027“Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, and said goodbye.” Ruth 1:14

When we read the story of Ruth, Orpah, and Naomi we normally tend to focus in on Ruth’s decision to stay with Naomi and return to Moab with her. We glorify her decision, and teach this lesson as an example of sticking it out with people for better or for worse. And don’t get me wrong, Ruth was surely following God’s will by staying with Naomi. Through this, God used her to bring about His son into the world. But what about Orpah. Orpah also set out on this journey to Moab, but Orpah turned around, and went home before reaching Moab. What does this mean? Was Orpah wrong to go back? Did God maybe want her to go with Naomi too? Did He have great plans for her in Moab? I don’t know, but I do know that her leaving did nothing to harm the plan God had for Ruth and Naomi’s lives.

And because of this, I know that the people who leave me on the way, and the people who leave you on the way, or not going to take anything away from the great plan God has for us. They are not going to leave us lacking anything essential for our journey. Because the Lord is a provider.

But it still hurts when people leave. Especially when they leave with no warning or explanation. We find ourselves standing there, alone, right where they used to be standing. Standing there in that place of solitude, the questions are unavoidable. We question if we did something wrong, or maybe could have done something better. We wonder if they regret leaving, if they ever will come back, or if somehow they have already forgotten that they were suppose to be here still. Sometimes the questions take on the face of bitterness. We ask ourselves how anyone could treat us that way, how they could leave in such an abrupt manner without any form of reasoning. We are hurt. We are betrayed. We are confused. Not only do we have to answer these questions ourselves, but we have to face the same questions from those around us; they’re wondering the same things we are, and somehow expect us to have the answers. But we don’t. Because all we know is that they left.

But that’s ok.

It’s ok that they left, and it is even ok that we don’t have the answers as to why. God is not taken off guard by the unreliability of those around us. He is not baffled at inconsistencies. And He is not shaken by abandonment like we are.He is all-knowing, all understanding. He is a firm, constant, and reliable source. He sends what we need, when we need it, and for how long we need it. We may be thrown off balance when people leave us, but God isn’t, and He is standing right beside us, right in the same place we were betrayed. He nudges us onward. He reminds us that it is in Him we find our source of strength, our hope, our joy, and our identify. Not only is He not leaving our side, but just as He let Naomi keep Ruth for her journey back home, He will give us the people we need in our lives too.

I know it hurts when people leave, but it hurts even more trying to hold on to what is already gone. Release those who have left you. Release them, and don’t cultivate hatred to them. God is bigger than what they have done to you. Their mistake does’t have to result in your bitterness.

Reevaluating Your Promise

“These were all commended for their faith. Yet, none of them received what had been promised. Since God had planned something better for us that only together with us they made the promise perfect.” ~Hebrews 11:39

A profound question was asked to my on-campus Bible study this week. The question was, “If you knew you would not live to see the promises God gave you, would it effect the way you view and serve God?” Maybe it’s just me, but this question sunk in hard. And to be honest, in my meditating on it, I haven’t even got to the place where I have answered the question. I am still stuck on what it means to not see the promise.

From my perspective, if I feel God has promised me something, but I don’t live to see it being fulfilled, was the promise really for me? After questioning this, and doing some studying, I realized something. I realized this is a very limited perspective. Maybe the promise was given to me, but it isn’t only for me. Maybe in my self-centered, single-tracked mind, I misinterpreted the promise? Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t all about me. (Please catch my sarcasm here.)

At the mention of this question, I was immediately reminded of this verse in Hebrews. It says, “All these were commended for their faith, yet not one of them lived to see the promise.” My first thought when I read this was to find out what they had not received. I re-read the full chapter and it seemed to me they had received their promises. Sarah had a son in her old age, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and the walls of Jericho fell. As I dug a little deeper,(there is always more to a verse than you think), I realized the promise being referred to is the promise of the coming of Jesus. None of the mentioned followers of God lived to see Jesus come as the Savior. Though some of their other prayers were answered (many of which played into the coming of Jesus), they didn’t live to see the completion of the promises of His coming.

So, this question again, if I knew I wouldn’t see the promise fulfilled, would it change how I view and serve God?  Trying to take this verse in context of my own life, my own promises, I am realizing I may need to redefine my promise. While it is true that I may not have misinterpreted the promise, I feel it is important to evaluate the possibility.

This is where I am. Taking the content of my promise and placing it in a larger context. One bigger than me. One that can impact a much broader range of people. After all, that sounds more like God’s character to me than a promise that only meets my needs. Fact is, my needs will be met by God regardless of His plan through the promise.

Considering all of this, I ask myself, as well as you, would knowing you would’t see the end result of the promise change the way you view God?