Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Everyday Reality

{I was working on this post yesterday when the tornados came through.  My family was safe but separated so my writing time at Panera became radar watching, text and phone call time.  My reference to a “tornado” in the 2nd paragraph was written before any knowledge of our weather.  It wasn’t ready to post then and I feel it is hardly now as I continue to process everyone’s “everyday reality” this morning.}

Is it any wonder that I might read the wrong devotional early in the morning?  My bed is  still calling out LOUDLY when I am up in my little room trying to focus my almost-ready-for-the-little-nose-glasses-eyes on what I never noticed before is very small print.  So I read April 4th this morning, “The Way to Permanent Faith” from Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  And it was crammed packed.

Jesus refers to the disciples being scattered in John 16:32.  He was not rebuking them but stating a fact.  Their new “normal” or new reality would tear through like a tornado in just a little while.  The reality of everyday life was just around the bend and everyone’s reality would be very, very different.  Just like mine.... and yours....and the woman we saw staggering down Vickery this morning...... and the mom I read about just hours ago.  Vastly different. Foundations feeling tickles of tremors and some bearing the weight of a lifetime.

 “Our faith must be exercised in the realities of everyday life.”

In the trenches of my home on the cul de sac. Ha! Tickling tremors.  That’s my reality.  And gratefully, it’s really wonderful but throw a wrench into my “wonderful” and I can THINK my reality really stinks. I can exercise it pretty well on vacation when responsibilities are minimal, when my kids are obeying, and enjoying one another, when the laundry is put away, when we are out to dinner with friends, when everything is going my way, when I feel God’s tangible blessings on my life........... yep, I can be that shallow. Feeling and seeing His blessing on my life, I get an easy spring to my step.  Not getting~at all~ what He’s up to? Not so much.

 “God engineers our circumstances to take us there.”

“There” being where we don’t feel or see His blessing.  “There” being finding yourself in the middle of circumstances that you imagined you could never live through.  “There” being the “emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness.”  Everyday life can leave you feeling scattered in every way.  But “there" is where He wants us at times in order to develop “permanent faith” in you and in me.  I need to be reminded of where I’d be without Him, where I wind up when I don’t include Him, what I am capable of.. operating out of my rotting flesh that I still lug around, how He fills to overflowing the barrenness with the most beautiful gifts conceivable and lastly,

He is all I’ve really got and He is all I really need.

None of us want to go “there” to find out what that’s actually like, but when we remember His long, faithful history with us and choose to yield to Him, from that barrenness, from that confusion of “What are YOU up to?”, He can bring a permanent faith that will remain unshaken because it is rooted in the bedrock of His Goodness~ and yes, it deserves a capital G.

Knowing His Goodness in the midst of emptiness, “we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life.”

Yes, I know.  That’s much easier to type than to do.   But I know you’ve seen, just like I have, God inhabiting the praises of His people. {Psalm 22 KJV} We praise Him. He comes near.

Mr. Chambers focused on the disciples.  Being the week that leads to the event that transformed history and revealed what God’s big rescue plan looked like, I can’t help think of Mary, His mother.  When Gabriel visited her 33 years earlier, her faith seemed simple.  She said yes.  Then years passed and the stakes got higher and higher and higher.  Her faith was exercised like no mother’s before or since.  God took her “there” in every way imaginable.  She couldn’t see what He was doing.  She wasn’t sure how all of it would end.  You can bet she felt emptiness and barrenness all during His growing up and on into His ministry and in the end.  But she was there. Through the years, I believe her faith had been “at work in the important realities of [her] life,”  and that she had yielded to Him, though not without struggle.  I just believe that is the kind of woman God chose.  As she praised Him in the Magnificat in the earliest days of the Immaculate Conception, I choose to believe she praised Him to the end.............and on that glorious Sunday morning when He conquered emptiness, ruin and barrenness.  He came near and her faith had developed into the permanent kind.

I have a genuine faith, but is it “at work in the important realities of [my] life”?  Monday, my reality was getting our school day completed without getting frustrated with the kids.  Tuesday, my reality was being separated from Jeff and the kids while tornados were threatening all 3 areas in which we were, wondering if we would all be okay.  And by nightfall, my thoughts landed on the precious God-loving momma I read about whose everyday reality will never look the same again~ for the second time in her life....

Our foundations have never been more critical.

“Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life WITHOUT DAMAGING OUR VIEW OF GOD’S CHARACTER, we do not yet know Him.”
{My Utmost for His Highest, 7/29}

I don’t want to be tested in this, but if I am, by His grace, I want to land where my view of Him is not damaged and I am not “scattered" in the testing.  I choose for Him to be enough in my everyday reality.


Coffee Mom said...

Beautiful and challenging. Thank you for posting. Glad God had me stumble across your blog!

his said...

It this my wife writing all of deeply moving theological stuff?

Man, did I marry well or what????


Emily said...

:) Smiling at Jeff's comment. Also really loved and needed to hear this post today. I skimmed it the other day, but my heart wasn't ready until this morning to take it in. Thanks for posting and for the example that you are to my life.

TJ Wilson said...

"But “there" is where He wants us at times in order to develop “permanent faith” in you and in me."
In addition to the many others, your words (at least Oswalds') are your own teacher. May we have His presence in the "there."