Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Which I am Learning to Be Set Free

I went back to my hometown last week for a baby shower. I found myself driving down Manchester Road as glimpses of a life long past flashed before me. At some point, I had to pull over.

I sat there in front of Target towards the very edge of the parking lot where my mascara-drugged eyes wouldn't scare little children as my frustration pent up began to flood through my desperate pleas. God, why did that girl from France have to die before she heard the gospel and why did you have to send her to hell? Why does it feel like nobody cares? That nobody cares there are thousands of internationals among us desperate for any sort of Truth and they leave with ten extra pounds a few new phrases and assurance that we all love the same God and it ends happily ever after.

Why are my some of my friends, the ones that God has called me to, why aren't they getting it? Why are we all so messed up and WHERE ARE YOU? Why is sin so rampant around me and freedom such an abstract concept? Why do you allow a tsunami to kill thousands, many of who don't know you?

And as I drive down this road and remember the good ole days, how could it possibly be that at least two-thirds of those friends, the same ones that waned me from milk and food that lasts, how could they walk away? How could you let them? They loved you and I know it was genuine—but salvation lost is impossible so I don't understand? So few of us are even crawling to the finish line, and as I near graduation the world just looks a lot darker then it did fresh out of high school.

Oh sweet Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Anyone relate or am I crazy here? Do you ever question God or wrestle with the darkness?

Habakuk questioned God too—and even longed to see justice.
Oh Lord, how long will I cry to you for help?
Cry to you 'violence' and you will not save?
Justice never goes forth!

And the Lord replies,
Look among the nations and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told...

Then God raises up the most merciless nation to shame the next worst nation.

"How can we be happy in such a messed up world? All the while trying to please God and know Him?" the pastor asks this week and my heart quickens. Did he hear me yelling in the car outside of Target? No, of course not Courtney, you were in another city. You're losing it. As chill bumps wind themselves up my skin, I realized a simple solution—maybe God actually heard me that day and was about to talk to me so very audibly through this man behind the pulpit. Just maybe.

"We must realize He has a plan--and we must rejoice in that plan," He explains.

I've been in Job these days, but I didn't even see it until He said it to the congregation. There is no fault found in questioning God—but at the end of the day the answer doesn't really matter because He can use whatever He wants, however He wants, whenever He wants to do whatever He wants. In other words, He could lead my international friends to Christ through the death of Lucie or through our weekly bible study—it really doesn't matter how He does it, so that can't be our only desire in asking.

Your aim in asking God questions should be how you can praise Him in the midst of the trial or doubt because this is the only answer that will sustain you. {Pastor Mike, UBC}

And God continues..
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

So are you meaning to say that even if the world seems dark and it doesn't seem to be letting up even in the weeks that are passing, well you just want me to wait—not only wait, but praise you while I do?

As my eyes are opened to what is written, I see the way this vision turns the abstract longing into flesh it out day to day freedom. Let us remember that God sees the evil of the world and in fact is using these enemies and darkness to fulfill His plan, just as He did in Habakuk—and answers or not faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word.

I see darkness where I am and I lose hope. But when I see where I will be, I praise. So, let us learn to praise God in the darkness for the light that is coming as though we were already there. I think this is where the abstract freedom is chipped away so we can know the real stuff. It changes you, ya know?

As this battle continues to rage within me today, I am praising because the assurance of my hope is not in this messed up world, but rather in the one to come—freedom, no matter the circumstance.

Oh friends, the Lord is in His holy temple.

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