Sunday, September 21, 2008

God's Gal

Some people have easy, fairly uncomplicated lives. Oh, they have a big problem now and then--the death of a loved one, they or someone they know have a bout of cancer or some other painful or difficult disease--but they recover from their one big thing and go on.

The thing about being "God's guy" is that he choses the path we walk. His guys in the Old Testament were to go through imprisonment, or told to marry a prostitute, sold into slavery, running from cave to cave while the king chased him, or had the queen out for his head. Moses was chosen and then got to walk back across the desert to Egypt and face down the angry Pharoah. God's guy. God's guy finally led his people out of Egypt in triumph, only to meet their bitter wailing again and again. During his 40 years of faithful service he disobeyed one time in anger, striking a rock instead of speaking the command and was barred from entering the promised land. God's guy.

What happens to us when we say "yes" to God? What are we signing up for? I struggle when the path he puts before me seems strewn with landmines. I lose sight sometimes of the ways he holds me close and says he loves me in the midst of the raging storms that surround me so often. I find myself asking "Why?" far too often. I know the answer is often a reminder that he does not have to check his decisions with me, and that what seems overwhelming are often temporary storms that will be over tomorrow or next week, next month, next year.

The only thing that seems worse than walking this path sometimes, is the idea that I not walk this path. Another path would mean to walk alone, and I don't think I have the strength to walk even an easy path alone. I don't have the wisdom to walk alone without totally screwing things up. I don't have the strength for even the most gentle stroll without his presence.

People hurt us, say mean things, we don't know the truth about what other people are doing, friends disappoint, family betray us, lie to us or about us, jobs are lost, finances strained, to say nothing of the foolish things we do to ourselves. In a life full of disappointments both large and small, how does anyone walk alone?

Once more, in the difficulties of this moment, I must chose to believe what God says about himself. He says he is faithful and utterly dependable. He says he will never leave us. When I look around and wonder where has he gone, I can rest in the surety that he has promised this and that even though I can be faithless that he cannot betray his promises to me. (2 Tim 2:13). For him to do so would be to be other than he is. Isn't that comforting? I might betray him and be faithless, but he will remain faithful. It is a humbling and glorious thought.

So while I am asking, "why this?" or "why now?" or "are you kidding me?" He is saying, you may not completely trust me in this, but you can. Haven't I proven myself to you over and over?

So what does this mean when I consider being God's guy or God's gal? Whether he has chosen the path in front of me, or has chosen to make good out of it is not always clear to me. What is true is that he is faithful and even if he has chosen a path of struggle, near constant trials, I will choose to trust. Over and over and over again, I will choose. And when my moments of questioning, struggle and doubt are staring me in the face, when discouragement and depression grab hold of me, when I beg God to let me out of my present circumstances, even then I will chose trust. I will remember what God has done for all of his guys and gals, what he has done for me and I will take him at his word.

So, Lord, I trust you in the midst of this flood that seems to be rising around me, the circumstances that threaten to sweep me off my feet. When the rains are so strong that I feel I can't breathe through the water that runs in my mouth, up my nose and beats on my face so that I can't see, then I will trust you to rescue me and to carry me through the flood waters.

I don't understand what you are doing Lord. I don't understand and I am frightened at the things you allow me to go through. I am frightened that you seem to choose such neverending difficulties for me. I don't want my life to be a non-stop action scene from Indiana Jones. I don't want this. But you didn't want the cross. You asked for there to be another way. Oh, you understand this. You understand that I want this to be another way. You understand that I am afraid. But this means that I will choose what you chose, to do the will of the Father and I will trust that my pain and confusion is not forgotten by you. Forgive me for the times that my faith grows thin, when my trust hangs by a thread. Forgive me when I forget that you are faithful and true. Forgive me when I forget that you love me.

So today, I have decided once again that I am glad to be God's Gal, no matter what that looks like. I wish I could believe that I have decided this once and for all. My repetitive doubts, fears and longing for my life to be different will probably resurface, and I will probably ask again, why? But I am assured that when I am faithless he will be faithful because he cannot go against his very nature. I'm happy to be the Gal of a God like that.

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