I’d like to be able to report that thought the trials and tribulations that I’ve experienced in the past year…that my faith has never wavered, nary had a doubt crossed my mind…and my walk was rock solid. But if I said that…I’d be lying and my next sentence would be confessing my sins.
As it is…I must confess the sin of doubt and not fully trusting God. Make no mistake…I do believe in God…and in Jesus Christ his Son who gave his life on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins…and I know that the Holy Spirit dwells within me. I have absolute confidence that God is able to do anything. He is all powerful, omniscient and omnipresent…and he is able, more than able to accomplish what concerns me today.
Where my doubt creeps in…is when I doubt that God cares for me personally and or that he will do that which he has promised me. When this most recent trial started…God impressed upon me the scripture “Stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17.
So over these many months…I looked expectantly to God for his promised deliverance. I was ever so certain about what the outcome would be. However…even I had to admit my deliverance didn’t come quite as quickly as I had hope. I waited…and waited…and waited. At a certain point it became obvious even to me…one who is a bit slow on the uptake…that God wasn’t going to be answering my prayers in the manner I desired or in my time frame.
Did I handle all this upheaval with grace and peace? Always wearing a cheery smile and displaying a chipper attitude? Bearing good witness to unbelievers just how good, powerful and trustworthy my God is? Not exactly.
A roller coaster is an apt description. Up one day…and down the next. Sometimes those changes occurred within a matter of minutes. Overall…I’d say each week and month I found myself improving. Only to have a hick-up every now and again…or what I called “a down day.”
I found those “hick-ups” very frustrating. I hate making emotional progress…moving forward only to find myself falling backwards again. Assailed with more doubts…as hurt feeling arise to the surface once again.
In some respects I’ve felt like I was in a car accident and sustained injuries…cuts and bruises all over my body. Daily life keeps touching those injuries…not allowing them to fully heal. Like seeing co-workers with whom I had worked with for many years…and now I was not allowed to work with them any longer. People that didn’t know me considered me unworthy or deserving to be a part of that which I had loved…and that hurts.
The thing I couldn’t understand…and couldn’t let go of is the question “Why?” Why didn’t anyone fight for me? Why didn’t anymore speak up and say “Hey…she’s really good. She’s deserves a shot at this job…give her a chance.”
Every time I would make emotional progress…I’d come back to the question why? God has designed me in such a fashion…that I have to probe, prod and push. I speak the truth. I ask the tough questions…the ones that people don’t feel too comfortable asking…much less answering. When there is an elephant in the room…you can be sure I’ll be bringing it up.
Now it took me a while to work up the nerve. To directly ask the one person I needed to hear the answer from. I guessed I’d hoped against hope that one day there would be a conversation. Something to the effect of “Susan, I’m sorry but…”. But that day never came.
So on one of those “bad days”…I asked they question. “Why?” And I got my answer. While not what I liked…or necessarily the apology that I wanted to hear…I got the truth from the person I needed to hear it from. From the person…who rightly or wrongly I held responsible. I wasn’t mad…I just felt hurt and I didn’t understand why things happened the way they did.
So what was the answer? “Everyone was fighting for their own job. They communicated how good you were…but it didn’t work out.” That “everyone”…included the person I held responsible.
At the time I heard those words I felt a release. What I needed to know…what I needed to hear for so long now…I finally had an answer for. Thank you God! What I had felt over all these months was finally validated and not ignored.
Some of the other words that accompanied the above statements…I had a harder time absorbing. Or more accurately I had a hard time accepting them. My heart and head were not connected. While intellectually I was keenly aware that words were accurate…my bruised heart was not ready to accept the truth and let go just yet. I needed some time to digest the words.
That evening while driving home from Bible study I had what Beth Moore calls a “God Stop”. A time when you recognize God’s presence, his hand, work and purpose in your life. Sometimes the vision is clear…and sometimes it’s veiled. But it’s a recognizable God Stop. Normally it’s easier to see those God Stops after the fact…with the clarity of hindsight.
But this night…God’s message was clear to me. My working in loss prevention…how I got the job and how my career progressed revealed God’s hand and purpose in my life. It was where he had called me to be. He had made the way…and now he wants me in a different place for me. Where exactly I don’t know.
God tells us that he is a jealous God. That he does not want us to put anything before him. The job that I had loved so very much…I had allowed to become unbalanced in my life. I loved the work…I loved the people. But I worked too many hours and allowed it to dominate my life. So much so that I put it over even taking good care of myself physically or building relationships outside of work.
That in part is why God has moved me. That is why he has put up a wall and blocked my every attempt to get back in to loss prevention. There is no opening a door which God has closed.
I don’t know if it was studying the book of Ezra that night that made me my aware of God’s hand and purpose in my life. When I saw that long before Cyrus was born…God’s revealed through the works of his profit Isaiah that Cyrus would be born and be part of God’s plan to enable the Jews to rebuild the temple. God in his sovereignty placed Daniel who would share God’s word with King Cyrus. God brought Zerubbabel who would lead the Jews back to Jerusalem and complete the rebuilding of the temple. Though the 70 years of the Jews captivity in Babylon…God safeguarded the treasures plundered from the Jewish temple. And in God’s time table…his plan was fulfilled.
Here I sit…thousands of years later. Not a great profit or man of God with unwavering faith. Instead a humble servant of God whose faith is at times very weak. One who has a hard time trusting the holy, righteous, omniscient, omnipotent God who loves me. The servant who is blinded to God’s hand, plan and purpose for my life…when things don’t go as I’ve expected.
Then I look at the faithful witness of my beloved former Pastor, Chuck Obremski. I see a man willing to humble himself under the mighty plan of God. Willing to be used as an instrument in God’s plan…no matter what the personal sacrifice. Instead of asking God why as his body faded away…he asked God what. What are you going to do in these circumstances? What is your plan…what would you have me to do?
After witnessing God’s hand, purpose and plan being carried out in his willing and faithful servant…ought I not do the same? What made the difference in the servants of God? What made the difference in Daniel, Zerubbabel, or David or Paul? What turned Jesus band of disciples from men who were scared and scatter when he was crucified…into men who would willing and loudly go forth and proclaim the gospel message no matter what the price? Was it not the word of God? Was it not the Holy Spirit of God that rested upon them and dwelled within them?
That same word of God…the same Holy Spirit is available to this humble, frail servant of God. Now will I choose to trust God? Will I choose to believe him…and know that he has a purpose and plan that he is working out in my life…even when he chooses not to share the specifics with me?
I don’t know exactly what God will be doing in my life through these changes. Perhaps his plan includes changing my circumstances in order to answer other prayers that I have uttered. Like my life long prayer to be married? I won’t know the answer as long as I resist that which God is doing in my life?
So between God’s mercy demonstrated to me by allowing me to hear those words I needed hear…and that God Stop where God showed me that he has a purpose and plan that he is working out in the lives of his people…I think that maybe I’m starting to “get it”.
Like I said earlier…I just hate it when I make progress only later to find myself assailed by doubts, fear and not trusting God. So it is with fear and trembling that I say that I may have had a breakthrough in this new chapter of my life. I would do well to utter that prayer “Jesus…I believe…please help me with my unbelief.”