Monthly Archives: November 2014

Country Song and Theology: What Hurts The Most = God Plotting for My Joy

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“What hurts the most

Was being so close

And havin’ so much to say

And watchin’ you walk away

And never knowin’

What could’ve been

And not seein’ that lovin’ you

Is what I was trying to do” (Rascal Flatts)

I heard this song tonight and my mind went back 8 years to when this song was one of my favorites. I was a junior in college and had jus experienced what felt like a break up with one of my best friends.I listened to this song lots of time that fall and felt alone. This was my life going to the cafeteria, “It’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone” and not being able to hang out with my guys anymore for fear of hurting him. Yet, that semester, I began digging into Elisabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity and learning what it meant to lean into Jesus even harder.

November 15, 2006

Life’s good…school is going fine and so is work, but there’s an emptiness. Why? I don’t know other making me more like him. What happened to my plans? I’m happy but deep down inside something is missing.

But Elizabeth Elliot said in “Passion and Purity”, “There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul.It is easy to make a mistake here. “If God gave it to me,” we say “it’s mine. I can do what I want with it.” No. The truth is that is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go—if we want to find our true selves, if we want real Life, if our hearts are set on glory.” “Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure (the fullness of Christ), many letting-goes.”
Or David Crowder, “By letting go gain everything” why does it not feel that way?
Lord, grant me the vision of your plan and fill this hungry heart with all of you. Help me give up totally what I want to find what you want.

Now

I’m still learning to let go of my life, but as I look back, I can see that how I learned that my friend still cared about me and loved me as a friend despite my pushing him away and was listening to “What Hurts the Most” that entire fall as well. He showed me what a godly man looks like and I’m still incredibly thankful for the selfless friendship he gave.

I moved home that spring semester, which further distanced me from my best friends. I was misunderstood that spring and weeping alone in the prayer room at LU, but a stranger asked if I was ok. He didn’t know me but he was sensitive to God’s spirit and checked on me. Then, I was able to go to Brasil that summer on my first missions trip, which might not have happened had I focused on a relationship instead of seeking what God had for me. Yet now I’m starting to that while the country song expressed what I feel that Piper expressed what I needed to hear and still struggle to grasp:

“In all the setbacks of your life as a believer, God is plotting for your joy.” John Piper

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Double-Minded Belief or Trusting Belief?

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I was walking and praying this afternoon when it hit me. I’ve committed my way to God, but not trusted that he knows best and will fulfill his purpose for my life. I’ve made that tearful surrender time after time, but keep taking my life back off the altar of sacrifice to the Lord. The Lord brought these verses to mind:

Psalm 37

4 Take delight in the Lord,

    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;

    trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,

    your vindication like the noonday sun.

I’ve trusted that these verses mean my life will become amazing, exciting, and wonderful and turn out well if I commit it to God. While the fact is that committing one’s life to God means a life that has meaning, purpose, and eternal life in Christ, but it does not mean my plans will become God’s plans because I’ve committed them to Him.This leaves me disillusioned if I focused on my failed plans and leads me to ask,

Have I really committed and trusted that He knows what he is doing?

James 1 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

This passage is referring to asking God for wisdom specifically, but I wonder when I ask God if I really believe He can and will answer my cries? I’m so often double-minded, not truly believing or giving up and becoming double-minded when I have to wait for the answer. When I lean back on my own wisdom I’m unstable and make poor decisions. I end up trying to manipulate circumstances instead of waiting on God. Or I try to make sense of tragedies that I can’t make sense of, while He simply wants to draw me close and teach me to trust in his generous father heart. 

Then He brought to mind I this passage:

I Corinthians 2 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

What no eye has seen,

    what no ear has heard,

and what no human mind has conceived”[b]—

    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.”

What am I missing because of my lack of belief and trust? He is One who holds my life in His hands, who is preparing a home in heaven for me, who gave Christ to rescue me, and who has given his Holy Spirit to guide this restless, wandering heart. He is the source of all wisdom, the one worthy of all my trust, and the one who will never changes!

Like the father in Mark 9:24, I want to cry: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”