Thursday, September 5, 2013

Additional Answers…

The following quote is from my friend Trish Ryan’s blog (check out her books as well!):

“God grows new things in soil I was sure was dead. The muddy, torn up ground of my life gets a new foundation, and then new walls and a roof and even some tiny starter shrubs in a garden. And it’s not that I don’t miss the old or wish some things had gone very, very differently. It’s that life is bigger than we think it is.”

I just love this quote, don’t you?  Trish beautifully captures this notion I have been struggling with… wishing certain things had gone very differently (I think those things are the result of either this fallen world or due to our intentional transgressions) but also believing in a good God who is sovereign and has a plan for each one of our lives.  That’s where the “life is bigger than we think it is” comes in. 

This concept begins to take shape and to go beyond the clichés (such as, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”  Never liked that quote…) as we experience this new foundation God pours, as we see a new structure develop, as we witness fresh growth, yes “starter shrubs” even.  Signs of life.

I refuse to give God credit for the muck and tragedies, for our wayward ways, for the brokenness we’ve inherited from humanity choosing its own course.  Can God use the pain?  Certainly.  Does He necessarily cause it all?  I think not.  As I wrote after Warren died, which was shared at his funeral, we do not “make peace” with occurrences such as death (whether it is a death due to a medical error or simply death after a long, well-lived life)…. Why? Because death was never part of God’s original plan.  Rather, it was a break in His intended order.

Instead of despair, I find hope in refusing to make peace with sin, with both glaring and subtle breaks in God’s intended order.  When it comes to pain and grappling with loss, we don’t buck up and piously pretend we are happy with our lot.  But rather we give our pain to the Lord, accept His balm, and begin to realize life in Him is bigger than we thought.  And that is something we can begin to be happy about.  Somehow healing commences, and we are given new footing and the ability to move forward.

To me, this encapsulates the claim Scripture makes that Christ is making all things new.  If He is making things new, the implication is that something is broken and needs remaking…. needs fixing.  Isn’t life like that?  I know my life, my circumstances, my attitude, and my faith need the new, God-life breathed into them deeply and thoroughly.

I do not have all the answers nor will I on this side of heaven.  But I choose restoration over pretenses.  God’s plan of hope over blaming His sovereignty for the mess around us.     

Bring on the starter shrubs!

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