One of the things I (Josh) often strive for is honesty in every part of my life. Yet, the irony is I am often dishonest with myself about the reality of pain, hurt, and uncertainty that exists in my life. But praise the Lord in His infinite wisdom He places us in the midst of a moments where the immediacy, reality, and weight hit us all at once and our only response is to allow the Spirit to reveal, move, convict, and work.
Let me set the stage for you:
TAMI: Guess what there was another referral today!
JOSH: Wahoooo (somewhat sarcastically but certainly a less than enthusiastic response)
TAMI: Aren’t you so excited?
To be completely honest, I wish I could tell you that my answer was a resounding, “YES!” or even a “YES!” that said, “it’s difficult but I know God’s timing is perfect.” The reality is I wasn’t excited. I was ticked! In that particular moment I was tired, frustrated, and discouraged. I wanted the waiting to be over, I wanted the joy of knowing who my son was, I wanted my family to be able to begin to move forward into the next stage of our life. But I didn’t get any of that. So as the conversation with Tami drew to an end she left me with this parting thought, “I know it’s tough but God’s timing is perfect and he knows who our son is.”
Again, I wish I could say based on that truth, I immediately repented of my sinful attitude and worshiped God for his mighty works, but the reality is I was left with this sinking question, “Is His timing perfect, does He really know who our son is?”
BOOM! There was my moment!
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind and God began reminding me of his faithfulness, goodness, and kindness. My heart was pierced and I felt nearly crushed by the weight of my thoughts. And while I wrestled with many things in that car the one there was one that so perfectly encapsulates my earlier thoughts and it is this:
I am quick to praise God for his goodness, kindness, and mercy when things are going well for me or I get what I want, but when things do not go according to my plan or when I do not understand what is going on around me, is His goodness, kindness,and mercy any less real?
And what I have come to realize is that to “know” the answer to this question is different than “knowing” it in the midst tough, difficult, and even dark times. And despite my best efforts to try to believe or to even mimic the psalms and just, "be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)." I am wholly incapable of doing on my own. All I can do is throw up my hands and declare, “help me in my unbelief.”
For those of you who have known me for some time you know that music, is something I use to communicate thoughts. Recently, I came across this song called "Give me Faith," by Elevation Worship and it is basically the prayer God has been teaching me over these past few weeks. If you have the time please take a listen (I have also included the lyrics below):
Verse 1: I need you to soften my heart to break me apart I need you to open my eyes to see you're shaping my life
Pre-Chorus: All I am I surrender
Chorus: Give me faith to trust what you say that you're good and your love is great I'm broken inside, I give you my life
Verse 2: I need you to soften my heart to break me apart I need you to pierce through the dark and cleanse every part of me.
Bridge: I may be weak but Your Spirit's strong in me My flesh may fail My God you never will
So while I certainly have a long way to go, I am beginning to realize more each day the reality, power and promise of 2 Timothy 1:7-10:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord...but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages bean, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel...