Wednesday, March 30, 2016

now what?

A piece of reassurance often given in a period of trouble, sadness, or confusion is the reminder that God knows the big picture.  He is aware of the ending, in fact he created it before the world began, so trust Him.  Muttered to ourselves, spoken lovingly from a trusted mentor, thrown in by that well-meaning acquaintance, or passed along from our very own lips to another, this is something we say and has been said to us as soon as we knew the word God and could recognize an event or feeling we didn't quite care for.

How comforting are the words, O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  you discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. (Psalm 139:1-3)  It's straight Truth.  One of the many that will float up as I sit and be still in a time of trial. but more than once-or a thousand times-did I still wonder, after that glorious reminder of my all knowing Creator, but now what, in light of that what do I next?

Even in the midst of pure thankfulness for an all knowing and loving Father there is a human desire to know what's next, the direction of the next step, the ability "to have a road map of exactly where we are going." Madeline L'engle in Circle of Quiet

My mother, sister and I were frequent puzzle put'er together'ers.  Spread out on a table would be a large pile of pieces and slowly over a few days as we gathered at the table on and off to relax in the art of puzzle piece placing the picture would become more clear and pieces would become easier to place as the pile grew smaller. Recently I found out a sweet friend is, in fact, a puzzle aficionado.  She shared with us through social media the way she solves a puzzle; the way she organizes, divides and brings back together the thousands of pieces it takes to create the image appearing on the cover of a box.  It was quite ingenious and made even the most intricate of pictures seem like a task that could very easily be conquered.

Somewhere between childhood and becoming an adult I began to think of  the 'big picture' God knew about me as one of those intricately huge puzzles with pieces spread all over and like a scavenger hunt of experiences I would have to keep an eye out for them, grab the ones I found and spread them on the table trying to piece them together to figure out what step was next in order to make that big picture a little bit clearer.  While learning from experiences and being open to God speaking to you through them and others who are experiencing them with you is a wonderful way to learn valuable wisdom and insight it's leaving out, as the Jesus Storybook Bible says, the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together.

With my heart very much in love with Jesus I had built together this Worldview based on my own thoughts about what I'd read, what I'd been taught, what I'd noticed others do or not do, what I deemed as good or bad based on the effects it brought not understanding that I was reinventing the wheel, making things much more difficult than they needed to be, blocking myself from the true meaning of the word that is now my greatest companion.  In the effort to put together the puzzle, to see the next part of the picture, there was a lack of abiding alone in the work of Jesus, of in ALL [my] ways acknowledging him so that he can make straight my paths.(paraphrase of Proverbs 3:6)  Have you ever recognized your own efforts steering you this way as well?

Three summers ago our church spent Sunday evenings listening to a video series called The Truth Project which are lessons that help define your worldview strictly based on the Truth of Scripture.  In the midst of giggling with Zach every time the speaker spoke the name of God in a very breathy and climactic pronunciation that came out like GAHD and being more than a little overwhelmed at scientific facts that might have gone more than a mile over my head, I learned a phrase, or a question more accurately, that forever answers that question of what now? what's next? in the light of all this what do I do?

If you really believe that what you believe is really real...  Much like Jesus speaking in the book of John, it is a tongue twister that requires only a moment of thought to understand and requires years to truly comprehend.  Or like my YoungLife directing friend would say, which research told me is actually a paraphrase from a Gregory the Great quote "it's shallow enough for a baby to wade but deep enough for an elephant to swim!"

If we really believe that what we believe is really real then 'what now' is abiding in Christ and knowing Him better  If we really believe that we believe is really real then 'what's next' is taking that knowledge and walking in it, making it a part of every thing we are and everything we do.  If we really believe that what we believe is really real then "what we do" is make ourselves less and make Him more, allowing the actions of our everyday, no matter the stage we are set upon, to glorify Him instead of ourselves.

My big picture is not a puzzle requiring my efforts to put it together, my big picture is a plan set in motion before the world began that becomes more clear as I follow the Holy Spirit down the path my Savior has laid before me.

It's not an easy road but it's a good one.  Pray for me, I'll be praying for you.

"And I believe what I believe

Is what makes me what I am 
I did not make it, no it is making me 
It is the very truth of God and not 
The invention of any man" 
Creed by Rich Mullins

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