Accelerations, not Setbacks

IMG_8795+++.JPGI trimmed my hair this week. It had gotten so long since its last trim that the ends had become horridly thin and rat-tailed and weird looking. I knew I needed to lose those few inches so my hair could be healthy again, even though it felt strangely short and blunt afterwards. And it made me think about how life can feel that way.

Sometimes we hang onto something too long, irrationally resisting change or challenge to our cherished dreams and plans. We don’t notice what others do…that those things are becoming outdated obsessions, that the world has moved on without us, that God is leading us in another direction while we obliviously keep treading water. Maybe it’s a relationship we still hope will happen even though our friends and authorities try to tell us it’s not God’s will. Perhaps it’s a career that we have always planned to pursue instead of asking God what He wants. Or a habit we rationalize and make excuses for when the Lord urges us to leave it behind.

Abraham went through a similar situation. In Genesis 21, his family was embroiled in a battle of conflicting interests between his wife Sarah’s son Isaac and his servant Hagar’s son Ishmael. Sarah had persuaded Abraham to marry her servant Hagar so they could have a son to carry on the family name and inherit the promises, even though God had already promised them a son of their own. Through their lack of trust in God’s will, they ended up with a half-son Ishmael, and later their biological son, Isaac, leaving them in a mess when selecting an heir. Sarah demanded that Ishmael and his mother be sent away so Isaac would be able to grow up as the only son of Abraham, as God had intended. Although this decision saddened Abraham, the Lord agreed with Sarah’s edict and reminded him that the promise was to the true heir, Isaac. Ishmael was not forsaken by God—he grew up to be a great man in his own right—but he was not the child of promise. And the time had come to give him up.

God has a perfect will for every one of us. Whether we discover and follow that will or not depends on how much we trust Him and obey His every word. Do we tell God what we want and then go after it, or do we wait on the Lord’s voice and timing to reveal the next step He has ordered for us?

Some may call this ridiculously pragmatic, but the way I see life is this: if it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t God’s will. I don’t mean for things that I should have done, like winning souls or studying for a test or such. I mean things that I had no control over. If a guy I am interested in falls for my best friend, then I reckon he isn’t God’s will for me. If I audition for my college tour group and am not chosen, that means it wasn’t God’s will for me. If a handful of friends go somewhere fun and don’t invite me, the most reasonable emotional approach would be to assume I didn’t need to be there and the Lord had something else for me to do that day.

It’s so easy to fall into a spirit of bitterness or self-pity or envy over things we can’t control. And though choosing to maintain an attitude of surrender to what the Lord gives or does not give isn’t exactly easy, it is simple. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” We can trust the One who made us to know what He is doing!

When we experience disappointments, why don’t we try to see them not as setbacks but as accelerations over obstacles that might have stood in the way of God’s perfect will. Trimming my hair seems to be a setback–why would I cut something that I want to be long? But trimming off the old ends makes room for thicker, stronger hair. And letting God trim our lives of unwise attachments or imperfect dreams makes room for the fulfilment of a master plan much bigger and better than ours could ever be!

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” 

–Libby

Alchemist

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Master Alchemist, transform
All within me to Thy will—
To my wayward spirit’s storm
Utter now Thy ‘Peace, be still.’

O, too often have I heard
Men of God, with passioned plea,
Show me truth writ in Thy Word,
Beg me to obedient be.

But, though tears repentant came,
And intentions rose with hope–
Swamped in sin, I stayed the same,
Captive to my error’s scope.

With the violence of my tears,
Master, melt this veil that blinds.
From this forest of my fears,
Lead me till true faith I find.

Change me from the inside out,
Change me till Thy will is all,
Till my love for Thee can shout,
‘Call me onward, only call!’

–Libby 

You Choose Me

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I am foolish, I am weak,
In my need Your strength I seek.
Nothing can my wisdom teach—
No height can my strivings reach.

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And yet You choose me, Lord, to bear Your name, 
You choose me, Lord, to walk by faith,
In victory You crown my days, 
You choose me, Lord, to give You praise. 

Why You’d save me, I can’t see;
Your great love’s a mystery.
Death forever is my due—
Yet I’m given life with You!

—Libby

Like a Little Child

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Psalm 86:4 “Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” 

This gives me a picture of a little child reaching up to someone she trusts, either with some grievance to make better or some joy to share. We aren’t usually as smart as that child— Continue reading “Like a Little Child”

He Loves Me Like That

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Because thou hast the power and own’st the grace 
To look through and behind this mask of me 
(Against which years have beat thus blanchingly 
With their rains), and behold my soul’s true face, 
The dim and weary witness of life’s race,—
Because thou hast the faith and love to see, 
Through that same soul’s distracting lethargy, 
The patient angel waiting for a place 
In the new Heavens,–because nor sin nor woe, 
Nor God’s infliction, nor death’s neighbourhood, 
Nor all which others viewing, turn to go, 
Nor all which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,–
Nothing repels thee,…Dearest, teach me so 
To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good! Continue reading “He Loves Me Like That”

A Lesson in Grace

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Galatians 6:1-3 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Continue reading “A Lesson in Grace”