I'm sure most of us have heard it at one point or another. You're talking to someone who loves you dearly and is trying to comfort you after a plan or dream has fallen through. You are disappointed, and they say, "God has something so much better in store for you!" They are right, but somehow it's not comforting. You might have wanted to say, "I don't CARE! I don't want a better plan, I want this one!" Sometimes God's sovereignty can feel like a cruel joke. Certainly it's more comforting to know that an awful struggle is a gift from a loving God, rather than an uncontrolled catastrophe with the power to destroy us, but still I find myself looking in confusion to my Father and in my hurt crying out, "Really? Why this?" In times like this it can be easy to become angry with God for not letting us have it our way.
A few evenings ago I was with two friends and the conversation turned to the past year, of the things that have happened that would have surprised us had we known at the opening of 2014 what the Lord would do. For each one of us the opening of 2015 had found us in a place where life feels as if it's spun out of control, and the year is full of uncertainty and difficulty yet to come. Anyway I mentioned that I wanted to choose a word for 2015 but all that I see right now is Uncertainty. One of my friends, with a wisdom that blesses me daily, said, "Maybe it should be Manna."
Sometimes it is SO good to be stopped in your tracks.
See, God's sovereignty is no comfort if I think the goal is for me to have answers or to have my life figured out. But it isn't. Manna was about dependence and God was always enough for His people. I look at 2014 and I know He has not changed a bit. So in the midst of two January intensives and two jobs and a guy going back and forth on me whether or not he'll sell me his piano and my car in the shop more often than it's home this week but we still don't know why it randomly doesn't start, and keeping my phone with me at all times because my sister's two days overdue and I am so sad to be so far away from her right now,
I have enough for each day.
God is enough for each day.
I guess I'm just being reminded that He is the point. He doesn't inundate Scripture with reminders that we don't need to fear because we are strong enough, smart enough, or beautiful enough. He says, "Fear not, for I am with you." (Isaiah 41:10) Last night while babysitting, I had a few pertinent conversations with an adorable four-year-old who was having a grand time thinking of reasons to come out of bed (There's too much mess in the bedroom, it's too dark in the bedroom, I was wondering if we should light a fire in the fireplace, etc.) At one point I went into the kitchen and when I came back into the livingroom to sit down with my homework there was a small foot poking out from under the coffee-table. After he found a shriveled up potato (I think) under the couch we had a little discussion about what Mommy and Daddy had said about listening, during which I reminded him that even if I couldn't see him under the table, God knew where he was. When we talked about how God was watching over him to keep him safe even if the bedroom was scary, he said, "There's just something I don't get. How can Jesus be with me in my heart and in [his brother]'s heart and in [other brother]'s heart AND in your heart all at the same time? How does He DO that?" I told him Jesus could do it because He is also God, and he responded, "But why would He do that?" As I replied, "Because He loves us!" I knew I needed this reminder more than the four-year-old needed to hear it. God is with me because He loves me.
This song just popped up on my YouTube feed today and somehow it was just the missing puzzle piece to tie in all the thinking I did last month about what incarnation means and how each of us as image-bearers also live out the character of God in a million little ways. Do press play:
So as I enter into 2015 I am reminded that manna is given one day at a time so I will look to the Giver. That is why He doesn't show me what is coming, all the ways He will provide for me and give me enough for every car breakdown and late-night paper and friend in trouble. He just promises that He will always be enough, not because it's an impersonal trust exam but because He wants me to turn to Him. He will always continue to show up in people and resources and even sometimes in lack of them. He wants me to know that I am not alone, not merely on paper but because I have lived it.