My friend writes to me about her new job and her message is full of happy faces and words like "superb...hilarious...incredible...ridiculous...happy!" I feel full of laughter that's half choked with tears as I read. Months ago she boldly turned down a job that didn't seem right, but then there were no other offers. We prayed. She did a mission trip. Waited. Prayed. Wondered. Did she make the right decision? Her bank account dwindled and she dared to give some more. Still no job. Then suddenly! The job is perfect--all she hoped for and more!
I think of her heavenly Father smiling on her all those months of waiting and wondering. I think of the angels cheering her on as she took courageous, faith-filled steps that seemed only wondering and trembling to her at the time. All the while her Papa knew that He had this wonderful surprise in store for her.
The second story is of praying parents watching their daughter stand at a crossroad in her faith walk, knowing they can only pray and love and wait. The daughter has taken small steps toward the light. The parents have lain awake, praying in the darkness. This week they met a total stranger who had encountered their daughter months ago...and has been praying for her ever since. The parents are filled with joy realizing that God is at work, has been at work all along, and they don't need to be afraid.
These stories encourage and excite me!
But what about...
My friend who has a lump in her breast.
A friend who believes God has abandoned him because the circumstances of his life are so difficult right now.
The baby girl I've been longing to see healed for two years but open-heart surgery is now imminent.
A woman is still barren...a marriage is still falling apart...
When my thoughts dwell on all these things something icy cold fills up the center of me. I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. These challenges are big. Real people are in pain. How can I rise up and face the day?
Unless I surrender my right to understand for now. Unless I believe that God is at work, even now, behind the scenes...that glory is yet to be revealed...that I'm someday going to use words like "superb...hilarious...incredible...ridiculous...happy" to describe the end of the story. Unless I believe His promise that He is willing and able to make something beautiful out of messes. Unless I choose to give thanks before I see the miracle. Unless I begin to worship the One who is my only Hope... Then a fire fills me and I overflow with laughter.
That is how we can rise up and face the day. Worship. Giving thanks in all things. Remembering what He has already done...which gives rise to more worship. Then we are filled with hope and laughter...and it's contagious! It's a hope and a confidence that you can bank on.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath
...joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Psalm 146:1-2, 5