I have been thinking… (rare I realize but it does happen on occasion) I have been thinking of God like he is a puppet, a friend that I can manipulate in order to serve my needs, he is my ‘Genie in a bottle’. He stays in his bottle until I need a wish granted and then I rub the bottle, out he pops and with folded arms he says ‘yes master?’ and I tell him my current wish, ‘make my son well’, or ‘give me strength’ or even just ‘I need a coffee, wanna get me one?’. I have been tried in his eyes and found guilty of worshipping a false god. God, the real one, not the one that I have created to suit my needs and desires, is a God who loves me yes, but he never promised a pain free life, he never told me that I wouldn’t suffer, in fact the opposite is true, he told that I need to take up my cross and follow him.
The god that I have been serving is only love, he leaves no room for the suffering of martyrs, he allows everyone to do as they will and then he gives them eternity despite it. The god that I have been worshipping owes me, he owes me for my faithfulness, he owes me for my loyalty and he owes me for the times he has let me down. The god I have been serving leaves no room for truth, only grace.
The true God, he has a purpose for my life, he has a purpose for Joshua’s life, Kaleb’s life and for Tim’s life and for now that purpose requires pain and suffering. Why? I don’t know. Is it fair? Yes, I think maybe it is, I think maybe I am blessed despite the hurt, blessed in my pain, blessed because of my pain. Is it easy? No, no it’s not easy at all and I would rather crawl under a rock and hide from it but do I know the whole story? No, I have no idea what God’s ultimate plan is. He has one, of that I have no doubt. Read of the suffering of Stephen the martyr, and how his suffering and death led to the gospel being carried out to the world. Stephen had a Mom you know, he had a Dad and probably he had brothers and sisters, friends and maybe even a woman out there who loved him and missed him after he was gone.
I am not his puppet master to tell him ‘make my son well’, instead my job is to follow. To pick up my cross and follow him (whatever the cost) and to know that in the midst of both joy and laughter, suffering and pain and any other thing he throws my way, that he will be right beside me, ready to help carry the burden if I only I turn to him and ask, if I only ask and then allow him to help.
Somehow during Joshua’s life I have forgotten who God is, I have lost the truth and I have been angry at him because he hasn’t answered my prayers the way that I think he should, or the way that I would have. There was a time not so very long ago (while I lived in Austria) that I told God I wanted to suffer for him, that if it would bring me closer to him, if it could build a stronger, more intimate relationship with him then ‘bring it on’. Those were my words, ‘bring it on’ and guess what?! He brought it and I ducked and ran instead of being honoured that he loves me enough to also want that kind of relationship with me.
I should be standing in awe and wonder that the God of the universe, who made the smallest little spider and the largest expanse of the universe cares enough about me that he takes the time to hear my prayers and answer them with…
‘I love you too and I know that this pain, this hurt will allow us a greater intimacy, I know that you hurt, I want to wipe your tears for you and hold you close, crawl up in my lap and rest here when you need to but daughter, you can’t see what plans I have, trust me and know always that I love you’.
(not scripture just what I imagine he would say to me)
The God I serve demands my all, he demands my heart, my mind and yes my very soul. I cannot place my son in front of him nor can I create a false god. I must be willing to give up EVERYTHING to serve him, because only then will I be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Now I need to trust God to give me the strength to love him enough to do just that. I now understand fully for the first time in my life why he said that it was harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I am a rich woman, there is a lot to be willing to give up.
‘He who loves his Mother or Father more than Me is not worthy of Me; He who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.”