In his book, The Surprising Grace of Disappointment: Finding Hope When God Seems To Fail Us, John Koessler writes,
“The construction of the spiritual life requires as much tearing down as building up.”
I was beginning to see that, because one truth I was definitely starting to grasp… I needed to step back, and take a fresh look at many of the scriptures I loved.
When a scripture would come to mind that seemed to contradict my circumstances, I would think, “I don’t know what that means anymore…” My beliefs and my reality had a serious credibility gap.
Since I know that it is impossible for God to lie, then the only other possibility, was that my understanding of what I was reading was somehow faulty. If there is nothing false in God (and I staunchly believe there isn’t) then that meant my beliefs about what the Bible actually teaches, desperately needed an overhaul.
(It was a place to begin and just facing that truth took some of the pressure off.)
Okay, so if I am the problem, then I need to ask God to show me where the errors in my thinking are, right? Obviously, my circumstances were in direct contradiction to what I had believed God promised; especially about His care and protection. I had thought that what I HAD BELIEVED was the unmoving, unshakable Truth…
So, if it wasn’t, what was?
Can I interject something here?
There is a short prayer one of my Senior intercessors taught me while I was serving on a church staff. It can really help in times like these. She said, “If you’ve hit a wall with God, just pray: ‘God, show me my heart as You see it.’ and He will.”
Simple. Direct. It gets right down to business. I love that.
Not a very fancy prayer, but it was an honest start, and I had a small mustard seed of hope that God would hear my heart, and be faithful to eventually answer…
Eventually? I barely had time to say “…Amen.” before He gently began to reveal, the first of many errors in my understanding about who He was, and more importantly, about what His ultimate agenda was for me specifically, and His Kingdom as a whole.
Recent events had more than accomplished the “tearing down” of my erroneous beliefs. Now it was God’s turn, and so, He met me where I was, and patiently began the task of renewing my mind, rebuilding my faith, and reviving my broken heart… real Love does that.
IN… NOT FROM
You don’t think of yourself this way, do you? As Loved and protected? You believe that because I have allowed you to walk through so many disasters these past few years, that you are out in the storms of life, wind and rain whipping and tearing at you, and you are alone, yes?
It is true that I have allowed the enemy to “sift you.” What good are all the lessons you’ve been taught, if they don’t stand up against the assaults of the enemy? Would I build a rugged sailing ship and then keep her in the harbor? Would I never test her hull? Her rigging? Does that make sense to you?
(Of course it doesn’t.)
Listen My child. Plant this Truth deep in your heart. You are my sheltered olive tree… but you are sheltered in the storms of life~not from them. To understand this will eliminate a great deal of confusion from your mind, and it will give you a place to “set yourself” the next time a gale blows up.
How childish My church has become regarding the suffering of this world! This is a real war you’re in and real suffering goes with it—but I have not abandoned you. Quite the contrary! Not once have I left your side.
(Though there were times I stayed silent.)
Your storms will make you SweetHeart… and through each one, I’ll be right here.
I will shelter and protect, “in and through” and you shall come out…
“But I am like a sheltered olive tree protected by the Lord himself…” Psalm 52:8