I’m sure I’ve seen more than once that scene in a movie where two or more friends are hunkered down, breathing hard in a clearly intense and precarious situation and one asks, “Ok, now what is the second step?” and another answers, “I never thought we’d actually get through the first step so I never made a second step!” That is a good description of my mental state right now. We had these HUGE events on our horizon for so long and now we’re on the other side of them, which is great, but here I am not exactly sure where that leaves me. And, needing to know “step 2” but not having a step 2 makes my heart race and moves the anxious meter up into the red zone these days. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:23-26 I am that rich man who just cannot fathom God’s ability to do what I continually assume is mine to handle. It is what Scotty Smith in Nashville has labeled “Gospel amnesia”. My racing heart is a light on the dashboard indicating something isn’t working. For me, the fact that I cant’ “figure it out” or “make it work” has me stressed, condemned, fearful, sad and still searching for magical answers to bring peace and solve the riddles all as one who is limited to my own resources and abilities. I have absolutely forgotten that there is no area of life outside of the scope of God’s initiation, involvement and intervention. Instead, I think I got myself here and I need to get myself out.
“I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’” Is. 51:12-16
I am not a homeschooler. School was my favorite place for all of elementary school but really the center of my life for all the years I was a student and then after that when I was a teacher. School is where people are funny and teachers are creative and memories are made. Now, my children are home and I feel like I’m ruining their lives because I’m not all that funny and seem to have lost the limited creativity I ever possessed and oh yeah, the three R’s seem to be lost. I can’t do this, never really believed in it to begin with and yet, I might whisper to you in a moment of vulnerability, there is something in me that really romanticized the idea of being that magical mom for my kids. I wanted to spark their imaginations and remove all the stress from academics. I wanted to enjoy the freedoms of life outside the confines of the frantic and limited school day. How did I get here?
That is when the person and work of Jesus reminds me, “I brought you here. I put you here. I have you here. I even I am the Lord of everything, every moment, every aspect of creation and yes, even this, even here and even now.” He is the Lord of the hours I have, giving no more or less than He knows I actually need. He is the Lord of ideas and will make them flow when that is what His purposes require. He is the author of laughter and imagination. He is in control of all things…even the step 2 that I haven’t planned and looks like I’m trapped and about to be captured and destroyed by the “bad guys”. It may feel like I’m getting it all wrong, and I may be getting it all wrong…but He is not getting it all wrong.
I know that you can do all things; no purpose of your can be thwarted. Job 42:2
With Job, I must remember that this moment falls safely in His purposes even if I have no idea what that purpose it. And, no matter how disappointed I may feel about the seeming failure and limitations of my abilities and resources, His purposes will never fail. My limitations, my failures, my disappointments are actually safely and purposely part of His good redemptive plans…not just for me but also for my children and even His Kingdom, somehow.
So, for me, as I start another day that looks just like the ones that led me to this place of bewilderment and discouragement, step 2 is to trust Him with whatever transpires. Trust Him. “But my gun is out of bullets!” Trust Him. “But our captors are coming and are bigger and stronger!” Trust Him. “But everything seems to be going wrong!” Trust Him. “Who are you O Man”, God asks us through Job…”were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth or gave the sea its limits or…” Trust Him. He’s at work so I can rest.