Thursday, October 27, 2016

catastrophes of opportunity

Once again, my heart dropped.  Once again, the pit of my gut felt the hit, the ruin.  Here I was again at the intersection of yet another catastrophe... another curve ball.  I sat blankly, stunned, broken, wondering.  Then the flood of honest emotions filled my heart.  I began to question God...

"God, aren't you good?"

"God, don't you care?"

"God, are you even here?"

Immediately verses from Matthew 6 turned up in my memory banks, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."

"Wait!" I gasped, "Not those verses, Lord!  Not the verses about treasures on earth verses treasures in heaven!  Really, I'm in a pickle here!  We aren't talking about treasures.  We are talking about something completely out of my comfort zone and control!  What am I going to do?  Don't you care?  Aren't you listening?  Don't you want to be close to me and help me?"

The still small voice whispered more from Matthew 6, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

I rolled my eyes in disbelief to how way off God was concerning my problem, "Are you kidding me?  How great is that darkness?  Healthy eyes full of light?  What exactly is your point, Lord?  What am I missing except that I'm in the thrusts of turmoil?"

"If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Hmm.

Grrr.

Frustrated, I got my Bible and opened it up to Matthew 6, skipping directly to the verses I REALLY wanted to hear:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

"Yeah!  Each day sure is full of its own trouble, but yeah, okay... I won't worry, Lord.  I'm sure that's what you really wanted me to focus on right now from Matthew 6."

Needless to say, I worried.
I worried all night and into this morning.

When I woke up from a very short, very restless night's sleep, the bass of Genesis 1:1 was thumping loudly in my head.  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

"Sure, in the beginning, Lord.  Before all this chaos happened in my life.  Before my most recent troubles.  Before all historical events - and even before the fall of man took place.  Before time itself...  In the beginning, YOU were here and you made everything.  Got it!  Now, back to my problem... sheesh."

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

"Whoa-ho-ho there...  Without covetousness?  What am I coveting?  Really, Lord, we are not talking about the same thing here.  I'm freaking out about ME and You aren't hearing anything I'm saying!"

"I will never leave you, nor forsake you, Victoria."

"Yea, I know... you are here.  You've always been here.  You've been around since the beginning.  You are with me.  You won't forsake me.  Bla bla bla."

Wait...

Whoa... just give me a sec to think about that more...

(The angels smile in silence as I catch up with the rest of the class.)

Lightbulb moment...

"Yes, you are here with me, aren't you, Lord?"

"You've always been here with me!"

"And, you made all this."

"You oversee everything and promise the very best for me."

(The electricity flickers in my soul and a connection is finally established.)

"Lord, you are good, aren't you!!!?  You do care!  You are here... right now!  You totally love and get me!  But wait... what did you say to me last night?  What did I miss?"

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other..." 

Again, "If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Finally, I comprehended what my patient Master was teaching.  I was indeed worrying about ME... my life!!!  And, I was failing to trust God's sovereign, loving control.  I was looking at my would-be tomorrow of uncertainty, wondering if everything would work out in my favor.  All I could focus on was this: If the earth continued to rattle and shake, would I make it through safely and without harm?  But I already knew the answer to that question, didn't I?  And yet, just like the pagans, I continued to focus on my fear and, sadly, forgot my faith.   I wasn't seeking the Lord first.  Not really.  No, I was just dialoging with my "made-up" version of who I wanted God to be in order to comfort myself back into a self-induced coma of personal safety.  So, how healthy were my eyes?

Furthermore, how healthy am I spiritually if my focus is directed toward serving two masters?  Is it all about ME, or is it all about GOD?  No, my issue was I wanted it to be about both of us.  But it can't be both, can it?  The Lord says, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols." (Isaiah 42:8)

If my heart is not totally devoted and set on Him (and only Him), I am not fully seeking after His kingdom or His righteousness, am I?  In order for my faith to grow strong, I must love Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength... for He wants nothing less.  His light must be more important than my own comforts, my own expectations, my own god of self.  As such, I am thankful for this recent reminder: Our catastrophes are really opportunities intended to bring us intimately closer to the King.  How and, most importantly, WHO our eyes are looking to exposes either the depth of our human darkness or the brightness and evidence of the Savior living within us.  

Yes, I want the Savior.  Despite myself, I don't care about anything else.  He will care for me better than I will.  Thank goodness (His goodness) that He is with me... He will never leave me... He will never ever forsake me.  HE IS THE LORD!

Holy holy holy is THE LORD ALMIGHTY!  Who was, and is, and is to come! (Revelation 4:8)

In reading this, I hope you too will believe and be blessed, dear friends!  Seek God's grace and you will find Jesus!  He is our refuge, our strength.  So knock, and allow Him to open the door of your heart - exposing the depths and the greatest need for His healthy, holy Light.  

No matter what may come, freedom in Christ is all that really matters.  He is our comfort. HE IS GOOD!  HE IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY!

"Life isn't like a book.  Life isn't logical or sensible or orderly.  Life is a mess most of the time.  And theology must be lived out in the midst of that mess." (Charles Colson, Loving God)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. (Psalm 91:1-2)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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