Running on God
This past month has been a whirlwind. My husband did graduate from his training pipeline and left home almost immediately after. Our family will most likely be moving across the country next month, but we don't know where, exactly, or when, precisely. If that sounds crazy to you, I would have to agree. By nature, I am a planner: a to-do-list-maker, t-crosser and i-dotter. I assess, analyze, research, organize, and GET. STUFF. DONE. Sitting here waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting to know any actionable bit of information is, how shall I put it? not my favorite.
I look about me, however, and find that, while I may be frustrated at times, I'm not panicking. I'm honestly a bit shocked. The Lord has made it crystal clear that I am not to resort to my normal M.O. in this situation, that I am to trust Him to go before us and make a way. I'm not to spend hour upon hour scouring the internet for schools, homes, moving companies, and totally freaking out in the process. I'm to do this all with Him, one step at a time, leaning not on my own understanding but submitting all my ways to Him, trusting in Him with all my heart. And, apparently, He's giving me the grace, and the peace, and the faith required to do so. Praise Him!
"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you" (Jeremiah 32:17).
It's a little ridiculous to apply such a grand declaration of scripture to my present situation, but I'm going to anyway, because it's a good reminder that, in the scheme of things, what I'm entrusting to my Holy Father is a trifling thing. Truly, it's nothing to a God who spoke the universe into creation and by whom all things are held together.
HOWEVER (and this is a big "however"), with our beginning this new phase of our lives and my husband away, there have been many additional opportunities to fear or worry outside of our impending move. And the enemy has been prowling and exploiting these challenges with tremendous adroitness and resolve. It's humbling and irritating how we can be filled with belief and walk victoriously in some areas of our lives but simultaneously struggle in others. Nonetheless, I can see that the Lord is doing something truly awesome here. The spiritual assault has often times been unrelenting, but He is teaching me to fight, to recognize and reject those lies with which the enemy temps us to believe him over Our Heavenly Father, to be prepared for and engage in the spiritual warfare Paul warns us will be a reality for every Christian, to resist the enemy and to stand firm in Jesus' righteousness and who I am as a dearly loved child of God.
There is a Martin Luther quote that I love and have found particularly useful during this time:
When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: "I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also."
Let me just say that this whole thing (for lack of a better word) has been less than awesome. It's been exceedingly trying, but the Lord is comforting and ministering to me with His Word, His church, and His Spirit. He's been graciously, ever-so-patiently, showing me how to rest in Him more and to live more fully out of who I am in Christ, to rely on Him more and less on myself, to actually apply His truth.
As this process progresses, I find that it is not His blessed comfort or peace that are actually the great rewards of drawing near, of making Him my refuge. Jesus is not only the means to the end of "getting heaven" and eternal life (Michael Reeves, the brilliant theologian, illuminates this foundational truth in his book Delighting in the Trinity). Yes, these are all benefits of knowing the Living God, but it is the Lord Himself who is the treasure to be most highly prized. Knowing and rightly loving Him who has existed from eternity as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- there is nothing like it. Rejoicing in Him, delighting in Him; there isn't anything better or more valuable. We are made for it. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, we are made to run on God as cars are made to run on gas. So I suppose I have to endure the means the Lord chooses to bring about this relationship, this deep intimacy and dependency, this transformation and surrender that allow me to live for Christ and not for myself, for His glory and not for my own, for His purposes and not for my own personal ambitions, that move me closer to loving Him with all my heart and mind and soul and strength.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:7-14)