Sunday, October 20, 2013

Making the Connection

There is something powerful about sharing God's word. Think I'm kidding? Go share the gospel. Hold out that glorious promise of Jesus to forgive sinners, offer hope to the hopeless, hand out Scriptural truth like it was candy at a Fourth of July parade. See what happens when you live like heaven is a reality and this life really is a mist. I guarantee you two things: God will uphold you as He refines you through His designated fire and Satan will use every wily trick to defeat you. The enemy knows our weaknesses better than we do. He'll attempt to fool us with the same schemes over and over again. And we'll fall for it nearly every time.

I should see the connection already, but things come slower these days. I have begun to realize that my impatient ways are not God's ways and I try to wait for His timing and leading to act. I'm not sure how to justify that I know when it is His timing, but it all works out to happen exactly when He wants for so many unknown reasons that we may never know.

And then, when the time comes to reach out with the truth, so do the attacks. The defeat. The mornings of crying over socks and preferring bauling in bed rather than rejoicing for a son in heaven. Just as I get to the verge of considering minutely that God could have done things differently (dare I whisper better?) the Holy Spirit reigns my thoughts back to the words of Scripture. Somehow I force my feet to the floor lest I wallow all day in my pity party. I cry before I get to the door. Cry as I walk past the boy's bedroom. Cry as I start the coffee pot, all the while sinking deeper into despair with every step. Such a low that hasn't been felt for quite a while. It slams me: hurt, hurt, hurt. I turn in to it rather than clinging to the words of truth. I start to believe it rather than believing the promises of a Sovereign God.

I read about Richard Baxter (author of The Saint's Everlasting Rest) the other day that he believed like a Calvinist but lived like an Armenian. Meaning, he lived believing that God was sovereign and all powerful, but lived like his salvation (and the salvation of those around him) depended solely on his efforts. One of my weak spots is doubt. What if God isn't real? What if Heaven isn't real? What if eternity isn't real?

But, as I consider my son and the truths of the Bible, I turn it around and ask: What if it is? What if God is sovereign but somehow my salvation and the salvation of those He brings into my life does depend on my efforts? What if that accounting of my life really happens? What if the ones who have been given more (more truth, more access to Scripture, more opening of the eyes, more awakening of the soul, more passion, more knowledge) will be held to a higher standard? What if my ignoring and my apathy really have serious consequences in somebody else's eternity?

What if...

So I bolster through the morning. I finally quit my griping. I finally bend my knees and my heart in prayer, focus my eyes on God's word, and commit my life for the thousandth time to His ways and His plans. Then I dig out a card and ask for words to write to a mother whose twelve year old son died in an accident one short month ago. I try not to let my own tears fall on the page as I force myself to realize why I have this ministry in the first place. Why I am privileged to know what she is going through. Why my heart breaks so deeply for a woman I've never met. Why it matters so much if she starts out the hard process of grieving her son with praising her Savior. I package up two books along with prayers and search for an address, reading the details of her son's death again through my internet search. How morbid it feels to look up children's obituaries and hunt down their living parent's addresses.

Then I click on my emails and find that somebody in Indonesia is requesting a book. Indonesia. I dig into the box for another and tell Trent, "We're going to Indonesia. God's taking you to Indonesia." My prayers for my son's life to be used in a mighty way are going to Indonesia. Alexis gets worried over her mother talking to her dead brother, she may be the one who finally ends up committing me to that insane asylum. It's okay, Lex, I know he can't answer me.

But ... Indonesia.

Can you fathom the ways of God? Would you have ever thought we could bring the gospel to Indonesia? So I tuck in an extra couple of copies. As the dust of the rejoicing over God's work starts to settle another request for books pops up from a sweet Grandmother who wonders about printing her own story. The humbling begins and I catch a glimpse of eternity when the glory to come is going to be incomparable to these temporary trials. I begin to realize that God does know what He's doing and His plans are more glorious than I could ever imagine and that I really don't want to face Him knowing that I fussed about every little thing that He did.

And then the light bulb goes off: this always happens when God uses the story of Trent's life for his glory. Defeat, whining, doubt then a tiny revealing of His work to encourage me of little faith. So I wrap up the books, say another prayer, and vow to myself that I'll see it coming a bit quicker next time rather than going through the same pathetic motions of fussing and doubting God's good plans.