Embracing what we do not like, because we know God has allowed it for our good, our refining, and our growth isn’t as tidy as it sounds.
It involves late nights of staring at the blackened ceiling, of deliberately not picking up that welcoming and distracting gadget that beckons from bedside, of trying to form prayers that can barely be spoken as they poke up from our hidden recesses of thought.
It includes realizing that I’ve been avoiding the Maker, doing a lot of talking about Him, rather than talking to Him, because at my core I’m ticked. How could He allow this to happen to me? To me!
Wrestling with God in the night reveals grim truths, truths I hadn’t been aware of previously. He is subtle, a very skilled Lover.
He gently draws my attention when I drift away.
A beautifully rendered photo here. A powerful verse there. The kind acts of a husband. The repeated awakenings in the wee hours. A sunrise. A sunset. A numb toe. And, there we are, circling one another like lovers in a spat.
“Every day I’ve said I love You, but I’m mad at You. How could You do this to me? Do You really love me?”
Ah. The kernel. There it is.
A doubt of God’s love, The Lie, the most effective lie, the one the accuser of our souls always uses, the human fallback.
This lie of the Garden says God cannot be trusted.
If it goes this way, it must be evidence of Your lack of love. Has to be. From my flawed and tiny vantage this doesn’t seem particularly loving to me. The fault is in YOU, and I am offended.
Discovering such a hidden attitude of heart is bracing, like a slap of freezing water to the face. The coldness of my heart is uncovered.
My mind is entirely human, and yet I am called to embrace a reformation of thinking, musing, pondering, and believing.
The Lover has my attention now. His gentleness calls His love to mind.
He has stood patiently like a husband at my shoulder, whispering this thought and that, bringing the lovely, the beautiful, and the affirming, waiting for me to turn toward him.
I turn. His eyes are kind.
His arms open wide. He draws me gently into His embrace.
Tenuously I settle my head onto His shoulder. An unfamiliar spot, I now recognize, for I have not nestled here for a while. My back has been His-ward. I encircle His waist. His arms wrap me more snugly.
We stand in silence.
I am surrendering, and He is giving me the space to do it. The yielding has been long coming. I had hidden the kernel from myself. The fact that I wasn’t speaking to Him was unrecognized. He knows this.
“Why?” I ask.
All of His gentle promises flood my mind. I know He has in His grasp a reality that I can only glimpse through a mirror dimly. He knows why He chooses now to rob me of strength, to deform my body, and to beset me with pain and difficulty.
I do not know. I cannot on this side of the divide.
But, I know He is a faithful Husband, a kind God, a loving Father.
And I know He always does all things well. He only acts out of love. He never chooses anything, but what is best for me and most glorifying for all eternity.
I know this.
I snuggle in, warm against His chest.
I will choose
to remain in this embrace,
to refrain from turning away,
to fix my eyes on what He is doing, rather than ignoring the carnage.
To study it.
To accept it.
To embrace it as beautiful, because it makes me more ready for heaven.
This is what is best for me. He knows.
And I love Him.