Normally I process in my journal and then when all the pieces come together I write it. Feels more organized to me that way. But, I am thinking what God is shaping in me is going to take some time. I want to delight in the process, so I am going to write my messy brain, my confusion, the pieces that have not yet come together. So, as you read, just know this is going to be messy... might help to think of it as a puzzle.
Piece 1-60% of the Bible is written in story form. God delights in story. Why? I think because story invokes emotion. Story can interweave truth and emotion. Why does He think emotions are that important, since facts can be understood apart from emotion? I am thinking that it is worship. Not worship, singing. Worship-laying down your life as an offering. Emotion moves us to action- if we are gazing at, delighting in evil, we will be moved to act evil. Our actions come from within. When we delight in what is good, we are lead to act in line with it.
Piece 2-At the Passion conference Beth Moore said "If it was permitted, it has a place for equipping."
Piece 3- So far I see there are at least 3 things God tells us to delight (Hebrew-Hapes- Suggests strong emotional involvement. it emphasizes ones feelings about the object of delight.). His Word, Him and people. Interesting that these three things are also the things that will last forever.
Piece 4- I had this crazy dream. I had a baby, but I didn’t even know I was pregnant. It was weird, labor wasn’t that bad and I was wondering if we would still be able to do the embryo adoption. But then my baby turned into a woman older than me! It was so weird! I thought, "I don’t know how to parent someone older than me", "how did she learn English?" So, that morning, I talked with God about it, still a bit weirded out. That begun a whole thought process of God allowing weird and unnatural things for His glory. He sees the end from the beginning and sees how He will use bad things ultimately for His glory. The pain/hurt/sin breaks His heart. But pain does not equal bad, just as orderly and natural does not equal good.
Piece 5- God sees the end from the beginning all at the same time. When He created us... He saw it all. The brokenness, the sin, the redemption... and He called it good-obviously the evil isn’t good, but the end is good.
Piece 6- His plan is a good plan.
Piece 7- So, does God want everything He allows? I use to think that everything that happened was not necessarily something He wanted, just something He allowed and then redeemed.
Piece 8- Pain and suffering. Within a few days time, God brought all of this tragedy to my attention.
"The twentieth century was the bloodiest and cruelest of all centuries. Man is not getting better. But God will hold us accountable in the age to come not for what others have done. He will call us to account for what blood-bought hope freed us to do for others in the name of Christ." John Piper
“…cigarette burns all over a babies body, needles stuck into children, penises stuck into two month old babies, children bruised so badly there is no healthy skin showing, starving children with dead eyes, rope burns, gorged out eyes on kids, mentally handicapped children who had been denied nutrition…” Stephanie Overholt talking about the pictures she saw while taking a foster care class.
Stories about girls in the sex trade, persecution, and the earth quake in Haiti happened.
“In Sudan millions, including children, haven been murdered, raped and enslaved. The 2004 Asian tsunami killed more than 280,000 people. Malaria causes more than 2 million fatalities annually, the majority of them African children. 9/11 killed 2,973. the Rwandan genocide in 1994 amounted to killing 6,000 every day for 100 days.” Alcorn
Piece 9- God put Adam and Even in the garden. They were extremely naïve, not knowing evil. God put a tree right in the middle they were not suppose to eat from, yet He made it enticing to eat and put the great deceiver in the garden with them. It is almost like God set them up. He didn’t make them eat… but it sure seems like He intended them to eat.
Piece 10- “A faith that leaves us unprepared for suffering is a false faith that deserves to be lost.” Randy Alcorn
Piece 11- James Montogmery Borce says in May 2000 when he had been diagnosed with liver cancer “should you pray for a miracle? Well, you’re free to do that, of course. My general impression is that the God who is able to miracles and He certainly can-is also able to keep you from getting the problem in the first place. So although miracles happen, they’re rare by definition… Above all, I would say pray for the glory of God. If you think of God glorifying Himself in history and you say, where in all of history has God most glorified Himself? He did it at the cross of Jesus Christ, and it wasn’t by delivering Jesus from the cross, though He could have… God is in charge. When things like this come into our lives, they are not accidental. Its not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by… God is not only the one who is in charge; God is also good. Everything He does is good.”
Piece 12- Having heard so many overwhelming horrifying stories of pain. I was asking God why He was showing me, allowing me to feel this. Surely He could keep me from the pain of seeing/feeling. But He was overwhelming me with the pain. That showed me that is how He feels about it. But what I felt (which felt like if it was much more I wouldn’t be able to handle it) but that is only a fraction of how He feels about it. Pain, sorrow, rage. But the next morning I read about Sodom and Gomorrah. And God says “shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”. God showed Abraham the pain of Sodom and Gomorrah because he was going to “be a powerful nation through who all nations would be blessed” and his responsibility would be to “direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just”. And through this experience, God revealed Himself as Judge to Abraham, a part of God’s character Abraham had not understood. His glory revealed.
Piece 13- “For the sake of knowing you, the glory of Your name to know the lasting joy, even sharing in Your pain.”
Piece 14- “We cannot know Christ and the power of His resurrection without the fellowship of His suffering.” Elisabeth Elliot
Piece 15- My end goal desire is for suffering to stop. God’s is a whole lot bigger than that. This has opened my eyes to the reality that I desire lack of pain more than I desire God’s glory to be revealed and I hate that. I did think that my deepest passion was for God’s glory to be revealed, but how God has opened my eyes to and idol I have-no matter how good it seems.