Monday, April 8, 2013

Out of Left Field

Some of the best conversations with my grandchildren (and children) have occurred while navigating my car through the treacherous roadways of our city. A then four-year-old Meg queried from her car seat, "If God is everywhere, is He in the front seat with you, or the back seat with me?" Excellent! "Meg, God is everywhere, so He is in the front seat with me and the back seat with you both at the same time. He's in every one's car, all at the same time." Mystified silence. Benjamin to his brother Charlie: "Hey Charlie, wanna smell my breath?" Look of disdain. "No, Benjamin. Nobody wants to smell your breath." On defense. "Uh huh! Mama wants to smell my breath every day."
Meg and I wandered through several hours of conversation recently. Her love of conversation is an inherited trait. "Grammy, what do you think about the Big Bang? Grammy, if there was a Big Bang, was God in charge of it? Grammy, why would someone not want God to be in charge?"

A-ha! Why would someone not want God to be in charge? "Meggie, why do you suppose someone might feel that way?" See what the girl thinks. "Because they don't want anyone to be in charge but themselves." Bingo! We're really going somewhere with this conversation. "Meg, why would it be helpful to believe that God is really in charge?" Holding my breath. "Um, because if something goes wrong you still know it's God's plan." Thank you, Lord. "Meg, that's exactly what Romans 8:28 says." And it just so happened that was her memory verse at school two weeks ago.
And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good, according to His purpose.
 
Like a young theologian Meg went on to tell me how she knew that Romans 8:28 was indeed a safe and sure promise of God. That she at the tender age of nine, during a difficult time, had seen God answer prayer, had experienced His care for her and her family, and had watched and heard the prayers and words of those she loves as they gave testimony to God's ways which are often beyond our understanding, yet perfect for those who love Him. (Not exactly in those words, but close enough.) Makes a grandmother want to pull off on the shoulder, hold her close and weep for joy. She gets it. She gets it.
Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations.
Psalm 119:89,90
Little more than 24 hours later I heard my pastor read these words, reassuring us that God's word is our firm foundation, above any contradiction. It is always as certain as His faithfulness. Immediately, my thoughts went to my conversation with Meg, but also to events that seemingly had come out of left field leaving me puzzled, unsettled, and with a measure of heartache. How could this be for good? How could this be used for God's glory? How, how, how? I don't know.....yet. I may never know this side of heaven and perhaps not even there.
I do believe, help my unbelief.
Mark 9:24
God gives me His word to instruct and reassure my unbelief.
 
I will never forget your precepts, (I just had)
For by them You have given me life.
Psalm 119:92b
What other book reveals my sins and weaknesses like the Bible?
What other book knows me better than I know myself?
 
"Each promise is a staff--if we have but faith to lean upon it--
able to bear our whole weight of sin, care and trial."
Charles Bridges
 
To His word we must go when events hurl themselves in from left field, when the Romans 8:28 moments of life are still clouded by the veil. God has no left field. "Why would it be helpful to believe that God is really in charge? Because if something goes wrong, you still know it's God's plan." Everything He sends me is for my good and His glory, to achieve His purposes for the Kingdom and my life. For those who love God all things work together for good, according to His purposes.
I am yours, save me.
For I have sought your precepts.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:94,105