Narrative voice-over: You will never convince me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.
*cut to me, sprawled face-down on the couch, gripping my head and silently groaning*
Narrative voice-over: This life that He’s planned for us here on this earth is glorious.
*cut to me, drooping over my laptop with glazed eyes as the screen flickers and error messages ding erratically in the background*
Narrative voice-over: In our rare moments of spiritual clarity we glimpse the thoughts He’s told us He has for us, and are inspired to pursue them.
*cut to me, slouched in the dark with a smoking laptop perched on my knees as I scroll through page after page of copyright information and Amazon marketplace analytics. The clock at the bottom of my screen reads 2:43 AM (but only because it’s ‘definitely broken’)*
Narrative voice-over: And when we persevere and cross the finish line, the sense of achievement and fulfillment is truly breathtaking.
*cut to me, sprawled on the floor in my pjs with a toothbrush in one hand and an empty tube of toothpaste in the other, sobbing brokenly into the carpet*
Life is tough. We ask for God’s best and declare ourselves willing to walk through fire to go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do.
In our typical human arrogance, we don’t realize it isn’t fire He wants us to walk through. That’s reserved for the heroes among us— the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos. The rest of us get something much more common— and much more difficult.
Am I doing another inspirational post?
Yes I am.
I promise I had a nice writerly post about metaphors all planned out in my head, but the moment I opened my file and stared at the blinking cursor it all went out the window. The truth of the matter is, it’s been one of ‘those kinds of months’. Tell ya a little secret— when gobs and gobs of these inspirational life things start showing up on my blog, I’m going through an existential crisis.
Which happens at least once a month, so hey. You’ll never be short on inspiration.
What got me thinking about this was a somewhat cliche observation that somehow never ceases to be relevant: It never rains but it pours.
Me at the beginning of 2018: ‘Okay God, this year is going to be different. New territory. I’ll be learning to drive and publishing a book. We haven’t been through this and I’m gonna need Your strength because big things like this take a lot of mental energy. Amen.
Oh yeah, I also need to work on my attitude. Meeting challenges head on and with grace. Help me to be humble about it. Amen.’
God, (smiling): ‘I’m going to give you a new sibling on the way and it’s going to throw a kink in the household schedule. I’m also going to send your older sister an opportunity to bake for farmer’s markets and she’s going to need lots and lots of help. This summer is going to be broiling hot and everyone’s tempers are going to be shorter by half. Finding time to learn to drive will be difficult and sporadic, which means every time you do make time you’ve forgotten half the last lesson. Your family dryer is going to break down and start stopping every ten minutes to beep until someone comes and turns it back on, which means your laundry pile will get backed up, making it difficult to get all your rental cabin linens clean in time for re-stocking.
‘You’ll also be increasing the number of necklaces you make for sale by a factor of ten, because I’m clearing out a shelf for you right now at the Scottish inn down the road.
‘Also self-publishing a book is a LOT harder than you’re thinking, but don’t worry— I’m going to help you by sending you amazing friends who have their act completely together and will overwhelm you with amazing suggestions. Your current laptop doesn’t support half the programs you’re going to need to format and publish a book, but you’ll find that out halfway through the year— two months after your screen starts going black every five minutes and the left hinge breaks. There are also three very large and complicated programs you’re going to have to learn, to scrape together all the necessary tools.
*sits back and smiles wider* Of course. I’ll be more than happy to help you with your attitude issues, Kate.’
Me, six months into the year with three quarters of my hair gone, staring at my beeping laptop screen with smoke drifting past my face and explosions in the background: ‘Lord, I get your point.’
Life is the fire.
When we ask God for help, I think we too often have this idea of supernatural intervention in our heads. That God will step in and fix everything with a wave of His hand and we’ll fall down on our knees as purified and perfect beings and worship Him for the rest of our perfect lives.
Nope. We were put on this earth like silver is poured into the refining pot and slipped into the furnace. To become wholly pure the silver must burn and melt, and in its undoing give up all the impure things bound in with it. The fire is the key. By the nature of raw silver, it must melt before it can be pure.
How can we ask to be purified without fire?
We pray for grace, strength, and patience. Days, hours, sometimes even minutes afterward, the world spins out of control and the rain comes down in torrents.
This is not a stumbling block. This is your opportunity. Why are you frustrated? You asked for it!
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.