Friday, May 30, 2014

Caught in the Rain

Rain in a drought-weary land! What a blessing! I should be doing a happy-dance, at the very least, right?

Except I had to unload groceries.
In the rain.
In the mud of our driveway.


Glazing is like mud...
I was dreading it, to say the least. Load after load of wet mud tracked into the porch and kitchen. Soaking wet hair and clothes. Muddy shoes. Wet groceries.

Did I mention the mud??

So I was dreading unloading the groceries, despite the fact that the rain was a blessing from above! How wrong was that? It struck me as really, really wrong. My own comfort is not more important than the life-giving rain that will sustain the cattle, the horses, the people in this land.

But isn't that what we humans do all the time, when we beg for God to make our lives how we want them... when we despair that our lives are ruined by our circumstances... when we demand that God correct some "injury" to our expectations... when we doubt God's existence, goodness, or power because something is "wrong" with our lives?

God really does have all things under His control. He is the Lord God Almighty! (Hosea 12:5) 1 Chronicles 29:11 says, "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all."

He is Almighty God; how can we doubt that He has the bigger, better picture in mind, even when we go through difficulties? Not only is He all-powerful, he loves us. He knows us and he loves us. John 10:14 assures us that Jesus is "the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--"

So, the next time it rains in my life's circumstances, I'll probably still dread the situation. Unloading groceries in the rain is no fun. Facing serious illness or the loss of a loved one is not what we enjoy. But I can fully depend on God's power, His love, and His knowledge. He works all things for good. (Romans 8:28) I can trust that this (whatever this is), too, will be Good in the end.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not My Own

On our recent road trip back to the Midwest, someone asked our 7-year-old if she knew who her "real" parents were. At some points in my life, I might've been offended, or at least have corrected the person's language to "birth parents". Our daughter took it absolutely in stride and said, "Well, duh. Yes." And then she named her birth parents. And she's right; they are really her parents, and so are my husband and I. There is no threat to me or to my relationship with our wee one in acknowledging that we are not her only parents!

Again on our trip, I was asked if I minded not having "my own house" anymore. We live in a parsonage, owned by the Jicarilla Apache Nation. It has been allotted to the church for 100 years, and the current allotment has about 46 more years to go. If we have a maintenance problem, Tribal Maintenance will come and fix it. Seems like a good set-up to me!

We don't have much of our own furniture. We only have one car that is ours. We don't own a lawnmower, snowblower, or weedeater anymore. We have shared money with missionaries, family members, and others in need. 

None of this is mine! The Bible tells us not to lay up treasures here on Earth, but to lay up treasures in heaven. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)

It's so easy to get caught up in what's mine. It's easy to close our hearts to abundance and live in fear. But we don't have to. The entire chapter of Matthew 6 lays out God's promises to provide for us. And He asks us to give to others, to be His hands and feet in providing for them. (Matthew 19:21, Luke 19:8, Mark 10:21)

I was pondering all this lately. And then I heard this song by Matt Redman. The first lines of the song say, "When I stand before your throne, dressed in glory not my own..." And, oh! How true.

More than anything else, glory is not mine. I am the opposite of glorious on my own. But Christ has dressed me in glory! God the Father sees me as holy and perfect.


Yes, me.

And you, dressed in Christ's grace and glory.

Definitely not my own. Better than my own!