22 May 13
My apologies for the recent dearth of posting these devotionals. We have been otherwise engaged in some activities that could not be avoided, and something had to give. As important as this effort is to Cristy and I, we still have unavoidable obligations to others that will pre-empt us from this occasionally.
With the recent devastation in Oklahoma, and the finger-pointing and fist-shaking at God for “allowing this to happen”, I thought that today’s devotional from Oswald Chambers, written around a century ago, was very fitting. In part, it reads:
God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy. If we will pray, regarding our own lives, “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42), then we will be encouraged and comforted by John 17, knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom, accomplishing what is best.
Speaking for myself, I have been through some hard times. From childhood sexual abuse, a self-sabotaged Army career, serious medical issues and other problems too numerous and frankly, petty, to list. It’s not about keeping a tally sheet to bring to the Lord for recompense on Judgment Day. It is about looking back to see what He has brought me through, and how that looks today. Being able to see the times that He carried me, seeing that single set of “footprints in the sand”.
Why did these things happen to me? To destroy the false sense of self that I had, and still struggle with occasionally. Read “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge, and see what he says in there about our wounds and how they lead us to deny them by forming a false image of ourselves in our minds. We seek to deny hurt, and put on a persona that we believe will carry us through it. But when we deny that hurt, we end up denying God. And that just won’t fly. Embrace the wound, accept it and admit that it hurt. There is no shame in that. It is necessary to begin the path to true healing that only He can accomplish.
There are some parts of my past that truly sucked. (Sorry, being a Christian doesn’t mean I can’t be blunt and outspoken, and there just is no better way to say it. Build a bridge and get over it.) But I have been asked if I would go back and change it if God were to allow me to do so. That led to fantasies of what my life would have been without my struggles, and that led me the realization that without the different hardships and bad choices in my life, I would not have the story of His grace and healing that I have now and I would not be able to share that with others who desperately need to hear it.
Notice that I am not proclaiming that my story is what others need to hear. It is the story of HIS GRACE and HIS HEALING and HIS FORGIVENESS in my life. It is His story that Cristy and I proclaim, and His miracles of healing in our relationships with each other, our children, and everyone around us that will open up and hear it.
So the answer is a hearty and resounding, “NO!” I would NOT change my past. To do so would be to once again deny God and his power. Having been well and truly down that road many times, I will not go that direction again.
2 Peter 1:3-11
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.