Monday, April 18, 2011

The end of the beginning.

"And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains.  These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone." Isaiah 42:16

     This promise, to not leave "undone", is the one and only reason I have not come "undone" in the last year and 19 days.  1 year. 19 days.  1 contract. 1 buyer.  Some may say it would have happened eventually, it was only a matter of time.  I feel a weight over my whole being to say it was only a matter of God.  One of the verses from my last post continues to leap off the page at me as I've thought about just how to wrap up this whole "saga" of our waiting for the house we left behind to sell.  "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15.  While my preference for "wrapping things up" usually requires no questions left unanswered and neat packaging complete with a pretty bow on top, I find myself in this moment content in the simplicity of this:  "for your benefit" and "cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God".  Eight months of paying two mortgages and over a year of uncertainty as to how long we would have to wait certainly took it's toll.  We were brought literally to the point of not knowing how we could possibly do it for one more month...and then the wait was over.  I could focus on the frustration of having to exhaust all our resources in the process, or dwell on the physical effects that the stress has had on my mind and body.  But I have a choice.  We always have a choice of what to allow our minds to dwell on.  And I choose to dwell on the fact that we were brought to the end of ourselves and God took it from there.  To be at the end of yourself is never a fun place to be, but the freedom that comes in admitting that something is too big for me and handing over the responsibility of it to God, rather than continuing to try to control things on my own is one of the greatest gifts I have ever experienced in being a child of God.  

     I'm gonna have to brag on my husband for a bit :)... I am married to a very capable man.  I would be extremely hard pressed to come up with anything that I couldn't ultimately trust him with to accomplish when it comes to the good of our family.  While in my human-ness I admit I have many times taken him for granted in the day to day, the truth in my heart knows that God made him for me and me for him.  This, while being a tremendous blessing, can at times also be a downfall of mine.  Too many times I foolishly put him in the place of God and force him to shoulder the burden while God's outstretched hand patiently waits for me to remember who God is and who Matt is not.  It is for this reason that I believe God will continue to bring me to the end of myself.  He causes my "thanksgiving to overflow"  to His glory alone.  He has surely done it! "...I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.  I will give Thee thanks forever, because Thou hast done it, And I will wait on Thy name, for it is good, in the presence of Thy godly ones." Psalm 52:8-9.  At the end of us, God waits to make up for our shortcomings, our weaknesses and accomplishes things in a way in which there is no other place for the glory to fall but on Him.  "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, THEN I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10.  How gracious the Lord is (to our benefit!) when in return for the burdens He allows us to place at His feet, He only asks for our thanksgiving to be laid there as well!  Most joyfully then will I give the glory to Him alone!  Not only for the buyer He brought for our house, but for the way He has sustained our family through the waiting.  "Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul...Willingly I will sacrifice to Thee; I will give thanks to Thy name, O Lord, for it is good."  Psalm 54:4,6.

"Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!  Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it..."  Isaiah 44:23

"I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars.  And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, In order that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name...That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me.  I am the Lord and there is no other."  Isaiah 45:2-3,6

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My name be profaned?  And My glory I will not give to another."  Isaiah 48:10-11

"Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places.  And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and the sound of a melody."  Isaiah 51:3