Monday, November 18, 2013

All Things. Really, He Works in Them All. {Messy Monday}

It's riddle for you this Monday morning...
We all have one. Some of us have more than one.
We all use it.
We all hide it.
What is it?
If you've seen the photo then you probably aren't straining to answer.
And we must be besties now because I am going reveal to you what I don't usually show anyone.
My junk drawer. That's the answer, and you'll see mine in a bit.
I have a few of them. Also, I'm not sure the exact date that our craft closet became our "crap closet." But yeah, that's happened too.
I like to save things. Store them- not hoard them. But  those egg cartons and popsicle sticks could be so useful someday. And I'm sure I'll be using the scraps of construction paper and plastic beads for something really awesome, when I get around to it. Honestly,  Pinterest is my enabler.
Hence my various indoor junk yards.
It's been on my mind to turn them into a Messy Monday for a while now, but nothing really developed until a few days ago when I was forced to spend time praying about some really hard things.
Things that don't make sense. Things that no one asked for.
Some terrifically tragic, some that flap in under the radar.
How do you make sense of the senseless? If God is Good*...
The pain? The illness, death, neglected children, abused wives? The defeated man? The anxious woman? Why? Why why why?
The same questions I asked years ago, yet only yesterday. In the days after I lost my mother-in-law, and then my sweet babies.
The why's forced me to my knees. To stop. To remember. Because I was being called upon to serve those who were facing pains I had faced. Questions I once raised.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
The dissonance of pain healing into chords of comfort, and not for me alone. Comfort is to be treasured, and then shared. Because God's love cannot be hoarded.
And as I pondered, prayed, remembered- one thing came to mind.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.
Romans 8:28
All things.
Not some. Not most.
Every single thing. 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4 gave us another all- He's the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all affliction.
Not some. Not most.
Jason Gray puts it this way: In the hands of our Redeemer, nothing is wasted.**
I put it this way:

As crappy as things might be- He doesn't have a crap closet either. He doesn't shelve us or our hardships away, just in case He finds time to get around to using it all. He doesn't half-heartedly shove you where you don't want to be. He doesn't overlook you. You are precious, and this is the truth:
We have a God of detail, and He overlooks nothing.
He's using it all right now- even if we can't see it.
The tragic becomes triumphant in His hands.
And when we are tempted to doubt this, the Bible gives us example after example of this truth.
Just look at the Christ.
Or if you need a sinner to relate to- try Paul, who was "gifted" with a thorn in his flesh. No one knows for certain what it was, but it was obviously more than an annoyance.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Do you want to know how sufficient God is? Let Him reign in your weakness. Crown Him Lord of your circumstances. And watch Him work. Especially in the details. He knows every single thing about you. Nothing escapes His devotion.

And you cannot imagine how He will be glorified in your life.

What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9
*If God is Good is a book by Randy Alcorn that walks through the questions believers and unbelievers have about the nature of God and the problem of pain. It absolutely rocks. Another fantastic writer on God's providence in the area of pain and suffering is Joni Earekson Tada- check out When God Weeps.
**Click that link. Watch the video for Jason Gray's "Nothing is Wasted." I should say please, but it will so bless you, I'll just say "you're welcome" instead. ;) So good.