Thursday, April 21, 2016

Looking for the Miracle

A few months back we got a bird.  Not just a bird that sits in it's cage and tweets, but an Australian Galah (parrot) with a disability where he couldn't perch in the wild. George arrived full of personality, was very interactive, and had a decent vocabulary of English words.

That larger than life personality would have been exactly what we wanted had he decided to spread his relationships throughout the household, but possibly because George came from a home with only two people in it, he narrowed his world in our busy home and decided that I was the only one for him. Flattering, but.....!

Had I lived alone, had I had nothing else that I wanted to do other then hang out with a parrot all day that might have been OK, but the rest of house got tired of his screeching when I wasn't there as well as his sharp bites when he intermittently decided he needed to 'protect' me from them.  And it was taking a large chunk of my time and energy to give him the attention that he needed. Sadly, even though he was wonderfully cute otherwise (really, he was!), we had to find him a new home. And, yes, I shed a few tears.

Sometimes the things that we think we want don't turn out to be what we need.

George
The children of Israel frequently had this problem, too. When they were hungry in the wilderness God did something amazing: He made food literally fall from the sky!  They didn't have to plant it, water it, hunt it, or even harvest it.  They just had to go out, pick it up off of the ground six days a week and make food that tasted like 'honey' (Ex. 16: 31)  and 'cakes baked with oil.' (Num. 11:8) Yum!  As a gluten intolerant person who often has to miss out on cake, that sounds really, really, super good! It also sounds great to anyone on a low carb diet. Here, have some manna cakes! Since it was food from God's hand, not only was it tasty, but you can be sure it was quite nutritious, too.

After a time, however, the Children of Israel grew tired of manna from heaven, a sad but true insight into the heart of mankind in general, and demanded something else, nearly driving Moses off the deep end in the process. God, who knew that that wasn't actually what was good for them, sent them quail to eat.

A lot of quail. Piles and piles of quail around the edge of the camp up to 90 centimeters high.  Once again, they didn't even have to do much to get it except take a hike and pick it up.  But besides it not being what God knew was best for them at that time, it had been demanded with a really bad attitude and many got sick and even died.  "...There they buried the people that had the craving." (Num. 11: 34)

They followed their cravings and forgot that what they already had was a MIRACLE.

The fact that it was a miracle is obvious to those of us who have never tasted manna, but what about the things that we take for granted every day?  A comfortable home, food in our bellies, a bit in the bank, the security of a locked door, opportunity and options; all absolute miracles to multitudes in the world today.

For those in the wilderness eating manna every day felt like a trial.  What about things that we consider trials as well?

Photo by the talented Harrie Thayre
I don't handle stress as well as I did ten years ago. I used to have high endurance levels for all kinds of stress, the bad kind and the good, but now my body sends clear warning signals that if ignored over a period of time will result in sudden loss of physical health that forces me to dial down, take stock of my heart, and rest.  And I've hated it!

Recently, however, I realized the unwrapped gift in the trial. I used to be able to go for months, even years at a time shouldering things that I was never meant to carry. Impossible things that I unthinkingly took on as my responsibility (like the happiness of people around me), anxieties that I kept 'under control' but let stay alive in my heart, fears that I ignored or even excused and allowed to grow, etc, etc. I felt like I was growing weak, but the truth is that I always wasn't enough on my own.

The gift is that now I must keep shorter accounts in my heart, with others, and with my God. I can't carry a hefty dose of anxiety for too long without it getting too heavy to bear----and why would I want to anyway? That motivation is a gift, it produces freedom in my own mind and heart, and anything that brings me closer to my Father is good.  Maybe that trial will change in the future for me and maybe it won't, but the best case scenario is that I won't need to find out because I've learned to do it right regardless.

Strength comes by choosing to embrace what we think of as a trial because of it's God-allowed purpose in our lives. If we lean into the trial then we embrace His purpose.  We demonstrate trust and find His strength along the way.  And we also don't create our own 'solutions' that, like the quail in the wilderness, might be a short-term distraction, but are not positive in the long run.

For the past several months one of our kids has been sick. A mystery illness that we're shuffle-stepping our way through trying this and that to figure out what's going on. It's kept him from studies and work, left him with limited capacity most days and in pain every single one.  As we've walked beside him through this I've found my prayers changing from, "God please change this," to "God, I sure don't understand why, but please make this count.  Don't waste his suffering. Use this to make him more into the person that you've created him to be. Show him who you are in ways that I can't understand. Let what he's learning now lead on to who he is for eternity."

Are we praying for our son's complete healing? Absolutely. But whether God's answer to our prayers is 'yes,' 'no,' or 'wait a while,' He will still work all things together somehow for good. (Rom. 8:28)

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 
(1 Cor. 1:25) 

Leaning into the trial is looking for the miracle. What we want is not always what we need. And let's not take for granted who He is and the miracle of what He's already done!

He is the potter and we are the clay. (Is. 64:8) And He's making something beautiful.....

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Have a bit more time?  Ponder HIS craftsmanship while you watch THIS




1 comment:

JoAnna K said...

Beautifully said, Heather. Thank you for sharing this.