Sunday, July 1, 2012

That’s fine for you, but I don’t want that for me

Written May 2012:

“That’s fine for you, but I don’t want that for me.”

Those words were spoken by a friend when Ryan and I had lunch with him recently. That’s how he described people’s responses to his family: a daughter with Neurofibromatosis and a son with Down Syndrome.

No one has actually said that to him, but it's likely that many are thinking this about his situation.

He wasn’t bitter. He’s not angry. He is exactly the opposite. He is open. He is accepting. He is willingly receiving what God has for him and his family.

His response is not the norm.

We are a culture and society that does not willingly receive what God has for us…

Disease or chronic pain – no thank you.
Financial struggles – maybe another time.
Death and loss – come back in a few decades.

And when it comes to children, we certainly put high value on health and happiness. How often do you hear it? “It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl as long as they’re healthy.”

We pray they are born healthy and strong and whole. That’s certainly what I prayed for. And every night when I put my children to bed I pray for continued protection, safety and health over their little bodies.

This is what our human hearts believe is best.

But is it?

If health and wholeness isn’t what God has for them…for us…do we know better than God to want something different for their life? For ours?

Friends, I’m just beginning to think through this. I’m pondering and chewing on it and going over it and over it in my head. And it’s freeing and terrifying all at the same time.

 I want health for myself and my loved ones. I want wholeness. I want security and comfort and a sense of what’s next.

The unknown. The unexpected. The trials. The suffering. We’ve already established that I run from those things. I run hard. And I run fast.

But why? Why do I run from hard things if that’s what the loving hand of my Creator is allowing?

“The greatest Christians in history seem to say that their sufferings ended up bringing them the closest to God—so this is the best thing that could happen, not the worst.”—Peter Kreeft

Our friend and his wife have such an eternal perspective. It’s from the Lord and therefore it just is what it is. They certainly have hard moments and tough days. But they see things through a Big Picture lens. And that lens is about a broken world and God’s plan for redemption. And how a little girl and a baby boy can be part of a Grand Plan to tell the world about a God who loves them to a depth and breadth and width that’s incomparable.

So here’s what I’ve been asking myself:
Do I long for God more than I long for a life of comfort?
Do I long for God more than I long for health?
Do I long for God more than I long for financial security?
Do I long for God more than I long for a spouse or a child?
Do I long for God more than I long for contentment?
Do I long for God—and His perfect ways and His perfect plans—more than my timeline, my agenda and my plans?

“That’s fine for you, but I don’t want that for me.”

Here’s the thing: if it’s from God, we should want it.

Because God allows things—especially hard things—to draw us to Him. Not as a test or trial, but so that we lean hard on Him. Run to Him. Find rest in His arms. Be renewed in His presence. Live insanely dependent on Him and walk humbly with Him.

“These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God—in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”—Ann Voskamp

As another friend told me: “It’s my heart’s desire [longing for God and God alone], but not yet my heart’s cry. How do I get from one to the other?” She’s on the journey. She’s moving toward embracing what God has gifted her with…even though it is a gift that is hard to unwrap.

I totally get it. If I’m absolutely honest, and dig deep into my heart, I don’t always want what God sees fit to give me. Because it’s hard. And it hurts. And we are forced to grieve over what could have been and readjust our expectations to what will be.

“Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching.”―Joni Eareckson Tada

Though we might eventually accept that it’s from God, and decide to lovingly embrace what He’s gifted us with, the world may never.

And that’s the hard reality of living this side of heaven.

Lord God do a work in me that is so grand and so powerful that I would long for nothing more than I long for you. Create in me a new heart that longs simply and wholly for your plans, your purpose and your ways. Make me steadfast and unmovable in Your presence. For each one of us, transform us so fully into the image of Christ that out of the overflow of our relationship with You our response would no longer be: “That’s fine for you, but I don’t want that for me” and instead become: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”


Sew said...

This is good stuff...It really makes you ponder the gift of children and contraception. How they just do not seem to mix.

Miss Monica said...

I admire you for digging deep down and admitting all that you did. I, too, have desires and wishes and want them to be what God wants for me. It is so hard when they don't match up...and trusting that His ways are the best ways is hard for most humans. But that does lead to a happiness and peace.

Hang in there....