FIRMLY PLANTED ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
Right now, this moment, is a moment of peace—a moment of blessed silence. For the moment, the weed-eaters, the dog next door, and the teenagers revving their cars are taking a break. As I sit in my peaceful garden to write this, I’m relishing this moment because there are too few of them. The sounds of the moment are water gurgling, birds chirping, wings whooshing as they fly from one feeder to another, some stopping to get a drink. I hear the seed heads of Inland Sea Oats rustling, and, strangely, a cedar wax wing pecking at the fence like a woodpecker! Perfect weather, sunny but cool--God’s gift to Texas this moment in December, and I’m so grateful.
As I said, these moments are few...as I finished the last sentence the neighbor let her dog out and the blessed silence is broken. It will be cooling down soon anyway, so I’m moving inside to my new prayer room—my new favorite spot besides the garden.
In between the to-do list of life, I’ve been looking back on the past year and considering moments that, strung together, reveal a slice of truth for my life—like a page in a personalized book—a truth revealed by God, if I’m willing to receive it.
My life, like yours, is a complex book with many pages, but In all honesty and transparency, the past year is a page filled with many moments of disappointment, anger, and resentment. Feeling betrayed and baffled, judgment crept in. In retrospect, I see how God navigated me through the maze of moments, patiently waiting for me to realize the futility of expectations and the wisdom of accepting reality. If this sounds vague, I’ll say it plain and simple: I had expectations of people that weren’t met—expectations that people would be “different”, more like Jesus, like we’re supposed to be. I do believe this is a problem common to Man, and that’s why this seemingly negative story is in the Encouragement section!
When will I accept with grace and hope that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
In retrospect, I see that in one situation I invited disappointment by creating my own expectations of how God was going to work things out. Instead of leaving things entirely in his hands, knowing he works in hidden ways, I presumptuously expected “godly” people to play a part I had assigned them. In my mind I created a scenario of how God was going to answer my prayer and when it didn’t happen, I blamed people for not doing what I expected. I’ve had many moments dwelling on something from the past—decisions made by God-loving people had devastating consequences on the lives of their long-time friends and their church. In between the major disappointments were repetitive moments of people failing to understand, not making time, constantly forgetting the important things, rejecting someone close to me, not being kind or thoughtful...missing the mark.
As I consider all these moments strung together, a slice of truth emerges. In the wrestling with negative emotions and a sense of betrayal, choosing to forgive but not feeling it, questioning and judging...my own frail humanity screams its imperfection. The reality that we all miss the mark is clear. The truth that Jesus came for this very reason is clear. He is the perfect balance of grace and truth and no human can ever achieve that, but it’s easy to forget as we live our lives day by day with others. In moments of personal revelation Jesus reveals himself as real, imparting transformational grace and truth. My expectation can only be in him, anything else will disappoint. Let’s pray for each other to know him, to hear him, to abide in him.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.