Monday, September 15, 2014

The Obedience of Faith; Me, You and Us

I've been reflecting a lot lately about how incredibly personal and individual God is in the life of faith that he designs for each of us and calls us into.

What he gives to some he withholds from others. What some receive immediately others are told, "Wait." What is easy for some is difficult for others; what to some is an onerous burden to others is a barely noticeable blip.

I'm talking about everything here, friends. Marriage, singleness, divorce, marriage health. Childbearing. Childrearing. Health. Defeating sin. Is making friends easy or hard. Is cooking easy or hard. Is managing money easy or hard.

You: fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows your whole frame. You: created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for you to do. Specifically for you.

In my observation and experience, we always tend to think most other people's faith-lives are easier than our own. It's the hardest thing in the world to say to ourselves, "Soul, God loves you so much and so specifically that he designed these trials and these blessings just for you. Do not compare yourself to them, do not envy them because this thing, this life, this everything, this is between you and He who is your Maker and Redeemer."

And yet ... and yet.

This life is faith is also a community project. My friend's miscarriage is very much my own grief. Also, I can't do this, any of this, without you (not for long, anyway). I need people encouraging me, praying for me, offering counsel, offering a kind word. We, made in God's image, are inherently relational because God, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, is inherently relational. Our vertical relationship has horizontal components, just as our horizontal relationships always reflect the vertical.

Sometimes I hear about a life that an acquaintance has been living, learning for the first time about hardships that she has been bearing up under, and I marvel at her: what perseverance, what pain, what faith, hide just below the surface.

Really, this is all of us, to one degree or another. Sometimes our job is to encourage or serve that friend, when he or she lets us into the struggle.

There are different types of blog posts, and I would call this an "awareness" post. Awareness of yourself. Awareness of others. Awareness of the God who is always in it with you, next to you, for you, ahead of you and behind you.

"But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
    and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:1-7

PS - I've read two really good blog posts in the last day on struggles that it seems God has called friends of mine to, compassionate, winsome, wise words of God-centered suffering.

On miscarriage - "What All Have Borne, Each Can Bear"
On singleness - "Sleeping Alone" (This is an old post, but if you click on her "singleness" topic at the bottom of the page, there are some other great posts on singleness.)

1 comment:

Laura Dalbey said...

Thanks Molly! Very encouraging. Some days it is very easy to forget God's wonderfully soveriegn hand in all things :)