“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” - C.S. Lewis
I was reading The Journey of Desire today. I've read it before, but through my current situations I find it resonates differently to me today.
There are some extremely challenging ideas in this book. Ideas that can bring discomfort, ideas that might cause one to either dismiss what they don't like to hear or confront an enormous wrestling match... I'm wrestling right now.
God promises every man futility and failure; he guarantees every woman relational heartache and lonelieness. We spend most of our waking hours attempting to end-run the curse. We will fight this truth with all we've got. Sure, other people suffer deafeat. Other people face loneliness. But not me. I can beat the odds. We see the neighbor's kids go off the deep end, and we make a mental note: they didn't pray for their kids every day. And we make praying for our kids every day part of our plan...
Elderidge says this on the heels of a couple chapters where he explores God as a thwarter of our plans and agendas. He discusses the fall of man and the curses that God put into play for men and women... I know it's an uncomfortable idea, we think God only puts "good" things into our lives... and I still believe that in the sense that the end result will be good. But maybe it isn't necessarily aligned with our arbritrary concept/definition of what is "good."
We think success in our endeavors, prosperity, health and an enjoyable life is what is "good" for us. But perhaps we assume these things.
I agree with Elderidge when he goes on to say that we are essentially trying to make the life we believe we want. I say we're all obsessed with trying to make ourselves happy, especially us Christians because we often feel like it's our right as "children" of God.
We all have a concept of what tomorrow holds for us, we call these hopes or dreams. If we're real honest with ourselves, we believe once we have a successfull meaningful career, a loving mate, a family, great friendships and we can make a comfortable living, well then we'll be content...
Now you might conceptually disagree with this... You might tell yourself, that you know only God can make you happy...but if we really evaluate our actions, our behaviors and our desires as well as our disappointments, I think we will more often than not find such monologues to be insincere. So family, career, enjoyable life...those are all "good" things, It's not like i'm looking to have a mistress on the side, spend frivolously, deal drugs etc... but that doesn't necessarily mean God will grant me this life... It also doesn't mean I won't make idols of these very things...in fact it only increases my chances of commiting this fallacy... because they are intrinsically "good" natured things.
We know God hates idolatry. We know that God is a jealous God. We also know that He's a caring God who looks out for out best interest, our eternal best interest. Whatsmore, God has an agenda, the agenda.
I'm thinking right now of the apostle Paul, how he desired to glorify God with his life... He was called into ministry, went wilingly... but I doubt he knew all the things that he would encounter in his life... I doubt he wanted to be imprisoned, stoned, flogged and eventually beheaded...but the end result was what he did truly desire...that was to futher the gospel. Not a good life by any standard, outwardly...sounds like a rough ride to me...but Thy will be done. Now i realize it's an extreme example...but a real example nonetheless.
The last 7 or so years of my life I pursued a vision. I gave it all that I had, my time, money, energy, blood, sweat and tears. I was doing it for God and therefore, I thought nothing could stop me. It was a "good" thing, I wasn't seeking to be something immoral, I wanted to make a sincere impact in this world. I could feel it coming to fruition...I memorized all the scriptures about faith and trusted in what I could not see. Live by "faith not by sight," right? Regardless of whatever obstacle came my way, I moved ahead...full force. Because I believed. But it hasn't happened and it might not in this life...and I have to be ok with that. I have to love God so sincerely that even if I am devstated by this... I have to be able to raise my eyes in awe and wonder, thankful for His love and grace... This is by no means a retreat, or giving up. It's surrender to His will in my life. Real surrender. Surrender of my own agendas, my dreams and goals, my livelihood. Even if God isn't going to accomplish something grand and enormous by all common standards in my existence, I have to be ok with that.
He is to be my portion in this life.
I'm a dreamer... I have always carried with me tremendous visions... and I want to continue to do so... but I also have to be ok with them not coming to fruition. Yes I know whatever God does in our lives is enormous...and grand... but I have to be ok with that not at all resembling the pictures I have in my mind...the pictures that I've carried with me for so many years. They may happen, they may not. They may happen in the eternal life after this one... who knows? I have to be able to worship Him in light of all this...to truly surrender...then and only then will He truly be my God....
I also want to explore this idea, but I'm out of time today:
It can't be done. No matter how hard we try, no matter how clever our plan, we cannot arrange for the life we desire. Set the book down for a moment and ask yourself this question: Will life ever be what I so deeply want it to be, in a way that cannot be lost?