Monday, December 01, 2008

No Story of Deliverance

"If Daniel had never entered the lions' den, there would be no story of deliverance."

An author friend of mine sends daily devotionals, and this was in today's. He's so right. I've had a super hard month, and am facing another very difficult transition. December is going to be a challenge. In fact, it seems that every time I'm confronted by a challenge it is more difficult, nuanced, and multi-faceted than the one before. In the end, will it all be worth the trouble?

Let's see... what are the pro's?

It's an opportunity for Grace -- to acknowledge my need of it, and to expend it on others freely.

It's an opportunity for Strength -- to admit I have none, and to operate out of the Lord's unending supply.

It's an opportunity for Joy -- to sweep around the circumstances and envelope them, until they have little to do with my internal state of constant worship and constant communion. I am loved by a Man who will always be greater than any other.

It's an opportunity for Courage -- in the spirit of Joshua, I've been instructed to have courage. It's kind of fun to look back and see where I've obeyed, and how the Lord has come alongside and provided all I've needed for it, and how pleased He is (sort of pleased and proud) with me.

Yes, I think it will be worth it, but I've definitely had to make the choice to grow through it all rather than to just endure it all, holding my breath until the end. This is the choice we always have to make; it's confronting us every day with every imperfect circumstance. What sort of waiting will we do? -- the sort that covers its eyes and holds its breath until everything has passed, or the sort that opens its eyes and looks toward the hope at the end even while the roller coaster is still rising and falling and throwing your body from side-to-side? I want the active waiting, the one that actively endures because of the hope set before me, the one from which I emerge a woman built up with patience and character and hope, the one out of which I will not walk disappointed.

Years ago a prayer team prophetically described me as a pillar of strength, a woman "able to bear great weight." It did not seem good to me...I thought of all the weights I didn't want to bear: the weight of great sorrow, of great difficulties, of long waits, of constant postponement, of unfulfilled dreams, of tragedy and loss (can you tell I'm a novelist? :) Perhaps I will (and in some ways already have) encounter all these things, but the meaning of this prophecy was far different. I will be able, when the Lord has brought me fully forth into my design, to bear the weight of great responsibility, of great joy, of great purpose, of life on a great scale. How am I to become such a person? By bearing and entering into a great love with a great God, by bearing His yoke, by learning to experience it as an easy and light thing, by counting all the deep sorrows and difficulties as joys to draw me closer to Jesus, by sharing in His sufferings. By sharing in His sufferings.

Like Daniel. He was punished for being upright; he was hated for being pure. He was almost destroyed for the great "sin" of loving God...a "sin" that enabled him to be the most useful, loyal, faithful, and loving subject any king had ever had. Daniel. What injustice he suffered as he longed to return to his true home and love - Jerusalem. It is like us, longing for our true home, for Jesus to come back and set all things right. But if he had never entered the lions' den, there would be no story of deliverance. And I want a story of deliverance! Oh how I want it, because oh how I want to glorify God with that story!

Here, finally, is the song I mentioned in my last post. Mercy first, and eventually...eventually...EVENTUALLY...JESUS RETURNED TO ME.

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