Life Gives No Guarantees ...

No one needs to tell us that this world is broken. We can look around and see it. We know it. We feel the sharp jagged edges of the brokenness all around us. None of us get through living in the midst of the splintered fragments without experiencing pain at some point in time. Because of that, we suffer.

Without thinking too hard, I can recall people who are:
  • In a broken marriage, either through something as drastic as infidelity, or something as simple as self-centeredness. Whatever the case, there's a lot of grief, insecurity, confusion.
  • Suffering from ailing, fragile bodies that just continue to not cooperate and break down even more quickly. How do I go through the day-to-day activities when my body wants to do its own thing?
  • Walking the grievous road of infertility. What had been something that they thought would come so easily has been heartbreaking and tedious.
  • Struggling with occupations. They're trying to make it work, but customers don't show up. Or equipment fails. Or there's always something that isn't right.
  • Grieving because of a child that has made poor decision after poor decision, has walked away from the Lord and the family, and is living a dark and deceptive life.
To put it quite simply, our life isn't quite what we thought it would be. I don't know if we figured it would all be flowers and rainbows, that everything would come easily for us, that it would always be good, but sometimes we wind up in a dark place where we just want a guarantee that all will be like we want it to be. We want to be safe. We want to be comfortable. We want what we want.

There's no such guarantee. For this life anyway.

I'm still reading in Job. He's continuing to suffer (more than 32 chapters of suffering!!). Why? Haven't I done things right, Lord? Haven't I loved you and obeyed you? Haven't I done what You've asked of me? Why won't you fix my marriage/heal me/give me a baby/provide in my job/bring my prodigal home? And though we know God's right here with us, at times He seems strangely silent in the area where we are begging Him the most to work.

This is where the crossroads are, friend. This is where we have the decision to make. We can throw up our hands and figure God's not worth the trouble. After all, we've done our part, right? He's failed us. We can get angry. We can be defeated. We can give up. We can demand that He give us answers and explain Himself immediately.

And we'd be wrong. So very, very wrong. 

There are a few things we need to understand.
  1. God is God, and we are not. Read Job, and you'll get an idea. We know He created the earth, but how? Can we even explain how it keeps working? He is great and mighty...and for us to even pretend for one moment why He does or doesn't do things is the epitome of arrogance and pride. And demanding Him to explain Himself when I don't like something He's doing is to pull Him down to my level.
  2. Remember His goodness and His promises. What has He done for us? The cross. The resurrection. He came for us, to rescue us, to redeem us. Is there anything any better than that? Seriously?
  3. Let go of what I'm holding on to more than Him. Anything else + Jesus = idol. Even things that are good gifts from Him can become idols that fill us with emptiness. Anything other than Him that we look to for us to be fulfilled is not enough. He's the only Enough that there is.
  4. Our only guarantee in this life is Him. Fairness, happiness, a happily-ever-marriage, children, good health, jobs -- all are gifts that we long for. But God knows the gift that we need the most is Him. 
So, what do we do in this life? How do we live knowing that what we want so desperately is not guaranteed?

We keep our eyes on Him. We continue to get to know Him more and more. The more we know Him, the more we see His goodness, His trustworthiness. The more we know Him, the less we feel we have a right to have all the answers, to have control, to have that one other thing that we think we so desperately need. Maybe, just maybe, this area of our greatest pain is the area where He's showing us even more of Himself. He is who we need. He is our enough. He is better than our guarantee.

And for those of us that are His, we have this guarantee/promise in Him -- that someday, all that is broken will be restored. There's no guarantee of this in our life on earth, although sometimes God chooses to bless us in that way. He did with Job! But, even if He doesn't fix it all here in this lifetime, He will in our eternity. What is empty becomes filled. What is broken becomes whole. What is estranged becomes reconciled. What is barren becomes fertile. What is weak becomes strong. Why? Because it's Who He is.

Know it. Hold on to it. It will happen.

"Behold, I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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