Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lost in Translation

2"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him who reproves God answer it."
3Then Job answered the LORD and said,
4"Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
5"Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more."
Job 40: 2-5

Oh Lord, I repent.

I repent, not for questioning or asking hard questions-- these You have asked me to do. You have asked me to be real in relationship with You, preserving honor and respect for You, the Most High God, Maker of Heaven and Earth. You have humbled Yourself so that I can look You straight in the eye and rail against You in my sadness and anger, yet You never banish me to death, though You could, for my insubordination. You love me where I am and how I am. These are things that I know and have known since I was a little girl, dancing before You all alone in the den, feeling Your presence pressing in around me. I have known You since I can remember knowing anything. I know that You are sitting with me in my grief and that You understand it all, but I am sorry for questioning You the way that I have been. You deserve all of my respect and all of my honor. You are real and worthy of my faith. Thank You for Your great mercy towards me.

I don't know how much you, dear reader, will be able to identify with what I'm writing today. Maybe every word will echo your own heart. Maybe nothing will resound. But after writing, a couple of days ago, that I doubted God's ability to give anything back to me-- Ben is dead, right? His ashes are here for me to hold in my lap if I was so inclined--I have been bothered and sad.

Then this:

"To trust in spite of the look of being forsaken; to keep crying out into the vast, whence comes no returning voice, and where seems no hearing; to see the manchinery of the world pauselessly grinding on as if self-moved, caring for no life, nor shifting a hairbreadth for all entreaty, and yet believe that God is awake and utterly loving; to desire nothing but what comes meant for us from His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing only lest faith should fail-- such is the victory that overcometh the world, such is faith indeed." George MacDonald

I do not understand the ways of God. April 27th, I probably would have said the same thing (in earnest), but secretly suspected that I did understand. Today, on July 16, I lay my hand over my mouth... I honestly say that no, I do not fully understand Him. I know some things about Him: He is good and all of His ways are good. But that is the shore upon which all of my waves stop: I do not understand beyond that. Here is what His words tell us:

In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world. John 16:33

And the not fully understanding part? This, for me, is one of the biggest troubles of all. Because I know, just as my husband has reminded me, that even if I understood the why of all of this, the grief of it wouldn't lessen. In fact, something in me wonders if the grief would become impossible to bear if I had more understanding. That, in this, I am the child that God is guarding. He knows what I can know and what I cannot. He knows where the waves end for me.

But there will come a time, He promises, when we will have understanding. It's just that, here, it seems, certain things just won't translate:

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

So, for now, there's only one thing for it:

13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1Corinthians 13: 9-13

"For now," He tells us. I know that today, you cannot see. I know that today, You squint at yourself in the mirror and you pound your fists on the ground over gifts that do not look like gifts at all. Today, you are grieved and do not understand why, if I loved you, I would lead you down this path. Today, you cannot see. For now, I ask you to walk in faith, hope, and love, and I recognize that even that does not make sense and that it-- my very Word-- feels ridiculous. But it's because you see in a mirror dimly. Your eyes are adjusted to a world that I have overcome. So there's grace for that. There's grace for not understanding. There's grace for confusion. But I'll ask you again-- will you walk in faith, hope, and love? Will you just trust Me?

Oh gosh, my smart brain recognizes that faith looks ridiculous. It argues with every step I want to take down the path of "just trust God." My mind battles it, but my spirit resonates with it.

But every other path leads to death and destruction. Every other path is hopeless. A thousand smart friends can cluck their tongues at me and shake their heads at my naivete, at my desire to just trust and obey. Only He has overcome the world.

And only He speaks the language that would hold me close and tell me all of the why's my heart longs to know the answers to. One day, my lips will sing in that language. For now, only my spirit gets it-- but wordlessly.

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