In response to Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner, Chapters 8 and 9:
At first glance, these two very short chapters seemed to not have all that much to say, but what the author lacked in word count, he made up for in SPACE and QUIET, allowing God to speak. And when God speaks...
For instance, one great quote...
"All our baggage makes it hard for us to move, so it's a good thing God isn't waiting on us."
...provokes a flood-gate of real-life examples in my mind. Mucho baggage. Anybody else stuck in a side room surrounded by bags with ugly labels? And overwhelmed with the knowledge that you've got some places to go and don't know how you're going to get there dragging all this crap? I know about that room. And it's a discouraging place to be.
But I loved the note Kary received that taught him, in essence, that God didn't want him to be discouraged.
That really made me think. Hmmm... God. doesn't. want. me. discouraged.
You know why?????????
Because when we're discouraged, we are really saying less about OUR inability to deal with life and more about GOD'S inability in our lives. Think about that. How can we possibly think HE'S unable to move and work in our lives?! HIS strength is plenty...and perfect.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
The beauty is that He doesn't need us to do the moving. Faith is sometimes hard to drum up. In fact, in the times when we're at our weakest, it may be OTHERS who do the believing for us. It may be a mother who persistently quotes a Scripture over her child as he suffers from a speech impediment. It may be her belief in a God who can heal all things. And that amazes me. That in His providence and understanding, He even provides faith in our weakness. Faith on our behalf.
Another thing that jumped out to me was a moment in which the author felt like he had lost God. And he wondered how the things he was living through could possibly "harmonize with God's preordained plan." And I knew exactly what he meant. Because...ahem...I've lived. And life? Well, it ain't always easy. It ain't always pretty. And when life is hugely horrible...in the moment, when we're still reeling with the shock and trying to understand WHY...
Why did my baby have to die?
Why have I been rejected?
Why do I have cancer?
In those heartbreaking moments, we often lose sight of the fact that "it's not about us."
Our experiences don't NEED to harmonize with His preordained plan. Because His plan is not. about. us. It's about HIM.
But here's the thing. Those past experiences--those heartbreaking, awful, "I-can't-live-through-this" moments--they WILL harmonize with His plan.
As time passes, you'll begin to hear the refrain. You'll see that in losing your baby, you now have compassion for others who have lost and a greater appreciation for the miracle of life. You'll see that while others may, God never rejects you--that you are held fast and close by His mighty, loving Hand. You'll see that your cancer is the tool He is using to shape you into a more beautiful creation.
In the end...you won't need to strain to hear the harmony.
There will be a symphony.
Read other responses at Marla Taviano's blog.