Monday, April 27, 2009

He giveth and He taketh away.... thank goodness!

Last week, I married a woman that God made just for me! Kelli surpasses anything I could have hoped for myself. God has given me a second chance in life and has started that second chance with an awesome display of His love for me so long as I keep Him at the front of my family. I stand in awe of how quickly and completely God has rebuilt my life into a magnificent testimony to His power and glory. What He has given me far exceeds that which He allowed to be taken away. I built what I lost on the proverbial shifting sands of faith in my own ability to control my life. I almost find it embarrassing that I mourned so pitifully over the loss of what had become such a pathetic monument to my own ability and will. But alas I rejoice from the top of my lungs at the incredible display of His mercy and goodness in what He has replaced it with! Our God is truly an awesome God and I am an unworthy recipient of his favored blessing.

I find myself asking Him lately, “What have I done to deserve such a generous gift?” The answer is, “nothing.” That’s what makes Him such a great God. I will never be worth all He has done for me. I can never earn His favor. He blesses me because He loves me, plain and simple. And the older I get, and the more times I am witness to this wonderful truth, the more I am amazed by it. It is when we are humbled that he exalts us. It is when we are weak that His strength shines through. It is when we are helpless that His power is so evident.

Last year was a tough year for me. I dealt with pain, rejection, betrayal and depression on a scale unprecedented in my 37 years. I was at my lowest, but fortunately for me, it was at that low and humble point in my life when pride and haughtiness were flung as far from my psyche as the east is from the west, paving the way for God to do a magnificent work in my life. I needed Him and I sought Him like I seek air to breathe because I knew in the deepest part of my heart that no one had the blueprints needed to put together the pieces of my broken spirit except the one who created it.

The shining bow on this gift He has given me was the speed with which it was delivered. I cannot cite any reason other than the fact that I was completely and utterly dependent upon Him for every aspect of my recovery and I trusted Him with every fiber I had left because it turns out that it is easy to die to one’s self and submit to His will when one has no strength or foothold with which to resist it. It was the right time and I was at the right place in my life to surrender completely to Him. And THAT is all it takes! God went to work, dropping one miracle after the next into my lap… chump change for Him… Life change for me! It was as if He were saying: “Look what I can do, when your will yields to mine!” “Look what happens to your pathetic empty cup when you get out of the way and let me work!” Truly it overflows!

I’ve taken no credit for anything. I’ve waved no flag, nor blown no horn of my own. And I believe that has been the key to ushering in all that He has done for me. Everything I have today is painfully obvious to all who know me, solely because of Him! And I’d give it all right back to Him if he required it of me because I have learned the hard way that I cannot create anything. Nor can I protect anything. If He is not in control, then no one is. The belief that I might be is nothing more than an illusion.

If anyone could look at my life and learn one thing from it, I pray it would be this: That if you are a Christian and you have placed or ranked anything in your life above God, either willfully or subconsciously, then it is THAT THING that you will lose control of every time and eventually lose altogether. Ten times out of ten, whatever that thing is, will be VERY important to you and because it is, it will hurt like the dickens when it’s gone. But God won’t stand for second place and you and I have absolutely no power of our own to safeguard anything that we treasure. If we truly want to protect it, we must surrender it to Him. Nothing we have is of our own accord. If we treasure anything, any person or any area of our life that we are not willing to give up for Him, then we usurp His will for our own and we are out of step. That goes for our friends our family, our jobs, our money, our homes and our very lives. When you give it all to Him, He sees to the needs and desires of your heart like no other can. Any good thing you think you can do or build for yourself is NOTHING compared to what God can do for you!