God has been challenging me in a lot of ways, especially health-wise. But even more He is showing me how small I am and how big He is. A friend recently sent me an excerpt from a sermon from a pastor in Florida. As I read it I coudn't help but subsitute my own name throughout the writing.
I like to think of my life like a puzzle-piece. It's one part of a really big picture that I cannot see. In fact, all that I can see is my one little piece! I can see its colors and hues and shapes and I can speculate about what it all is and about what it all means, but that's the best that I can do because I can't see the big picture that it fits into. I can't see the overarching theme into which my little puzzle-piece life fits, and in which alone, its final meaning and purposes are found. God alone sees the big picture. God alone has the box top of the puzzle. In fact, he created that picture. It's his puzzle. And here's the deal: he also created my little life, with all of its colors and hues and often odd, nonsensical shapes. And, he created it to fit into the whole of his really big picture and, in finding its place in his picture (and only then and only there), to make perfect sense.
As a result, I think that it's unreasonable to expect that my life will always make perfect sense to me in the here and now. My vision is too limited. The scope of my wisdom is too small. And God (and life, for that matter) has not led me to believe otherwise. I go to God's word and he tells me directly that his thoughts are not my thoughts and that his ways are not my ways. He tells me plainly that, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so also are his thoughts than my thoughts (Isa 55:8). So then, what is he telling me? Well, at the very least, he's saying:
"Erin, you're finite; I'm infinite! You're limited; I'm unlimited. By your very nature you are incapable of comprehending all of my thoughts and ways and you cannot reasonably expect to be able to do so! Such an expectation is illogical. Erin, there will be things in your life for which you have no explanation. Expect it! Things that make no sense. Anticipate it! Pain that seems meaningless and pointless, from your itty bitty, microscopic, puny, infinitesimally small, sin-stained, corrupted, perspective. So, if I can just say this somewhat gently, get over yourself and stop arrogantly assuming that I am as limited as you are and that, just because you can't make sense of it all, that I won't be able to make sense of it either. Stop with your faithlessness and do what I've called you to do: to trust me even when nothing makes sense, for what is faith? Erin I've told you what faith is. I've given you its definition. I'm not hiding these things from you! I've put it in my word. Go to my word! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for (not things actualized, not things already in your hands), faith is the conviction of things NOT seen (as opposed to what you can, in this life, see - Heb. 11:1). And, there are plenty of things, my daughter that you have not yet seen (like the whole rest of my really big and amazing picture!). Have your read the story of Job, Erin? Have you read what I ordained in life for him? Have you compared your sufferings to that most famous of all sufferers? Did you notice that there were TONS of things happening in that story which fully justified and made sense of his sufferings, but that Job was completely unaware of (thus, his, and your, questionings). Have you read what I said to him? (Job 38-42) Perhaps you should read it again. And, have you considered my Son, Jesus. Who left all of heaven with all of its glories to suffer trials and temptations like no other man (even you). A man of sorrows who can fully sympathize with your weaknesses, yet without sin. And a man who, on the cross, asked 'why?' Now there's something you can relate to! And what was the answer. Well, in that moment, there was no answer. But you know that answer, Erin, don't you? The answer is 'for you.' You're not supposed to know the answers to every question life leads you to pose (and there will be many). I am supposed to know the answer and here's the thing: I do. You are supposed to trust in me and when you doubt my love or goodness, you're supposed to go to the cross, over and over and over again, where my love for you is forever and indelibly written in the most precious ointment ever fashioned: the blood of my precious Son. It is a healing balm for the troubled heart and mind. So, Erin, stop with your fussing. Enough with your anger (put it away). Quit demanding answers that you are not even equipped to understand and run instead to my cross, which was a tree of death to my Son, but which is a tree of life to you. Eat the fruit of his body and blood and come home, my son, to the Father who loves you, who collects all of your tears in his bottle (Ps. 56:8) and who promises one day to wipe them all away (Rev. 21:4) as I reveal to you the great beauty of your life as it finally finds its place in my picture. There, the colors and hues and odd, nonsensical shapes will suddenly make sense. And there you will stand in awe of how I can take even the darkest, most evil, awful things (like the unjust murder of my own Son, for example) and, out of them, bring light and beauty and goodness and life. Come home, my daughter. Do not delay."
I pray that I will continuously be reminded of these truths. I had a CT scan of my kidneys and an MRI of my brain a few days ago. I read this during the days that I was awaiting the results of those tests. My life could have, once again, taken a dramatic turn. But what seems dramatic to me would have just been one small blip in the scheme of things. One more small way that Christ wanted to show his glory.
Thankfully those tests came back with no metastatic disease. Praise the Lord! I will have a couple more tests next week. I would appreciate continued prayers as I get those tests done and prepare for my reconstructive surgery on May 1st.