“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?‘ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.“
To be honest, this is the first time in a really long time when I haven’t wanted to write. It’s only been two weeks, but getting away from the computer and getting back into school has shaken me up a bit. This just feels a little foreign, so forgive me if this is a bit all over the place. I’m not sure what’s going to come out today.
Something I’ve been celebrating so much these days is the fact that I’ve been doing better than I have in such a long time. I can say with confidence, “Hey, I’m doing well!” And that was a work the Father did that I will forever be thankful for. Because I sure did spend a lot of last semester kicking and screaming and dragging my heals, especially with God and with Colton, because things weren’t going the way I wanted and I thought that was wrong. I didn’t want to be doing long distance for our entire engagement (and many days I still don’t). I didn’t want things to be hard. And even though I had heard from the Lord that it would be a time of refinement (Job 23:10), I still fought it the entire time. I was really angry, and I wanted everyone to know it.
But yesterday, I stumbled across this verse (Ecclesiastes 7:9-10, above) in a devotional I’ve been reading, and it hasn’t left my mind yet. Because I do that all the time. I look back at the former things, and then point my finger at God and say “what the heck!” Because that season or situation seemed so much better than whatever I have now. Even though I am a huge believer is C.S. Lewis’s quote that says, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind,” I think we all know that it’s often times much easier to rely on the comfort of old times instead of bravely hoping for our future. Because hope is a risk. Joy is a risk. Contentment in our situation, even when we hate it, is a risk.
I think it’s so interesting that the verse says that it’s not wise to ask such questions, questions that undermine what God is doing today, in this season of our lives. Why is that so unwise? It’s how I feel, so shouldn’t I make sure that God knows it? And while yes, there’s so much beauty in being honest with the Lord, I want to be honest without being ungrateful.
I had to get on my knees at a college worship night a week ago because it was one of those days where I was really angry that we are doing long-distance, and really just angry that I was being called to live outward, meaning that I was being called to care about others more than I even care about myself. And that’s a beautiful thing in theory, but quite hard when I get consumed in my own little world. But I went to the back of the room and got on my knees, and just poured out my heart to God, saying, “God, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want it to be this way.”
And softly, I felt his embrace in my spirit and two simple words:
And I believed Him. Because Jesus really does get it, even when we don’t think He does. He knows we have to go through seasons we don’t want to go through; He knows we have to do things we don’t want to do. But there is grace for the frustration, and the ache, and for every ounce of emotion we feel in these seasons. We don’t have to despise where we’re at or wish for the former things because we have a God who knows and deeply, deeply cares.
We can rest and rejoice, and be thankful for today. We can wait and hope with expectation for what is to come. But I sure don’t want to be a lover of God who looks back. Because by looking back, and resenting the present, I’m missing what the Lord is longing to do.
It’s a process, one I’m daily having to walk through. But slowly the Lord is turning the parts of stone in my heart that wish things were different into soft places, overflowing with thankfulness.
And like the current song that just won’t get out of my head, I believe He is good, and He’s never going to let me down (lyrics below).
May this season be for you a season of moving evermore towards thankfulness. He is good and He will not let us down.
“Let the King of my heart be
The mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from; Oh
He is my song
Let the Kind of my heart be
The shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life; oh
He is my song.
You are good, good, Oh
You are good, good, Oh
You’re never gonna let,
Never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let,
Never gonna let me down.
When the night is holding onto me
God is holding on.”
-“King of My Heart” by John Mark and Sarah McMillam