Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cheerful Disappointment

It was an awesome season in  my life!  I was the strongest in my Faith at any time in my life. I was digging into the Word with passion. Instead of watching Sportscenter first thing in the morning, I was reading my Bible. Instead of watching cartoon network after work, I was marking up the margins of my bible with new insights. I dusted off the concordance and was "discovering" answers to questions I had noted in the columns years before. I was memorizing Scripture and singing Praise and Worship as I was banging around the house, even at work. I would even break out a song of my own while on the job or in the grocery store. Sometimes His love would be so great I would sing in Tongues. (I imagine this might have been odd to those who didn't know me, maybe even to those who did?) I was sharing Jesus with people, I was even praying for co workers right the spot. I was soaring! I was strong!

Man, it is easy to praise Him when things are going great.

During this time of strength, I made a few choices that would impact my life. I did not enter into these decisions lightly. I prayed about each one, I sought the advice of friends who knew me well enough to speak honestly with me. I 'confirmed' my decisions with Scripture. I was confidant that I was in "God's will."
And right now, I can strongly say that some of those decisions that I had made were my will!
It sucks having to admit that. I hurts even more as I am still digging out from some of the decisions I made. Periodically, I have had to stop myself from thinking about "what if", "I coulda" or "I shoulda".

Coulda?! Woulda?! Shoulda?!

If I am honest with myself and with Jesus, during a period of great strength I made poor choices but it was a season of pain and suffering that has strengthened my Faith and character the most.

Eventually, the poor choices that had all the 'signs' of being led by God, had proved to to not be of God. Looking back now with my perfect 20/20 vision, I recognize that even though the 'signs were there' His Peace wasn't.  Now I had come to a point in my Faith, in my life, the Joy was gone and I was more than disappointed, I was depressed, bitter, resentful and hateful with myself and with God. How my bud Ray and my little sis Kristy stuck it out with me is a testament to their Love and Faith. How I got through it I can only be attributed to Jesus. 1Timothy 2:13

I went to church on one Sunday morning with my son Logan, who was 3 1/2 at the time. That actually was a huge first step for me, because I was so upset with God that I didn't want to waste my time at another Sunday "dis-service".  Then I got lost looking for the church I wanted to visit. Like a majority of churches, 10:00 a.m. is the required start time, so with time running out, I gave up searching for that church. Instead, I pulled into a church that I had attended previously, many years ago when they held Saturday night services.

By this time I was irritable and I imagine it showed on my face because, the greeters and ushers let me walk by without the usual questions of "Is this your first time here?" "What's your name?" "Do you have our visitors packet?" Looking back at it now, I think one of them pretended not to see me outta fear.

When worship began, I was tossing around all sorts of criticisms in my mind. As usual the sound was at concert level and the worship team wasn't leading the body in worship, but more so, they were performing for the congregation. Then, after one song, the band stopped playing and announcements were given and the beggar's pots, errrr, collection baskets were passed around. It's interesting to me how often Worship of Jesus will get interrupted for announcements, collections, introductions and such, but I have yet to see a sermon interrupted for the same tasks.
By this time I was wanting to split! But I felt like Holy Spirit was asking me to stay. So as I am singing through a clenched jaw, fighting back tears. I become overwhelmed with all the mistakes I had made that led me to this time of darkness. I wanted to bolt out of there so bad, but I stayed. I would like to say that is was me that made the decision to stick it out, but I know that it was His strength that enabled me to "endure". And then the song Blessed Be Your Name appeared on the overhead screen. Only by the strength of the Spirit that I was sealed with, was I able say to myself, "He is worthy of my praise! I am gonna praise God!"

It aint easy blessing Jesus when life sucks!

But it is so much easier to bless Him in difficult times,
than trying to slug through the slop and slime of life without Hi,
trying to dig myself out of my sin and mistakes.

Since then I have come to learn to recognize Holy Spirit's leading more clearly. I have now a greater discipline to accept God's direction. I don't just accept 'signs' as His confirmation, I need His Peace to confirm the signs.  I understand that when He says wait, I better put the brakes on. When He says move, I better not hesitate.

After all, He is God and I am not!

Now, I am still a flawed man that can be overcome by selfish motivations and stubbornness. Both of which limit Holy Spirit's influence upon me, as well as my desire to do what He suggests. I will get out of line with His direction, His will. By having gone through the desert, I have learned to trust Him, to know that He wants to guide me. By praising Him because He is worthy and not because I felt happy enough to do it, I said to Jesus "Not my will, but Your will!"

Yeah, it was and is cool to have the love of Jesus so strong in my life that I can't contain it. But what is even more cool, is that I now can and will praise Him when life seems tough and unfair. No matter what happens in my life, no matter what I do, Jesus is on the Throne and He will remain there until God says otherwise. Dad has given me a will of my own and it is my choice, in good times as well as bad, to say God, blessed be YOUR name.


David said...

Missing God - that's an interesting point of view. Well thank God that you tried! So many Christians put parts of their lives in "you ain't going there, Daddy" basket.

And yes, blessed be His name!

Linda said...

Convicting blog!

photogr said...

Ah Men.