2011-07-13 - Wondering What God Is Up To
Is 55:8-11 (NIV) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from Heaven, and do not return to it without watering the Earth, and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Question to Consider: How do you respond when it seems like God is not doing things the way you think He should? What does the Bible teach us about how to respond?
I recently met a woman in her 60s who is caring for a relative with profound physical and mental disabilities. She has to do a lot for this family member, and doesn't get much back in terms of interaction. It was obvious to me that, though this caretaking wasn't easy, she took a lot of joy in it and was very attentive to this other person's needs. She didn't seem to find the responsibility burdensome, as many would.
I was touched observing her sensitivity and sweetness towards the loved one that depends on her for even the smallest of daily needs. As we talked, I found out the reason for her attitude of devotion and cheerfulness. We were talking about Mother's Day, and she said, "I never would have believed I'd finally have the chance to be a mother in my 60s, but that is what I feel like now." We talked about Elizabeth, Sarah, and Hannah - and how old they were when God gave them children.
The person with disabilities is not her child, and did not come to her as a baby or toddler. She is not literally this person's mother. She was referring to the type of relationship they have. Though her relative is an adult, her physical and mental development is that of a young child, and she will never progress beyond this childlike state. She needs the types of assistance and close supervision usually given to those much younger. Though the relative is not her offspring, in His way, God gave this woman someone who needed the nurturing, love, and patience she had always longed to give to a biological child. She considers that an unexpected blessing, and is glad to be in the role of devoted and gentle caregiver.
I found her words and actions, in regards to her loved one, a beautiful testimony to how God works in ways we can't understand. This woman sees the special person she looks after, and her role as caregiver, as a gift from God and a chance to experience something very similar to how literal mothers feel and behave. Rather than feeling resentful or put upon, she is thankful to God to have this relationship - and the unique opportunities that come with it. She sees it as God's answer to the longings of her heart and an answer to prayer.
My new friend's attitude about her situation made me think about my own response when God doesn't manage things the way I think He should. I hope that, in the future, her example will remind me to be on the lookout for how God may be working in a way that is different from what I might have expected. IF I look for how God is working in a situation, I just might be surprised by what He's up to. If I get too caught up in my own questions or in what I don't like about what's happening, I may miss the opportunity to see the special way God is working it "for good." It is better to get curious and open to what God has to teach me. I know nothing happens by accident, and that no experience is without purpose, so I can wait and wonder and try to look for positives. When we do this, we just might find ourselves blessed in a way we never would have fathomed, or thanking God for something we previously only saw as bad. May my friend's testimony be a reminder of these things to you, as well.
Lord, thank You that You are always at work to teach us, and that You want to bless us. We don't always understand Your ways, but we know we can trust You. Help us to always seek the lessons and the hidden blessings in life's circumstances, knowing nothing happens to us by accident. In Jesus' Name, Amen.