Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Frustration, Disapointment, and Life's Problems

I was at a meeting of some very dear friends this weekend. We went around the room and told the good news of our lives and then our prayer requests, which in actuality is where we tell our "bad" news, how we are frustrated, disappointed, or hitting a wall we just can't get over or around.

I love these women so much and have been praying and reflecting on their requests with these quotes echoing in my mind as a response. Believe me, I am not pointing fingers. I was one of that circle and had my own good and bad news (right along with prayer requests). Will these quotes help? I don't know. All I know is I couldn't get them out of my head so am sharing them here.
... One thing that you learn as you progress in the spiritual life is that God is a God of perfect timing. Since he is able to see the "big picture," he knows just when you should move on and when you should stay where you are. And sometimes before you move on he has to "arrange" a thousand different details in order to make that move possible. That arranging takes time.

People who travel frequently on airplanes know just what I mean, because they have experienced the frustration of "circling." Usually this happens near the end of the flight, just when you're most anxious to get off the plane ... you've gone into the dreaded holding pattern... The point is that, despite the frustration of the passengers, and despite the pilot's ability to freely control his aircraft, another entity -- air-traffic control -- has made an over-riding decision to prevent the plane from landing. And there's just nothing that anyone can do about it.

The very same thing often happens to us in life. We can decide what we want to do and where we want to go, but God is still in charge of "air-traffic control." He sees everything on his omniscient radar screen -- the weather, the airport, all the other planes in the area. Sometimes, for reasons he may or may not disclose, he decides that the best thing for us to do is remain in a "holding pattern." While we're busy circling, he's busy clearing obstacles, solving problems and moving people around until things are just right. Then and only then does he permit us to come in for a safe, smooth landing.
Is the Lord going to use you in a great way? Quite probably.

Is he going to prepare you as you expect? Probably not. And if you're not careful, you will look at the trials, the tests, the sudden interruptions, the disappointments ,the sadness, the lost jobs, the failed opportunities, the broken moments, and you will think, He's through with me. He's finished with me. He's finished with me, when in fact He is equipping you.
Charles Swindoll
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building up a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity
So often the dreams we have are all about us and our desires and insecurities and vanities. They don't take God's wishes into the slightest account. Everyone has heard stories about unhappy movie stars, drug-addicted rock stars, disgraced public officials, and suicidal authors. All these folks achieved their dreams and yet they all came to the same unfortunate end. Why? One of the reasons is probably that their dreams did not coincide with their real purpose. They wanted something so badly -- maybe it was fame, maybe it was riches, maybe it was power -- but they failed to consider that perhaps this was the last thing they really needed, the last thing God had destined them for. Instead of trying to ascertain God's will through prayer and discernment, they essentially "forced" their key into a lock it was never meant for; they twisted it, struggled with it, pushed and jammed it -- until finally it broke off.

There's no need for that ever to happen to us. God knows the deepest desires of our hearts. He knows what will give us the greatest pleasure and the most profound happiness. Remember, he's the one who created us -- he's the one who crafted the key -- so he knows best what kind of lock it will fit into.

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