Our lives have just taken a major detour, and I’m discovering how very great God is in ways I just couldn’t see from the mountaintop.
In mid to late August, a bunch of things started unraveling in the life of a very close relative. We would have a role, and everything would turn upside down. We knew that. But there was so much more that we didn’t know. How would we proceed? What’s right? What’s smart? How do we protect those that need protecting?
During the initial shock, I knew I needed to pray, but didn’t really know how or what to pray for. Mine were wordless prayers mixed with tears. I thought back to a sermon Casey Coats had preached the previous month. It was his “Press Pause” sermon on July 7. I remember thinking that it was a good sermon. It was about Job, and how he handled his tragic losses. It was good for other people. I didn’t really have an application for myself at the time, but it came flooding back to me as I sat there wondering what to do, how to pray. I pulled out my computer, went to clifec.com and found that sermon again. This time I listened intently. What was it Casey said that Job did? After receiving his final blow, “Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground” and did the most remarkable thing: he worshiped. (Job 1:20)
Worship was not my first response to our situation, but from my long-term memory arose a fragment of a song: “Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise.” (Psalm 22:3) If I wanted God in this situation, I would have to join Job on my face and praise my Lord. I love hymns, and began singing the ones that jumped into my heart – Holy, Holy, Holy; Great is Thy Faithfulness; How Great Thou Art. And the peace that transcends understanding began to guard my heart and my mind. (Phil 4:7).
I’ve written before about how I seem to be able to tell stories about my life with the “Christian” version, which includes Jesus, or the other version, which leaves God out and protects me from looking like a crazy person. This story cannot be told without invoking God. At every turn amazing and surprising things are happening: divine appointments, deceit revealed, people available that want to help, grace for each day, peace when there shouldn’t be. This is hard, make no mistake, but this detour, in which almost everything is out of our control, is giving me a front-row seat to the God Show. People ask me how I’m doing and the only thing that can come out of my mouth is “Well, we’re going through a bit of a rough patch, but God is so good! You think you know that God is good when things are going well. But you can’t really know how amazing he is until you are in the valley.”
This detour is changing my life. It is changing my faith. I hear songs encouraging people on a detour to just wait with faith, things will change. I’m here to tell you, you don’t know when or even if things will change for the better. However, the Lord is there. He is the blessing. Don’t wait for something out there in the future. Drive through the detour with your praise set on high, and look for the Father right where you are. You will be amazed.