Friday, 7 March 2014

Standing Firm Through Change

Since I last shared on this blog, my life has changed.  Several times.  And it will continue to do so.  Shortly after my last post in November, I started working again.  God granted a job at a time when some large, unexpected expenses came up.  Then I worked for two and a half months and God opened the way for me to return to Staten Island for several weeks.  This came unexpectedly, but was also a big answer to prayer.  In the past few months, I have seen God answer prayer, provide in ways I didn't expect, and seen Him do exceeding, abundantly above all I could ever ask or think.

It hasn't been without challenges though.  It has come with difficulty, with trials of faith, some pain and tears mixed in with the testimonies of God's faithfulness and the fresh memories of people I met and served alongside.  I have seen life change quickly, and have again experienced not being able to see what God had for me past the end of the week.  And it has been very good for me.

In the season of change I'm in, I'm learning that Christ is the only solid rock I can stand on.  I have seen how much I trust and lean on things like a job, money, health, relationships, organized religion, my plans, and my dreams.  All these things can be taken away in an instant.  They can all be shaken at any time.  The things we possess can be snatched at any time.  The people we love and trust will disappoint us.  It's inevitable. 

And what happens to us when that happens?  Does our whole world seem to crash down around us?  What happens when you have to go months without an income?  What happens when the people you care about are led in a different direction?  What happens when you can't have your job back?  What happens when you lose your health?  What about if God chooses not to heal your friend or family member's cancer?  What happens on days you realize you have so little control over what happens in your life?  What about when your dreams of marriage and a family are not realized, while the love stories of your friends are being penned?  What about when you go home and you don't know where you're going next?

If you're leaning on these things, you will be very hurt when they're pulled away.  And you may not realize you're leaning on them until they are.  This is why I've learned afresh that I need to stand on Christ.  He is the only sure rock I can stand on that won't be shaken, the only person I can lean on that won't disappoint.  That doesn't mean that when other things in my life are shaken, that it won't hurt.  It will still hurt, perhaps incredibly so.  But I will find myself running to the feet of Jesus, clinging to Him, because I know His love and faithfulness is unchanging.  I can know that He stands ready to guide and carry me through the storm, to hold me close.  And I learn in times like this that my satisfaction needs to be wrapped up in Him alone, because everything else is temporal.

I can't know what the year ahead has for me.  I know that God will continue to do things this year that I would not have expected.  He has already done so much more than I could have expected.  But my hope, my joy, my trust, cannot be in any of the material things, relationships or opportunities He chooses to bless me with.  It must be in Him.

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.  I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.  I am ashamed of my lack of desire.  O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.  Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed.  Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.  Say to my soul, "Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away."  Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.  --A. W. Tozer

But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." --Luke 10:41,42 (ESV)