I spent over an hour last night in the grocery store. My list only had 12 things on it, but still I walked up and down the aisles in a daze. I wasn’t even thinking about anything specifically but it was more a a plodding, processing rhythm.
Moving again. Moving again. Oooh, new yogurt!…. Moving again.
I found beef jerky chocolate bars, and kumquats on sale. I didn’t buy either, but I found myself curious on both accounts.
Also they keep moving the raisins. I hate that. Make up your mind grocery store dictators: Are we keeping them in produce? Baking? By the Canned peaches? I’m already on the verge of madness as it is, can you just keep the raisins put pleaseandthankyou?
I like here. I’ve figured out here (I know where the raisins are, this week.) Why does it have to change again? What is God up to? Why God, why get all settled, have us fall deeply in love with this sense of home, only to mix it all up again after less than a year?
These are questions God doesn’t really answer.
If you ask him how you should love people or to help you be more generous he’s all over those answers, he wrote a whole book about it.
But, if you ask “why” about the hard stuff of your life he just sits with you on that, whispering something that can’t be put into words but somehow centers around a thousand intertwined strings of moments all focused on bringing his healing love to the world through your life.
Life’s journey has a deep purpose that is so complicated, I long ago declared it above my pay grade and training to understand.
I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about God’s will lately.
It usually goes something like this: “Well God’s will obviously isn’t for you to stay in Grand Rapids, he obviously wills to move you guys again. You just need to be okay with that.”
When people say this to me, I feel like it’s the spiritual equivalent of a parent saying “Because I said so.”
“Why are we moving? This is hard and my heart is hurting.”
“Because God said so, and he’s God. That’s why.”
“Thanks. For that.”
When we oversimplify God’s will It paints God as being a frustrated parent, trying to teach a lesson the hard way.
It also sounds really black and white and over simplifies someone’s struggle, glazing right over how much they are hurting.
I think it’s more helpful to say:
“Hey, this is really hard and I know you’re trying to figure out what God is up to here, but those answers are rarely, if ever, obvious. God’s meta-plan is above our ability to untangle, but that doesn’t mean he’s not here, with you in this. And it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you, he does, so much. This will be okay even if you never figure out why it was written into your story. So, how can I be God’s love for you? Do you want a latte? Let’s get a latte and talk about life and all the things that are worrying you. We can cry and laugh and shake our heads about how really, truly crazy it all is. In a way our conversation can be a prayer, all the worries you share will be lighter if we share them.”
Instead of preaching God’s will to the confused people, let’s just go and be God’s love in their lives. Let’s answer their prayers with our presence and let’s just stop pretending that life and faith are black and white and easy to explain away.
Be with people, buy them lattes, show them where the raisins are. It’s not God’s meta-will but it is what he taught us.
Go love, be gentle with the hurting, that is his will, we know that much for sure.
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