Yesterday was my birthday. I awoke with a great sense of peace; which was quite remarkable seeing that my previous evening was filled with sadness and frustration. Sadness at learning about the state of a person I love’s life and frustration that I fried my laptop and lost six weeks of sermons. Please refrain from asking when I last backed-up… as I’ve been asked enough! :-)
Being inside of my brain can be quite frightening at times – it never seems to rest from processing, seeking, and chatting with God. I had spent the previous evening chatting with a friend to process my thoughts about the sadness I was feeling. I ran through several “maybe if I had…” scenarios; doing this more to confirm that how it had all played out was truly God’s ultimate plan. But I needed to make sure I did not miss something. That I wasn’t carrying around some unneeded guilt. That there was not a lesson I needed to learn in this, yet.
But the ultimate question was this…
“Do I feel guilty that I am at such a peace-filled place in life?”
Really? Guilty? Maybe I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty?
God has so clearly told me, on many occasions, the reasons and given glimpses into His plan. Why would I feel the need to feel guilty about being in a place of peace? Seriously… I don’t understand my psyche most of the time!
So I wake up yesterday morning, my birthday morning, and I am guilt free for the peaceful place in my life. All is well with my soul. I was thinking about the difference a year birthday has made in my life. As I am journaling, I ask God…
"Is my life is anywhere close to the blueprint He had when He formed me in my mother's womb? Am I living my life anywhere close to what He had in mind??"
I do some writing about that and then set about to reading scriptures and devotions. My questions were answered in a way that only the Spirit of God can answer and through the voices of an ancient and a modern prophet.
Henri Nouwen: "God's love for us is everlasting. That means God's love existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. It is an eternal love in which we are embraced."
Nehemiah Chapter 9. "But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Because of your great compassion you did not abandon the Israelites in the desert. You did not cease to guide them by a pillar and a cloud. You gave them Your Spirit to guide and You provided manna and water." (my paraphrase)
Such perfect words from scripture and from Henri to follow up and answer my questions of God! Am I anywhere near His blueprint? Well, just as God never fully or directly answers Job’s unending questions, God doesn’t directly answer mine. But what He does is even better.
God points Job and Tress back to God. Back to Who God is. The minute details and the simple answers are bigger than our finite minds could understand.
But what I can understand is this: Whether I am close to the original blueprint - or not- He loves me with an everlasting and all encompassing love that is based on Who God is… and not what Tress does.
God will continue to guide me on this path of life... When I am on His path AND if I'm not… He'll guide me back to it… if I allow.
He is providing for me regardless. I have abundantly more than 2/3 of the world’s population. How upset can I get that I have to buy a new computer? I have a home the Lord has provided as a peace-filled refuge for me and for many others. I am fed and clothed and am surrounded by so many amazing fellow sojourners of the faith.
I have all of this in spite of myself. Because I know many times I have not stuck to the divine blueprint so well. The Israelites, for all their idol worshiping and whining, certainly did not resemble God’s original blueprint for them, and yet… He did all of those things… providing their manna and bread and repeatedly wooing them back to His plan for their journey.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (MSG): “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you and bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.”
God is in the minutia of life. The details of His plan and blueprint are precise. And He will continue His construction work even if I stray from the plan. YOU CAN COUNT ON IT!
So… I need neither to fret about yesterday nor to be anxious about tomorrow. He has done all He said He would do… regardless that I might have not.
As my heart was smiling at that trail of thoughts yesterday morning, God spoke these beautiful words to my soul…
"Enjoy your peace today Tress. It is My birthday gift to you. Don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Rest and praise today. It’s been a good year for Us."
I wrote those beautiful words in my journal. Opened up Facebook and was greeted by this quote by St. Augustine…
"The Holy Scriptures are our letters from Home."
AMEN!! They certainly were yesterday morning!
So… yes I am at peace. There are choices others are making and struggles loved ones are experiencing that saddens me greatly. God is allowing and working in it all for His purpose, when allowed. I can be at peace finally. I have welcomed the Holy Spirit to fill me with a peace that surprises all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
My computer may die and all my savings may be gone. I may have to rewrite six sermons. And not only am I at peace… I have realized I am filled with such joy! A joy that has flooded my soul regardless of plenty or want, regardless of circumstances. I will rejoice always in the Lord! (Philippians 4)
I close with some beautiful follow-up words through the LOOP devotional this morning…
“What if I told you the plan I have for you is not for you to worry about? What if I told you there is only a small part you can understand of all the things I know and the things I want you to know and the things you don’t need to be concerned with?... Here is what you need to know: I love you, and I never forget you. Your life is my preoccupation. You are a part of my plan for this world, which I love and which I desire to heal and bring to life and have know Me.”
You and I GET to be a part of His Divine Blueprint plan! He loves us with an Everlasting Love regardless if we get every plumb line straight and screw fastened tight. It may look different. But it is our journey.