So as many of you know – Justin was laid off two weeks ago. Truthfully – we thought this might be coming – we were in some ways “prepared” to hear this news. It is difficult to explain – but the position Justin was holding did not turn out to be what we originally thought it would be – and so it was not suited to his gifts and calling like we thought it would be when he accepted the position three years ago. We knew as well as the church did that he was not a fit and when they had to make cuts for financial reasons – we thought it might be his position that would be cut. So we had been looking and praying about the next step for a while.
I’d love to tell you that I handled the news of his layoff with grace and faith and peaceful conviction that all was well. But I didn’t. I was shaken. I realized, in that moment, how much my “faith” was in the constancy of a paycheck and the knowledge that I knew what our ministry looked like. I realized quickly, to my shame, that the fact that my husband was not fulfilling his calling, the fact that he is meant for something much more suited to him than what he was doing, the fact that he was ultimately unhappy – that all of that, for me, was less important than the security of him staying where he was. The security of same. My fear of change reared its very ugly head and I was shocked by it, and I was saddened not only by my lack of faith in our Father – but by my putting my comfort and security ahead of my husband’s calling. In marriage – selfishness is painfully apparent. It has been one of the lessons for me of being “one” with another person – I still often put my good first – and I have so far to go.
This morning as I was thinking about this – a verse came to my mind – “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” I looked it up – and it is the last verse of Psalm 121.
I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
It is the lesson of this season in my life. I do not have enough faith. I do not trust the heart of my Father enough. And it manifests itself in sin against not only God, but against others. When I feel backed into a corner, when I feel my “security” being threatened, the depths of my independence and selfishness is revealed. I’d love to tell you I have an answer for all of this. I’m sad to say I don’t. Although I know the key to finally, for once and for all, defeat this “sin that so easily entangles” – I still sin.
I know the truth – I know that, in Christ, I have victory. That not only do I not have the power to control anything – but I have the One in control living inside of me and if I’d only surrender to Him and trust Him – I wouldn’t have to feel this fear. Here’s my struggle – living out this knowledge everyday. It is so FUNNY that this is my struggle. That I, who am so weak and so NOT in control, am struggling to give over control to the God who is in control anyway. It reminds me of Grace. She is so like me. She is learning things – and has turned an interesting corner. When she was younger, we would teach her things and she would parrot us and learn from that. But in recent weeks, she has begun to think she knows more than we do. She will tell us that you spell red “ORED” – she will argue it. She will try to count to 20 and after 15 she says “14, 17, 14, 17, 20!” with great accomplishment. She is convinced she is right. And if we try to count to 20 correctly, she argues with us. We have laughed about it but it is SO WHERE I AM IN LIFE. I know so little. My vision is so limited. My intellect so minute. My perspective so warped by sin and selfishness. And yet I continue to think I know best.
Here’s the truth… even if Justin could go back – he wouldn’t. And when I am reasonable – I wouldn’t want him to either. It wasn’t the best – certainly wasn’t God’s best. What is in front of us is endless possibility and endless potential. This is a very good thing. Just because it is unknown doesn’t mean it is bad. In fact – in many ways – this was an answer to our prayer. I guess I just wanted this to all come wrapped in a nice little bow. I wanted him to find the perfect position where we move from “secure” to “secure.” But where is the faith in that? Where is the sense of total dependence on God? Where is the opportunity to trust? To leap?
This is truly what I want – I want God to grow bigger in my life. In my marriage. In our parenting. I want to know and acknowledge the provision and protection and healing and love and hope of Christ to a hurting world around me. And to KNOW that God – I need to depend on that God. And what better way than to watch Him make a way where there seems to be no way? When I read Psalm 121 again – I see that He is doing what only He can do – He made us, so he helps us; He doesn’t need sleep, so He watches over us when we can’t watch over ourselves; He protects us and shades us when we are powerless to protect ourselves; He is eternal and will outlive and outlast us, so He watches over us now and forevermore. He is BIG. He is GREAT. He is GOOD. He is LOVE.
So today I am again dropping off this burden I have no business carrying at the foot of the cross. And I will probably pick it back up again 50 times today – but I will work over and over at putting it down. This circumstance is not mine to fix. Not mine to control. If I tried I couldn’t work it out 1/100th the wonderful way I know He will. When I get past my sin and selfishness and fear – I see that this is an EXCITING time for us. God is going to work on our behalf and open doors and lead us somewhere incredible. I am so thankful that He doesn’t hold our sin against us. That because of Christ, my lack of faith doesn’t disqualify me from walking with Him. So today I confess this sin and repent of it and walk in the knowledge that the One who loves me and gave His life for me is in control of Me – and that is the safest place I could ever be.