Recovery: It's a God Thing
Tuesday February 21, 2017
by Teresa McBean
Scripture reading for today: Acts 25 – 26; Psalm 115
I met a high school senior recently for an expensive cup of coffee. I smiled as my young friend exclaimed, “I can’t wait to get to college! I am going to have so much freedom! I am so tired of my parents ordering me around all the time!”
I smile because I know her parents. They do take their job as parental units very seriously. I do know her mom likes to keep up with the laundry and regularly prepares meals that include not only a meat but veggies and homemade bread too. I also realize she tootles around in a cute little VW bug that is well maintained by a mechanically inclined dad. I’ve also noticed how faithfully her mom gets her to the orthodontist, the dentist, and the trendy salon in the city. I remember how her parents wanted her to go to the gifted school, but she wanted to stay at her local school. (She’ll be graduating from her local school.) I’ll never forget praying with her mom about a dangerous mission trip experience that this child felt called to take. (She took it and survived it; she also didn’t have to take out a loan to pay for it.) I even remember how desperately her older siblings wanted her to follow in their footsteps in the school band. (She thrived in the arts department.) I can’t say that I saw a lot of “ordering around” going on in that family.
I can’t wait until next October. If this precious thing is anything like my children, she’s going to return home with a lot more appreciation for the life she left behind. I’ll bet she’s going to love those laundry baskets being magically filled with clean clothes, her favorite dishes for dinner, and an opportunity to just let her family take care of all the messy details of daily living. She’s going to love it.
That’s what “coming to believe” is like. It’s coming to realize that if we will allow our heavenly Father to parent us, we will be able to relax about the details.
Consider what we’ve been reading about Paul. Stuck in prison, pleading his case, God gives him a vision for going to Rome. I suspect that Paul would have loved to go first class on a mission trip. But instead, he gets sent to Rome because he’s still in prison and no one can decide quite what to do with his case. Paul could have been fretting away, chafing for his freedom. But instead, Paul was at peace, knowing who was in control.
Peaceful and passive are two different things. As peaceful as Paul was, he was actively seeking to do God’s will even in prison. He was part of the process, not feeling like a pawn in God’s complex game of life. He knew he had a part, and he relied on God to show him when and how to step. This is a far easier way to live than making it up as we go and foolishly thinking that’s freedom.
…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation…For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NLT
I think contentment is the by-product of “coming to believe” in a God who has our best interests at heart, even though at any moment his provision is mysterious and not easily recognizable in the seen world.