Monday, August 4, 2008

Not What We Expected

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Romans 11:33

Sometimes (okay, often) I have a hard time figuring out what God is up to. I try to follow Him. I do my best to seek His will. Yet, many days I step out in faith believing myself to be moving in the right direction only to find that nothing is turning out the way I had planned. Then, when things appear to be going wrong, I assume one of two things: either I made a mistake, or Satan interfered with the plan. It is possible that there is a third option. That is what I learned this weekend. The third option is this: God wants me to learn to trust in His goodness, His sovereignty, His faithfulness, and His ability to always and no matter what work all things together for good according to His purpose. Even if I blow it. Even if Satan is at work. Here is how I know:

Our dearest friends in Portland planned a gathering so that David and I would have an opportunity to share our vision for France with a large group of people. They made gorgeous invitations and planned an all-french menu. But as the day approached, no one was responding to the invitation. So here come my assumptions. Either we weren't supposed to be having this gathering, or Satan was keeping people from coming. But as we prayed, David and I felt like we wanted to get together with our friends, even if those hosting the party were the only ones who could come. So rather than cancel the event, they simplified. When we showed up Saturday night, we were greeted by fabulous chalk-art in the driveway. The friends who were there were the friends with whom David and I had been in a home Bible Study years ago when we lived in that area. They are the kind of friends who have seen you at your best and at your worst and they still love you. We laughed for hours, picking up as if David and I had never moved away. They asked us tons of questions about France, and we were able to tell them everything...even stuff that would not have really been appropriate to share with a larger group of less intimate friends. We would go from deeply moving conversations to bouts with hilarity without skipping a beat. And then, before we got up from the dinner table (where we had sat contentedly for over three hours) they told us they wanted to pray for us. Perhaps most precious to me was that NO ONE asked if they could pray, or even how to pray. They know us and our hearts so well that they didn't have to. They prayed effectively, lovingly, and with such ease, that it was immediately evident that Jesus himself had been in our midst the entire evening and we were simply turning the conversation His direction. He had shared in our laughter, and as we prayed, He was sharing in our tears. The evening was not at all what we had expected, but it was clearly better.

Thank you Lord, for orchestrating that evening NOT according to what we thought we needed, but according to what you knew we needed more.

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