God is good. God is personal. And God is completely in control.
As I have grown older, these three things have slowly but surely come into question. Really without me noticing, as unexpected difficulties, failures, heart breaking knowledge of worldwide issues, and strange seasons of my life came and went, I did not lose my faith in God but I lost my faith in God’s character.
I have stubbornly held onto faith and the grace of the cross, the Word, obedience and a prayer life, and my hope of Jesus’s return. But I didn’t realize until this past year that I had wandered from these rock solid pieces of His character–that He is good , that He is personal, and that He is completely in control. It actually hurt to believe these things. It hurt to say them to other people. It hurt to find out that I didn’t believe them like I used to. Because if I believe He is truly good, then I must believe that everything He allows into our lives He sees as good at least in the end. If I believe He is truly personal, then that means that He is fully “in the know”, nothing escapes His view. And if I believe He is truly in complete control, then we all have a lot of questions.
I’m sure I have even doubted if He loves us. Really.
And I want to say three things about these confessions…
#1 The enemy of our souls loves it when we use “sight” (or the lack of it) to rearrange our faith. I was reading in a Martha Kilpatrick Bible study about how Satan used those lies on Eve in the garden…”God is withholding something from you, so He’s not good. There won’t be consequences for this, because He’s not really in control.” Somebody has won when we start basing our lives on these suggestions, and it isn’t God…and it isn’t us either.
#2 Faith is a choice, and we aren’t forced into the fold. He is generous and kind, but I think He is heartbroken that people such as myself are saying we love Him but are not believing–really deep down– these basics of His character! I am telling you now, I want to be one of those fools out there believing God is good, all powerful, and present, standing in the middle of tsunami damage, standing in the middle of war, poverty, come what may. Because He is. And when the day comes that He explains Himself, not that He has to, but if He does, I want to have been on His side! I want to have been faith-full.
#3 As completely against American culture as this is, life becomes much, much simpler and we become much more content when we believe–by faith, by ridiculous faith–that He always is and always will be these things I have mentioned. Why? Because we can enter into His rest. Faith is a sanctuary for the foolish. Let them say it; it’s true! We enter into a rest that the world can never have when we believe His Word and His character. All of a sudden things are clearer, because we see what is our responsibility and what is not.
#4 One more thing that may help explain–or dare I say make it easier to believe–these things about God is that contrary to popular opinion, and contrary to the beliefs of my first, um, 32 or so years of life, God’s greatest intentions and plans and purposes aren’t exactly about us or for us. They are for His Son, Jesus. Again, I must mention Martha because she has taught me so much. She says she used to think: “God loves me and has a great plan for my life.” Then she says, “But while those things are true, now I believe a little different. What I see my focus should be on now is that God loves His Son and has a great plan for His Son. I fit into that plan but it isn’t for me or about me.” I think of the song I wrote: “You’re writing my history one word at a time with Your glory in mind, and that’s okay with me.” It wasn’t necessarily wrong, but for me, I am with Martha. When I first heard her say this, I thought, “Isn’t that the same thing??? His plan for my life was supposed to be all about Him.” But I get it now. The focus was still on MY life. What God would do with Lyndsay Taylor…my legacy, the impressions I left behind, my effectiveness. The Holy Spirit had to explain to me the difference. The difference is wonderful, and leaves a lot of room for the beauty of community instead of individualism, the beauty of humility instead of pride, the beauty of equality instead of competition in the church body.
Let us wait up all night for the Bridegroom, lamps full. It’s a long night ahead and we need grace to believe the best about Him. He will certainly surpass our greatest hopes.