what i got instead

So after I wrote about floating a couple of weeks ago, I kept thinking about floating. The fact that it works.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.

If I stretch myself out on the water, I will float.

Water can't change the rules.

And it seems like such a great picture of the character and promises of God.


Faithful.  True.  The Resurrection.  The Way.  The Beginning.  The End.

Nothing can separate.

And I believe these things are true.

But here's the thing that happens to me.  I get out on the water, eyes on the prize, and I sink.

And I think I'm trusting God and following His Will and then I'm sucking salt water.

So it makes me wonder.

What is faith, anyway?  This substance of things hoped for, this evidence of things unseen.

Isn't it supposed to DO something?  Solve problems?  Shut the mouths of lions?  Put armies to flight?  Heal people?  Protect my kids?  Get my friend a job?

Why am I not just floating through life with the greatest of ease?

It's so easy to listen to the insidious voice of the accuser:  you're not doing it right.  Pray harder.  Read your Bible better.  Trust more.

But there are things that are just so big, so painful, so inexplicable.  Times when we know we didn't do anything wrong--in fact, we were doing everything right.  But here we are, in the pit.

Facing a Diagnosis.

Dealing with the consequences of somebody else's sin.

Living with life problems that just won't go away.

Just trying to get up out of bed and make it through the day.

The other day, somebody said to me, "Don't give me that answer about God being bigger than we know, and having answers we don't understand."

And he's right.  It's such a bad answer, from any human perspective.

But it's also the only answer I know.

That God is infinitely bigger than I am.

And that His love is infinitely bigger than I can understand.

And that His redemption is at hand, always.

Even when things are terrible, and I am sinking like a rock.

And so, I circle back to this again:  it's not about me.

When I am doing nothing wrong, and when I am doing everything wrong, His love encompasses me, always and forever.

That's what never fails, never goes wrong:  His Love.

I won't always float well.  I will thrash, I will flail, I will sink.

And, for me, the only way to get past this is to live through everything being exactly how I didn't want it, and then being able to look back and say, "Oh.  Redemption."

Whether I float well or not, God redeems.

And that experience builds the kind of faith I want to have.  The kind of faith that lets go and lets God.  No matter what.

I love this song by Sarah Groves.  It reminds that God has better things for me than I can ever dare to think, hope, or dream.

Even--and maybe even especially--when it's not what I wanted.


Tuxedo in the closet, gold band in a box Two days from the altar she went and called the whole thing off What he thought he wanted, what he got instead Leaves him broken and grateful

I passed understanding a long, long time ago And the simple home of systems and answers we all know What I thought I wanted, what I got instead Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful

I keep wanting you to be fair But that's not what you said I want certain answers to these prayers But that's not what you said

When I get to heaven I'm gonna go find Job I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows About what it is he wanted and what he got instead How to be broken and faithful

What I thought I wanted What I thought I wanted What I thought I wanted What I thought I wanted

Staring in the water like Esop's foolish dog I can't help but reflect on what it was I almost lost What it was I wanted, what I got instead Leaves me broken and grateful

I'm broken and grateful I want to be broken and grateful I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful

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