Saturday, November 29, 2014

Whatever Comes

We celebrated Thanksgiving last night with 6 friends. Charly asked each of us to share a name that we would give to God right now, and to share something difficult that we've been through recently and how we can thank God for it.

I shared about how challenging it has been for me to teach Daniel at home. And that after checking out three local preschool/kindergartens, I found one that was willing to take him in their 5 year old class for a reasonable price. Yesterday was his third day. 

The first day when I picked him up, the director and his teacher both seemed amazingly patient and understanding. But the second day, his teacher was quite frustrated with how many times he needed to go to the bathroom and how he disruptive he was to the 20 some other children during nap time. Laughing out loud for no reason and talking to himself. “Why is he like that?” she asked me.

I'm not sure that kindergarten is going to work for him,” I told Charly after dinner. And my heart felt incredibly heavy. In my discouragement, I projected into the future that maybe he will never be able to make it in a classroom. Never be able to follow along with what other children are doing. Always in his own little world. Disruptive. Not able to make progress. What would this mean for him? For our family?

My word for God was “Sustainer.” I shared last night that I believe God doesn't want me to project into the future like that, but to take one day at a time. One of our friends shared how he remembered the miracle after miracle that we saw God do in Daniel's life last year. “Yes,” I said. “This time last year, he was in diapers and couldn't talk. He had just learned how to feed himself and to walk again. I need to keep remembering how far God has brought him.” How easy it is to forget all the great things that God has done in the past. And to focus instead on the present problems. I'm trying to see past suffering to the greater good God works through pain and the difficult circumstances in our lives that we can't understand.

As I read Philip Yancey's Where is God When it Hurts? this past week, these quotes made me think about Daniel and his struggles:

“More than any society in history, our modern one struggles with the meaning of suffering. We no longer view it as a judgment of the gods, but what is it? We grant a measure of meaning to lesser pains, such as those we take on voluntarily, but what meaning does a birth-defective child have? Or cystic fibrosis? Or mental retardation? For us, suffering is something to treat and get over with; but what about suffering that never goes away?” (Philip Yancey)

“Despair is suffering without meaning.” (Victor Frankl, who spent time in one of Hitler's camps)

“And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

“Don't forget in the darkness what you have learned in the light.” (Joe Bayly)

“Whatever happens, even though it can't be undone and may have lasting consequences, God can redeem it.” (Philip Yancey)

This afternoon, as we were working on preparations for our second Thanksgiving meal tomorrow with some of Joshua's college student friends, Jordan played some of her favorite music. Listening to Brian Doerkson's Whatever Comes made me think of our sharing time last night. About the struggles everyone shared and how we could still thank God in the midst of hard times. And in the midst of many unknowns about the future. 

Other words for God were: Faithful, love, sovereign, compassionate, merciful, healer, provider, good.

And whatever comes, He will continue to be those to us.

In the good and the bad, He is God. And He is for us.

With us. Always.

Whatever comes.

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