“That is NOT okay!” I took a deep gulp and turned my head in the direction of the angry female voice, a few feet away from where I stood at the Starbucks counter. Embarrassment flushed my skin a deep red, and I began to form an apology for my unintended rudeness: Directly asking the woman behind the counter for a refill of hot water, instead of returning to the end of the line...
When to my great relief, I realized that the frustrated woman was not scolding me, but her active little daughter for running back and forth in a crowded area with many hot drink holders.
But in addition to causing me to question what I know about American Starbucks etiquette, this encounter also made me wonder, How many times have I wanted to voice my opinion in a similar way?
That is NOT okay!
I don't like the way this situation is turning out, God.
Can you write a different ending to this story please?
My sister gave us The Early Reader's Bible for Christmas, and Daniel picked out the story of Job for me to read to him a few days ago. I interjected some questions into the story as we went along to see if he was following and understanding. We were reviewing what the first man came to tell Job, and Daniel quickly repeated the “Job! Job!” intro of his message. “Bad people took away some of your animals,” I filled in for him. “Then what did the second man say?” I asked Daniel. “Job! Job!” Daniel exclaimed with feeling. Then he added his own compassion for poor Job: “You okay?”
What if the man had been compassionate and asked Daniel's question to Job before pouring more bad news on top of the first? Can you handle this Job? Are you ready for more bad news?
And what if Job had answered, “No, this is NOT okay!”
The second man came to tell him:
“Some of your other animals were killed. And your helpers were killed too.”
Then another man ran up to Job. “Your children were all killed,” he said.
Job was so sad.
“God gave me all these things,” Job said. “Then God took them from me. But they belonged to God.”
Then Job became sick.
Satan was doing all this to hurt Job.
He wanted Job to turn away from God.
But Job would not turn away from God. He said “I will love God at all times.”
I want to be like Job, don't you? When life completely falls apart and nothing at all makes sense, to cling to God like never before. To trust that all that I have and all that I am belongs to God, and He knows what He's doing.
In Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb writes. “We dream lower dreams and think there are none higher. We dream of good marriages, talented kids, enough health and money to enjoy life, rewarding work, and an opportunity to make a difference in the world.
All good things. Of course we want them. But we think they're the best things...
The greatest blessing is no longer the blessing of a good life. It never was. It is now the blessing of an encounter with God. It always has been...
But we don't view things that way. So God goes to work to help us see more clearly. One way He works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn't make it better. We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we're aware we want Him to do.
In fact, what He's doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we can feel our strongest passions.
It's there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life...
The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It's an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, an encounter with Himself.”
So when our lives are emptied, with broken pieces of dreams and nothing feels okay anymore, we are left with God Himself. Which turns out to be so much greater than our dreams, if we choose to see it that way. It takes the shattering our lower dreams to discover the best that God wants to give us.
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)