We have been in Chico for 3 weeks tomorrow. Time has gone by pretty quick and to be totally honest I have been struggling. Who is it that said, "expectations are a recipe for resentment?", well that has been true of me these last days.
When I finally said yes to God when I thought this was what He wanted me/us to do, I felt as though He told me that I was leaving my desert and going into a sort of "promise land". For me that meant the wandering would stop, the manna would stop, the struggle would stop and there would be this provision flowing. I just assumed that within the first few days of being here God would provide a good job for Daniel and that all would just fall into place. I assumed that God would take us immediately to a wonderful church where we would make friends instantly and that it would all just happen. When none of that happened, my old friend "entitlement" came to sit around in my heart for a while. Actually I am still trying to evict him from my heart at the moment.
I thought, "hey Lord. We have fasted and prayed and obeyed you in faith, where is your provision you promise?" The constant disappointment has made me weary. The crushed hopes has left my heart broken. How are we going to pay rent next month? How are we going to buy groceries this week? Just thinking about it now makes me want to cry, because I don't know?
It reminds me of the second day that my knee dislocated and I sat there in excruciating pain knowing exactly what I was going to have to go through. We screamed and cried out to God to please put my knee back in place, this could not be happening again. But it was, and He didn't.
These are the moments that come down to choices. If I am honest my choice in these first couple weeks have been fear, disbelief, resentment, and discouragement. Why is life so unfair? Why does it seem like we can never get a win, and I mean, like....ever. It feels as though He has something against us, or is allowing the Enemy to constantly keep us down. I have tried to trust with all my heart, to leave my family, a great church, ministry, friends, and a place I loved living in dearly to follow God blindly. To trust His provision. And then when nothing measures up to my expectations my world comes crashing down and my faith crashes with it. That every day that we wake up and wonder if today might be the day he gets the call for a job, but then doesn't, that its another choice...keep believing or lay down and cry. I mean, it gets so silly to the point that he had a great job interview the day after we got here. They never called back for a week so we just assumed they went with another person. They called a week later to set up an interview for the next day. We were so excited, and waited on the HR lady to call back with the address for the second interview. When she called back she said he didn't have one qualification, so no, no second interview. I mean, seriously? This is what happens to us repeatedly. This raging sense of a battle, a battle for our faith. To abandon what we believe about God and who we claim Him to be in our lives.
What I also feel He showed me, however, before we left, was that Enemies stand on the promise land that God has already given. You have to fight for it. Joshua led those people across that Jordan and then the battles were on. Jericho, Ai, etc. they had to take the land God had for them and the reason they had to wander around so long in the desert before hand was not only were they in unbelief but they weren't ready for the battle.
The thing is though, that even their battles were all about belief, all about faith. God's war tactics are rarely logical. I mean march around the walls and yell, not likely God. Yet, that is what it took, and that is what they did, and that is what God used.
I look around at "everybody else" and just feel like why can't my life be more simple, like theirs? I don't think it's too much to ask for my husband to have a job that provides for us to be able to live in the society that we were born into? There is no logical reason why Daniel has not found a job. He has a degree, lots of experience, and is the most loyal and hard working man a company could ever be lucky enough to have. I know God is up to something, or allowing something, or teaching us something. I just don't get it and I don't want to march around the walls, I just want it to be over and I just want to stomp my feet and throw a fit because "why me?"
I am so tired of this battle, it's lasting far too long. I keep getting beaten down, wounded, and feel left for dead. I feel mocked for even believing that God will come through....
But here's the thing, clearly we must be some sort of threat. And the thing is, that I am a fighter. I might visit doubt, but I refuse to live there. My God has brought me too far and taught me too much for me to give in now. And this is what He is telling me to do in this fight, STAND STILL. He says Like He told the Isrealites who had been enslaved for 400 years and were leaving their captivity, only to realize the Egyptians were closing in on them. STAND STILL?? We know what those Egyptians are capable of, we know what they think like, how they act, we know what is coming for us. Being still doesn't seem like a good plan. How about I freak out and yell? How about I look up all the jobs I can? How about I be as grumpy as possible because life isn't fair and someone has to pay?
Exodus 14:13-14 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
He knows I am tired and prone to freak out, but He still asks me to stand. Stand some more, believe longer, trust again. Choose one more time, this day, that God will rescue when everything around me looks impossible. It's taking everything within me. It's easy to trust and believe God when we are in our comfortable, secure worlds, but it's in this place where if He doesn't come through, that's it. This is when faith becomes real, when it's not just a lovely feeling I sing about at church but a desperate holding onto His hand and mustering every ounce of beleif that I can, that even after all this time, He has not forgotten us. He still loves us and knows our situation and in fact is rescuing us and all the while teaching me what it means to be free, really free.
The truth is, I think I have come so far and pat myself on the spiritual back "Oh yes, so goldly, and so much growth" but then I get in this situation and all I can hear is my flesh screaming. Screaming for answers and bowing down to my slave master of fear.
Fear, he comes and visits me and tells me to get on my face and I so easily obey. How will you ever get those teeth fixed, oh you are in pain? Good! Grovel before me. And I do. Oh your son has that cough, not to mention that exzema, people think you are a horrible mother and better yet, you have no foreseeable way to help him. Does that scare you? Good, bow down. You will never have another good friend, be in an amazing church, or have another good thing happen to you again. Does that paralyze you? Good, on your face. And I bow down and worship all the things that I am afraid of and all the things that I am scared will happen or won't happen. Most of all I am scared that God will break my heart because fear tells me His is not trustworthy. And I just lie down in obedience to that.
But Faith, faith is believing in what we don't see and trusting that what God has said is more real than my experiences or my feelings. That I can't even trust my reality or what has been familiar to me as the bottom line, I have to put all my hope in God's word and that this is the truth. He says He will provide for His children. He says He has good for us and that He works all together for the good of those who love Him.
This morning at the church we visited, the pastor even spoke about being free from the slavery of fear. He said several times, "Don't surrender your freedom." And then we sang a song that said
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am child of God
How exasperating would it be if my kids were always worried about how I was going to make dinner, when, what it would be. If they concerned themselves and doubted my love for them because they weren't given a menu beforehand. That would just be silly. But that is what I do to the Lord. He loves me, I am His child. He is going to take care of me and I don't have to surrender to my fear and let it hold me captive when I am free to believe God with my whole heart, no matter how naive or simple it might even feel to me.
So many times God told His people be strong and courageous. He knows our proclivity to fear and worry. These verses popped out to me yesterday and I claim this in my season of uncertainty, of waiting, of being tempted to bow down to fear rather than standing calmly before the God I know see's and cares for me.
"Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord.Be brave and courageous, Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14
, by Ashley Jackson