Mystery Solved

Did I tell you I solved the mystery of the waterfall? (If you don’t know what I am talking about you can go to “notes” on my page and read about it.) It did not happen the way I had imagined, with me wondering through the woods on a secluded trail. I did not come to a bridge, which very few people know about and stand with waterfall mist blowing my hair. In fact, it was very anticlimactic. From the top, I climbed down one more ledge of rock and saw another platform, close to the bridge I had seen on a prior trip. It completely confirmed that it was the top of Dukes Creek Falls. I had resisted that explanation, because on the bridge I saw, the wood looked new. It appears now that what I saw was some repairs that had been done to an old structure on which I have stood probably a hundred times. Don’t get me wrong, Dukes Creek Falls is beautiful. I have written about it many times. It the place I runaway to when my life is overwhelming, you know the one with the little rock which holds up the huge boulder. But in my imagination, I had found a NEW place. It was the anticipation of that place that kept me hunting. When I recognized the place, I cannot tell you how disappointed I was. You would think to have the mystery solved would have been a relief, but it wasn’t solved in the WAY I wanted it to be.
Since God has been speaking to me recently about disappointment, I am not surprised at my reaction. A few weeks ago, I went to a church where Hannah had been doing some research for her senior thesis. The first song was one of my favorite worship songs, the scripture of the day was my life verse, Jeremiah 29:11, the first section of text was my favorite story of the woman with the alabaster jar. When this kind of thing happens, I listen. I was completely alert before the sermon even started. It was one of those times I knew God was speaking specifically to me. The topic on this morning was disappointment. It wasn’t anything new really, but I could not ignore the timeliness of the reminder. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. So really the issue is the expectations I place on others, and the need to place them instead on God’s capable shoulders, because he is faithful. He cannot NOT be faithful…it’s who he is.
However, it is a lesson that is easier said than done. I think because sometimes I am not even aware of the expectations I have. It isn’t until they are not met and disappointment creeps in that I know I had them in the first place. It was a good message. Afterwards I was considering the points he had made. The sermon was over, but not the lesson. I know that God is faithful. He has proven that in my life in more ways than I can count. But what if I desire something to be a certain way, pray about it even and I feel that I know how it is supposed to be, yet it is not that way. I am not placing expectations on people, but on God, yet they are still not met. Hmmmm. A bit tricky don’t you think?
What this showed me was my disappointment in God. I know it seems crazy to be disappointed in God…but I think it is true for most of us in one area or another. For example, you wanted to be the perfect parent, raising your kids for God. Knowing he wanted you to pour into them, you sacrificed and did it. You know his will in this matter because it is in scripture to raise them up in his love for them, yet they wandered. Some of them far far away. Isn’t God supposed to honor our attempts to follow him?
You wanted to have the perfect marriage, but it hasn’t turned out that way. You tried your best to put God first in the relationship and respect your husband/love your wife. But it all fell apart. So where was God is this union? Why didn’t he come through and heal the relationship?
You prayed about getting the right job. It all came together, your passion and your work. It was a dream, that turned into a nightmare as you lost it all. Didn’t God want you to glorify him in your work? Why then did he take it from you?
The news from the doctor’s was bad. You had faith. You held tightly to him, knowing he has the power to heal. But death came anyway. It stole from you someone who was your world. What happened to God? Why didn’t he come through?
I could keep going. The scenarios are endless. God let you down. The expectation in the Faithful One was unmet, and with that the sting of disappointment was like a thorn in your heart. The longer you live the more thorns you have. Pretty soon you are a prickly person. Bitterness seeps into your relationships, but mainly it separates you from God. You are holding it against him, maybe not on the outside where your smile is plastered on your face, but on the inside, your heart is full of thorns that hurt to the touch. All because you did what you thought you were supposed to do…put your faith in God. Or so it seems.
The reality is, that the expectations you had were not really in God. Yikes! I know…but hold on a minute. This is what he showed me about me…and I bet you can relate too. My expectations were in the WAY I want God to work. The performance mentality that I have been trying to shake since Grace made himself known to me, kicks in and says, “Hey wait! It’s not supposed to be this way. I am supposed to be faithful and then things are supposed to go the right way.” But who determines what the “right way” is? Not me. At least that is what he showed me the other day. He called me out on my placement of expectations on his actions, rather than on himself. Subtle difference, I know, but it is huge. His faithfulness is unquestionable to me. So if that is the case, then the frustrations I have stem not from him, as it appears, but from my own pride in wanting things to be done MY way, disguised in religious clothes of “God’s will” or what I think his will is. He is working always…no matter what it LOOKS like to me or to you. To put it simply his ways are not our ways. We cannot know what work he is accomplishing through the circumstances we are begging to be freed from. I do know that his way is better than mine…always. I asked him to remove the thorns from my heart. To forgive me for holding years of stuff against him in ways I couldn’t even see without his help. Am I glad his ways do not look like I want them too? Nope…sorry. Not yet anyway, but I feel sure he will get me there. I am waiting for him to solve the mysteries of life…his way.

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