I opened my Jesus Calling Devotional recently and wanted to throw it across the room after I read the message for the day. It said that I was on the brink of rebellion over a disappointment that I had been facing and that I needed to find my way back to gratitude. Doesn’t that just make you want to throw something? You are in the midst of self-pity and righteous indignation over a situation and then a word from heaven tells you to be grateful for it. Sometimes there is nothing you can do with that kind of insight other than allow it to ferment a little. Pushing the power of this kind of spiritual direction away from my hardening heart is the typical desire, but the Spirit in me does not like to take no for an answer. So instead, the profound, counter intuitive nature of God settles into my spirit…..like hot water that loosens a gluey substance off of a new plate or acetone that takes off your nail polish. The acetone smells and will burn the surface off your counter top, but it will sure do the job on that nail polish.
Several days later, I walked into church and the subject was on prayer and resisting that which is intended to make you stumble in the midst of disappointment. The tears were just not going to stay away. Normally, I am pretty tough in this department, but not this time.
My argument for God was that I had been hurt. While trying to be a faithful servant, I faced rejection instead of acceptance from the very ones who were supposed to love, embrace and encourage me. My argument was solid, well founded and valid.
Later that night, when I laid my head on the pillow and my emotions settled a bit…..all I could see was Jesus. Not only did He gracefully handle disappointment, He was not surprised by it. He could have called down a legion of angels when He was here, owned anything He wanted, controlled people’s responses, gained favor… but instead He took the nails.
The longer I walk with Christ, the deeper the journey goes. Its path winds deep into the corners of my heart where no one else but God would dare travel. It is rocky, uncharted and sometimes cold. Nevertheless, my tour guide is holding a very bright torch and He has all the tools needed to carry me to the desired destination. Somehow, He keeps me from getting lost and stops me from throwing Him across the room when I grow frustrated with His unconventional travel methods. Just when I think I have Him…just when I think I have finally come up with a great argument or a short cut around some deep terrain, He tests my heart and ability to endure disappointment. He tests my ability to love, forgive, show understanding and walk in grace. Once again, I am grieved by my weakness, yet masterfully moved to gratitude.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7