The Answer Is Right
I’d like to think that I know what is best for my life. For my husband. For my children. I carefully construct my plans, and pray that the Lord sees them through.
It is on our nature as humans to project plans, dream dreams, plot our course. But what happens when things go awry? When the plans we make don’t come to fruition? When the dreams we dreamed look like a distant memory?
We found ourselves here this past week. We had prayed, we had planned, we had pleaded. And still, the answer was “No.” It was a hard day. The morning broke with discouraging news, and then it segued into deeper discouragement.
The pixies and I were headed over to the local YMCA, and as I dropped them off at their classes, my phone pinged.
I could barely make it to my car before the tears appeared. Nothing seemed to make sense. Everything I thought I knew, became a huge question mark. And so, I wept.
The next morning I found my way to the front porch. Still raw, I sat quietly and listened to the Scripture reading for the day. In my anger and doubt, His truth poured in and six words became a lifeline.
“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.” (Proverbs 16:1)
The Lord gives the right answer.
I can question. I can doubt. I can despair. But ultimately I must rest in the truth that what He does is good. The Lord gives the answer that is right.
It was my plan to receive a “Yes”, but He said “No” and that is the right answer. What is left now is to trust and believe. Even when my eyes don’t see, His eyes are directly upon me. And just as He is the God who saw Hagaar crying in the desert, He is also the God who sees me crying in my car at the YMCA. The One Who knows me. Who knows what is best.
The answer is right.
The funny thing about life is that in the midst of heartache, doubt, questions, life still goes on. My pixies still need to eat. And, so as I hopped in my car to get groceries that night, a song came over the air waves that made me start weeping all over again.
When we lived in Oxford, and I would walk the English countryside, there was a song I would often listen to that spoke of Christ’s beauty. It was magnified all the more as I breathed in the fresh air, watched the clouds roll in, and reveled in the beauty of Oxford.
And so as I listened to it that evening, in the midst of my questions and doubt, all I could whisper was, “You’re beautiful.”
I don’t understand, but I guess I just have to leave it at that and throw my hands up in the air and cry, “You’re beautiful.”
In the hurt. In the brokenness, all we can whisper is that You are beautiful.
In brokenness the only place to turn is worship. Adoration. We want to forget Him. We want to stay angry and alienated. But we can’t. I can't.
He is all I know. And so my spirit worships, my soul sings out: “I see Your face.” Your presence is here. This is a sacred moment.
I find it interesting that when Joshua is confronted with taking the city of Jericho, it is directly after he worships, that the Lord gives him the plan on how to do so.
In Joshua 5, we find Joshua on his way to Jericho having no clear direction on how he will defeat the city. Drawing near to the city, Joshua looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with his sword drawn: the commander of the army of the LORD. God Himself. Joshua's response was to fall facedown in worship.
"What message does my Lord have for his servant?" Joshua asks in verse 14. The reply from the commander of the Lord's army was, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy."
And that is exactly what Joshua did.
When Joshua worships, then he gets the plan from God.
The Lord goes on in the next chapter to give Joshua a detailed plan of marching around the city. Interesting enough the plan includes worship.
Joshua moved forward in confidence with the plan, knowing the Lord had already given them the city. "The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord," he says in 5:17a. The Hebrew term "devoted" here entails the irreversible giving over of the things or persons to the Lord, many times by totally destroying them.
In it's destruction, the city will be devoted to the Lord.
It's hard for me to make sense of how this all works. Why the plans of God often include destruction. Why answers are "No" when it appears they should be "Yes." But worship brings me to the point where I recognize the place I am standing is holy. This moment is sacred ground. And when I see HIs face I know He is beautiful.
That is all I know.
Life often causes us to wonder, “Is this for real?” Feeling forsaken, confusion takes root and numbness sets in.
When I prayed, it felt like my prayers were being thrown back into my face so I distanced my heart. And yet the next morning, in the midst of the doubt, He gave hope. Unexpected Grace.
When I am fasting and pouring out my heart to God, He says “No.” When I am shaking my fist at Him and questioning His ways, He pours out His grace and gives.
Who can know grace like this?
Maybe these sacred moments are simply to show me grace. I know I don’t grasp it. Maybe I am just beginning to learn of it. To glimpse it.
It can’t be understood. I can’t understand the ways of this God. But I don’t want a God I can understand. And though He slays, Job cries, I will still praise Him.
And as His grace pours out, I feel my hardness melting. I find myself recalling a line to an old Rich Mullins song, “Your grace rings out so deep it makes my resistance seem so thin.” Only a grace this strong, can yield a heart so hard.
When I hear “No,” Christ hears “Yes.”
When I see broken, He sees whole.
When I feel forsaken, He makes beautiful.
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Because He is right, because He is beautiful, because He is grace.