God’s Economy

 

 

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Years ago, when I lived in Montana, I had a wonderful gelding named Apache. The whole family loved that horse. Anyone could ride him; he was totally trustworthy. I especially liked taking him out on short jaunts in the woods. Fearless, smart and oh, how he loved to run, but there was one thing he would not do. He would not jump over anything. No, not ever, which most of the time was fine. But sometimes, in the woods, when a tree had fallen across the trail it would have been nice if he would have just jumped it. But alas, he would not.

One day, I came across a fallen log in our path. Way too big for him to step over and no way to go around the log. I sure didn’t want to turn around and go home and he sure didn’t want to jump it. I got off and studied the situation. I got behind him and pushed him on his rump. He glanced back and me and switched me with his tail. Out of frustration, I kicked the log and, to my surprise, the formidable roadblock  just caved in.

Dust flew upward and pieces of bark fell downward. Where the log had crumbled, I noticed tiny evidences of life. Intrigued, I bent down for a closer look. The log which had appeared to be dead, totally useless, too rotten for even good firewood, concealed underneath it an entirely new ecosystem. The sprouts were white from lack of sun exposure and unidentifiable to me.

At the time of this trail ride, I had just ended a 23 year marriage to a man who preferred drinking to sobriety, other women to me and being gone from home more than being at home. I spent a lot of days kicking myself for what I called wasted years.

But, while I studied this undergrowth, the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me, “In God’s economy, there is no such thing as waste.”

Hope blew across me like a gentle breeze.

What wonderful news this is when we are going through a time of limitations. A time when we say no more often than we are able to say yes. Ever feel like this time of being sick or being in pain or hanging onto a relationship that destroys your life is such a waste? I certainly have. Then I remember this story and I am comforted to know that God doesn’t call those times a waste. He is able to bring new life out of old and even in the midst of our waiting and wondering, He is able to use us and our seemingly wasted years for our  ultimate good and His incredible glory. That’s good news, isn’t it?

 

pic credit:  Diane Reid

 

Worth Loving?

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“You need to love him”.  Those words, spoken by the Holy Spirit, woke me in the middle of the night.  I looked around, who is the he I need to love?  I realized He meant my husband, (now ex) Donny, asleep or should I say passed out next to me.  My response was immediate “I can’t love him, You see how he is”.  And with that I went back to sleep.

The next night, I was awakened by the same words, “You need to love him”.  I still didn’t have to think very long for my answer, “I can’t love him, You see how he is, he is so mean to me”.  And again, I went back to sleep.

This continued night after night and night after night, I added to the list of reasons why I couldn’t love my husband. It got harder and harder to come up with reasons and I found myself during the daytime thinking of more reasons.  It was getting old to me and every night I thought I had made my case and this would be the night the Holy Spirit didn’t wake me with the now familiar words, “you need to love him. But every night, He did.

One night out of frustration, when He spoke those words, I presented my whole list:

You see how he is, he’s mean to me, he’s seldom home, he’s almost always drunk, he doesn’t help out with anything, he’s unfaithful, he neglects me, he neglects his kids, he’s abusive, he abandons us for months every winter, he’s always at the bar.  I ended my list with, “no, I can’t love him because in my opinion, he’s not worth loving”.  I went to sleep satisfied that I had settled the issue.

The next night, I didn’t hear the words I had come to dread.  Instead I heard these words spoken in a very soft and imploring tone, “But, you weren’t worth loving either”.

Wow! I felt like Eve in the garden of Eden, naked, exposed, ashamed and desperately in need of somewhere to hide. 

I wanted to crawl under my bed and dig a hole through the carpet and the floor and keep digging until there was no chance of being seen. 

I was so ashamed.

When I realized there was no place to hide and no need to hide (He’d already seen my gross sin), I asked for forgiveness and the grace to begin loving my husband.

I’d like to say that as a result of that encounter, I was able to love him well enough that he responded to my love and responded to God’s love and changed his ways and we lived happily ever after.  But that’s not what happened; we were divorced three years later.

What did happen was a paradigm shift in my thinking. I had been raised to believe that love was conditional – conditional upon my being good as defined by … whomever.  I never was good enough and never felt worthy of being loved.

What I learned is that I’m not worthy of love, no one is really. 

We are loved simply because God decided to love us. Love is a choice, not a feeling. 

God’s love for me, for you, is not based on our worthiness, it’s not based on our good behavior or lovable actions. 

It is based on His character and His decision to love us – regardless. 

Isn’t that good news?