Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Be good to me
We are currently in a season of making a lot of decisions. Seemingly big decisions about schools and houses and kids and I personally don't even like deciding what to make for dinner (especially when my husband decides to do the Whole 30 diet again!!!...in which you can eat basically-- I don't know... NOTHING!!)
Decision-making for me is akin to being on the first part of a roller coaster ride when you are clicking your way to the top, still not totally sure if you want to be on the ride. There's nothing like a decision hanging over my head to make me lose time on social media or choose to organize a long-forgotten cabinet. Oh and I always want several opinions from other people...which more often than not just makes me more confused about what I think or want or what conclusion I should come to.
So I've been doing what any sane person would do at a time like this...reading a lot of Elisabeth Elliot. She's one of those writers who says what she says with such confidence that you just believe her.
Do you know her story? It is nuts. Her first husband was speared to death in Ecuador by a tribe who he and fellow missionaries were attempting to make contact with. She then moved with her infant daughter INTO the village of the tribe (who killed her husband) and spent the next 5 years translating the Bible for them and sharing the gospel and leading them to Christ.
Then she moved to the states, got remarried and her second husband was soon diagnosed with cancer and also died. She suffered with dementia the final 10 years of her life. She died this past June.
I tried to read her in college and felt like she was a bit stiff and narrow and maybe even ungracious or unrealistic (how stiff and narrow of me--sorry Elisabeth). But last summer I became fascinated with her life because she lived some of my biggest nightmares and yet consistently communicated wisdom and truth and hope for her entire life. And that has been my question the past few years...how do people suffer well?
What is the difference between the ways that people respond to the hardships of life? What makes people become "better and not bitter"? Why are some people at peace and others so restless?
Because in the last few years I realize that I cannot escape that life is hard. My friends are dealing with depression and cancer and infertility and miscarriages and stillborn births and divorce and financial stress and loss and the list goes on...but some are carrying on with hope and others are becoming more embittered and I think to myself "what is the defining factor that creates the difference between their responses?"
I think maybe it is more basic than I ever thought. We see it as early in the Garden of Eden. What does Eve do? She doubts the goodness of God. She could have chosen to trust that what he offers her is enough and that what he keeps from her is for her good. But she doesn't.
Maybe whether or not we believe that God has been good to us, is good to us and will be good to us is the most defining thing about who we become.
How would I/you live differently if we believed his goodness with our whole selves? What would we risk? What would we give up? What would seem less scary? How peaceful would we be?
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 100:5 For the is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
All of these verses link God's goodness with our security. And when we are secure, we don't panic or fret or respond in anger defensiveness.
We are instead solid. Anchored in hope. Patient in affliction. Joyful in hope.
So as we walk into these decisions that we inevitably have to make as adults (sigh), this is my prayer, my meditation so to speak...
You have been good to me.
You are good to me.
You will be good to me.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the for ever.
Posted by Lauren Turner at 8:10 PM