My life gushes to the brim full of blessings. I am loved, I am befriended, I am educated, employed, valued, I am rich enough that I own my car and have my own room, I have things like an iPod and a smart phone. I have friends that would give me the shirt off their backs, and I know they're not going anywhere. As for my family ... well: the stuff of legends. My life is the sweetest of fare, but don't try to get me to admit that just any day. I can be stubbornly negative about my circumstances when I focus all the time on what I've got still to achieve.
There have been days, however, when I have tasted blood. Even for whining weakling like myself, there have been wounds worthy of a tear or few shed. I've been battered and bruised -- sometimes it's a byproduct of my own misjudgments; other times it's been a legitimate betrayal of trust. Sometimes it's just senseless, wasteful, undeserved injury. Times when turnabout was very unfair play. And I know I'm not alone. We all draw this card from time to time.
Wednesday morning I read a Word from my God and I was startled at what He said: "I make well-being and create woe; I, the LORD, do all these things." Subconsciously I want to protect Him from His own proclamation. "Nah, God, you're not all that bad..." It takes me a moment or two to realize this isn't my pal talking, needing my encouragement and asking my help to let go of their self-berating. God is not apologizing. He doesn't need me to help Him feel better about Himself.
God, did You make my woe? Was that You?
Have you ever been in a situation where you're complaining to some trusted friend about something that really annoyed you or ticked you off, and you don't know who caused it so you're just blabbing away about how much it bothered you, and then all of the sudden! -- Your (crazy) trusted friend decides to say, "I did that. And the reason why is ..." And suddenly the beloved's logic makes sense and you realize all along you'd been embarrassingly self-absorbed in your moment of annoyance? You backpedal and tell your friend why you really don't mind that much and you totally understand where they were coming from anyway... [Or has that only happened to me??]
Reading this passage from Isaiah's book was a little like that moment. I wanted to suddenly justify all God's actions, but He wasn't asking me to. He's not embarrassed. He has a logic. He has a purpose. He's in control of it all because he created it all. By God, nothing is wasted. Not one tear, not a sigh, not one crushing blow or suffocated heart trying to keep beating through the letdown. Ultimately, expect justice. For your enemies and yourself, pray mercy.
When you cry and beat your chest and feel angry, depressed, confused: please know that God isn't trying to lie to you. He hasn't pretended to be something He's not. He's been honest at every turn. He is in control of your circumstances, and mine. He's responsible for all those Kodak moments you love, and yet He's still conducting the orchestra through the tragedies. He's a friend and lover with a logic that we can't yet defend, because His ways are beyond our understanding. If you need to scream at Him, scream. He can take it and see you through it. He won't try to explain any more than He already has, but He might reveal a bit more of his heart when you're ready to see it.
HIS longing is for creativity ... justice ... salvation ... life!
Is 45:6b-8, 18, 21b-25
I am the LORD, there is no other;
I form the light, and create the darkness,
I make well-being and create woe;
I, the LORD, do all these things.
Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above,
like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth;
let justice also spring up!
I, the LORD, have created this.
For thus says the LORD,
The creator of the heavens,
who is God,
The designer and maker of the earth
who established it,
Not creating it to be a waste,
but designing it be lived in:
I am the LORD, and there is no other.