Friday, July 18, 2014

Perspective when dreams blow up in your face

I have been so confused, so bewildered about what to do, and David Wilkerson just hit the nail on the head on my condition in his World Challenge Pulpit Series newsletter from March 17, 1997.

Let me ask you: How do you react when all your plans and dreams blow up in your face? You were so sure you heard from God. You thought he gave you direction, encouraging you to move forward. Everything you read in his word seemed to confirm your plans. You prayed about every step along the way, always giving glory to God. And the Lord seemed to be leading on. 
You were happy, thinking, "At last - I'm going to see my prayers answered! God's plan is finally beginning to come together in my life."
Then one day, all of a sudden, your dream blew up in your face. Your plan was destroyed, your dream shattered - and it all lay in ashes at your feet. You didn't know how to make any sense of it. That's when Satan came along, bringing his lies:
"See what you get for being so strict about your walk with God? This is how he treats you when you trust him for direction. He lets you become confused about his voice - and he gives you phony guidance! He lets you hear voices and see words from the scriptures. And then, when you're finally ready to move in, he abandons you. He leads you on, and then he drops you!"

Oh my goodness. 

That's exactly what I've been doing. 

In the confusing, upsetting turmoil that I just went through, I've been doubting God's goodness to me, His ability to communicate His will to me, and His intentions for my life. David Wilkerson's message in this article centered on Psalm 73. Asaph had almost slipped because he was focusing on the prosperity of the wicked. I, too, had gotten my eyes off of Christ and onto my circumstances. 

I was mistakenly assuming that if I got God's guidance before taking any given step, I couldn't possibly get hurt and the plan could not possibly fail. It was, I suppose, a variation of the prosperity doctrine (which I would have repudiated instantly if I had seen it as such). 

It is not just inadvisable to doubt God. Wilkerson points out that it is actually sin--a sin that the people of God must be warned about; an insidious, sneaky sin that can drop us into a bottomless pit of unbelief. 

When all my beautiful dreams blew up in my face, I doubted my ability to hear God's voice. If I was that bad at hearing from God when I thought I had gotten his leading and direction, then how could I ever be sure if I was being directed by Him? 

Well, actually, who is that message coming from? 

The enemy, of course. 

How is it that I had not seen this before? 

What does God actually say in His word? Does he ever say that we cannot possibly get hurt and that our plans cannot possibly fail? No. He promises that in the world we will have tribulation. He leads us to expect to be hated, misunderstood, and persecuted. Far from promising a life of ease, he promises us trials and suffering. I am barely getting a taste of difficulty. On a scale of 1-100, with 1 being a life of ease and pleasure and 100 being martyrdom, I have maybe moved along the scale from a 1 to a 2, and I am already fainting and doubting and moaning, "Oh, woe is me." 

Get a grip, Rebekah. 

• • • 

The other thing that helped me to have a perspective shift was running into this video about Louis Zamperini. I knew the story, because I had read Laura Hillenbrand's fabulous book, Unbroken, but just reliving it reminded me of how much more suffering and heartbreak and difficulty others have made it through, and how little I really have to complain about. 

It is almost amusing, really. Other people have gone through stuff like this, and I'm whining and boo-hooing and wringing my hands and saying "what am I going to dooooo?" when the extent of my hardship is that I need to go out and hunt for a job. 


My strength indeed is small. 

I hear the Savior say, 
Thy strength indeed is small. 
Child of weakness, watch and pray. 
Find in me thine all in all. 

And glory to God, He is fixing my eyes back onto Himself, and when my gaze is lost in Him, all these other things seem so trivial.

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