Tag Archives: loss of expectation

Isaiah 59, 60, 61; Romans 11:19-36

Even if he doesn’t remember the conversation, I will never forget. I had lost my job–and with that came a lot of questioning about career path and ability and happiness. A circumstance that rippled other areas of life, I mourned–lost–and said to him, “I don’t know where I fit.”

“You fit with me,” he said, my husband.

It wouldn’t be the last time the thought challenged my security–the thought of “fit”–in a variety of scenarios. Some manifested out of perception, some out of intention–a wounding with words, discovering the difference between iron sharpening iron and a sword that pierces and injures. At the time, I didn’t know these cuts were preparing me.

In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in. Romans 11:30-32 MSG.

In one way or another–through my own sin, through sin of another, a job loss or loss of expectation, one way or another–exclusion and injury that were meant for evil can turn hearts to God for good, drawing us closer to him that ever before. Preparing cuts that will mend in him–grafted. This image of him, opening the door and welcoming. The sweet relief of forgiveness, the comforting joy in him. He shows me where I fit.

Father God, I am humbly mindful of the root that keeps me lithe and green. Your great generosity speaks to me in my depravity, calls out to me in my loneliness, sings over me: you fit with Me. You call me friend. You call me child. I am thankful to be in your family tree.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Romans

Ecclesiastes 1, 2, 3; Acts 9:1-22

Deep in the ugly, it was hard to see beauty. A weekly list of thanksgiving (my own list, for even the smallest things: heart-shaped clover, a child’s hand to hold, a good cup of coffee, socks on my feet) kept me afloat when bigger things in life tossed me (losses of expectation and friendship, a death in the family, a move). In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes of chasing the wind, but that summer, my hands grasped tightly to clutch at vapor: time–moments so full … and fleeting.

I read over familiar verses in a time for everything, and it starts to make more sense: that time of life in loss, that sadness I couldn’t hurry. A season. A time to grieve. I wished it was shorter. I wished it didn’t hurt so much. I wondered how long it would last.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecclesiastes 3:11s NLT.

It lingered much longer than a summer. Oh, deep in the ugly, it was hard to see beauty.

He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11b.

Saul started out a devout hater of Jesus Christ and anyone whose heart loved the Lord.

Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. Acts 9:1.

I wondered over the connection of these verses in Old Testament and New Testament, side by side.

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. Acts 9:15.

And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. Acts 9:20-21.

And I saw: the time to hate, the time to love. God wasn’t absent from any before to after–he was always there. And I review the list again, living/dying, planting/harvesting, killing/healing, tearing down/building up, crying/laughing, grieving … dancing. So much more. He is present in all the seasons, makes the same things happen over and over–a whole scope of His work from beginning to end.

Father God, I cannot see the scope of your work from beginning to end. In the midst of my All That (whew!) thanks of little things represented for me the beauty of a much bigger thing: seeking daily to find your love scattered around me–and you never let me down. The toughest moments, you were there. You didn’t forsake me or leave me. So thankful, Lord. That dark season brought me closer to you than I had ever been.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, New Testament, Old Testament

Job 28,29; Matthew 13:1-30

I thought, “Surely …”

Job speaks. Tells of a life lived well, a reminiscing of the good old days. He lists his accomplishments long, reads like a promising resume, and how can you not think he’s a Good Guy? He had it all going for him. His testimony tells of honor and respect. He was counting on things; I hear it in his words, I thought, “Surely …” Job 29:18 (NLT).

Job loses family. He loses his livelihood–animals, crops. He loses the vapor-hope of expectation. He was counting on things to go a certain way, just not the way things went. The things he listed that formed his identity, gone.

When we moved into our house in August, areas of our yard were overgrown with weeds and vines. Parts were downright hostile, thorny, poisonous. Down on hands and knees, hours of days spent pulling and wrestling. A friend brought a truck and ripped and tugged at the landscape. Massive vines wrapped around trees, choking life, taking over. Poison ivy feigning lush life, camouflaging a secret, spoiling death. Brush fortresses an intimidating barrier to progress. Scripture bloomed literal meaning. Jesus talks about seeds and weeds–my hands ached, swollen from tedious tending. I saw how quickly something is overcome. Oh, the life metaphor!

Hanging out in Job and Matthew, I process the loss of my own expectations. I see how worries have choked life from me–at times, overwhelming. I went to the Lord often with grief and mourning, but how often did I seek him for wisdom and understanding?

When Jesus says, “Listen!” I pray, God, help me hear.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Job, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament