Monday, February 27, 2012

What God Has For Me Is For Me

When I was in my early 20s, my mother-in-law used these words to assure me that even though I was not selected as the pastor of the church I wanted to lead, God was surely going to give me everything that God had for me.  I found little comfort in that statement at that time. I was hurt and had "lost". And, of all the things I was, I was not a good loser. I did not care to hear that what God had for me was for me. As the years have passed, however, this has become one of my favorite "mantras". I use it to reassure people, when they feel as though they have missed out on something or been denied some "thing" that they are sure was theirs to have.  And, it has about the same effect on them as it had on me. It seems to placate their anxiety and disappointment long enough for me to sneak in a prayer and usher them out the office and back into their reality.  And having said that, the truth is that I often still employ this mantra as a balm for my own Gethsemane experiences. It's my favorite. But recently, I was reminded by a friend (I love you Rebecca) that this statement is not only true in terms of the "things", and the positive life experiences that my God has in store for me.  This statement is true of all things. And, it is even true when it comes to my own suffering.

In the middle of an uncomfortable conversation surrounding my desire to avoid (at any cost) the natural consequences of some previous behavior, Becca reminded me that my suffering is mine to own. And, that even if I chose to run from the suffering right now, I would still have to go through it at some point. She actually suggested that I could be forgiven for my actions and still have to endure the consequences and suffering of those same actions.  There is a reason that Becca is not a pastor.  There is a reason that she does not counsel the weak or the spiritually young.  She told the truth that the church too often finds too inconvenient to tell; therefore choosing to gloss over it.  She made me uncomfortable in a way that the church is not willing to do. In that moment, I understood that what God has for me is for me. And, that I have to endure it not because it is my punishment, but because enduring it is the only way to get rid of it. Going through it is required for my own salvation (please don't get to caught up on the word choice). The water that was the consequential death for those of Noah's time, is the same water that baptizes me into life today. It is the same water that nurtured Mary's little baby. It is the same water that Christ rose from to the proclamation that "this is my son in whom I am well pleased".  Suffering and salvation all wrapped up in one, and Christ caring for us all, through it all.

So, today I am thanking God for those two women and praying that whatever God has for you, you are prepared to endure until your morning comes.  I love you. And there is nothing you can do to change that.