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quiet removals

What is God asking us to give up? What must must we carve out, where are we to sacrifice? Certainly questions we must ask ourselves if we are to grow in our walk with Jesus. But I think we are missing something here. All of these questions assume we are removing something by our own volition. Perhaps sports becomes an idol and the Father convicts me to give up competition for a while. Or for some it may be the security of finances and God calls you to give until it is sacrificial. Undoubtedly these convictions are blessings, but what happens when it’s not our choice?

The big ones are obvious. We lose our job. A close friend is diagnosed with cancer. A family member dies. The trauma of the event is so large we are forced to reconcile it with our relationship with God. We bring it to Him and ask what He means to show us through this brokenness. We may resist, but if we do, it’s a willful and conscious rebellion.

What scares me are the quiet events. The steady decline of health, the failure to find a spouse, a daughter walking away from her faith. Slow and insidious, the repercussions slip through our life undetected. The danger lies not in their severity but in our inability to see God’s hand at work through the trauma. Without this sense of His sovereignty, our response loses its spiritual anchor. It becomes mechanical and worldly, distant from the wisdom God hoped to bring.

Because they are choices outside of our control, we often assume our response is equally out of our control. Several years ago I took a bit of a fall while ice climbing and shattered my ankle. This lead to months of hobbling around on crutches, physical therapy and eventual recovery. Never during this process did I become angry or bitter at God. It was quite obvious, I made a mistake, fell 90′ and was lucky to crawl away with 3 working limbs. No blame towards God in the least.

The injury healed up nicely. Ironically, the following years brought an increase in migraines, dizziness and fatigue which greatly inhibited my ability to ice climb. This time the response was completely different. I had no problem blaming God. The struggles were big enough to cause bitterness yet not catastrophic enough to stop and ask if God truly deserved the accusation. Most crucial, I never asked what God might want to teach me through this trial. I reserved those sort of questions for when life hit total calamity.

I wonder how much we are losing by passing over these quiet removals in our life. How many years pass in bitterness and ignorance as God pulls off the distractions and lets us choose the response. A response that is often none at all. What a tremendous blessing when this changes. When you begin to see how God uses this carving out in your life to uncover joy you had never known.

God allows us a tremendous sense of freedom in our response to this divine pruning. We must learn to respond in faith when God carries the shears. Will we claw and pull at the splinter He has long since removed or respond in joy to the greater blessing that awaits? As our walk with Christ draws closer, let us ask not simply what we must give up to God, but what must we allow the Lord to take. The Lord cares much for you, He is bound to loose from your life that which is keeping you from Him. Will we let Him?


Comment from Melissa
Time October 25, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Okay, so I’m just keep reading and reading. And, each time I read something new it’s like it was meant for me. Weird.

Comment from Melissa
Time October 25, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Isn’t it amazing how God works?

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