Often times in life I have expectations. Expectations of myself, of others, and of God.
I believe that if I pull my weight, and if others cooperate, and if God is what I believe Him to be, then my life will reap the benefits. It's like a math calculation... Equate in the proper variables and you should end up with the desired product. Sure, there can be hiccups along the way, but nothing too costly, and in the end it will be worth it because with everything working in harmony, the desired goal can and will be attained.
Unfortunately I have a far-too large and ever-growing collection of stories and experiences that don't fit into this cookie-cutter model I set up for myself. No matter how high I keep my chin up, the reality of life is harsh. It leaves me asking questions without answers.
I don't have to list examples here. We all have them - A bad diagnosis. A lost job. A broken relationship. An abandoned child. A homeless family. And on and on it goes.
The beginning quote from 'My Utmost for His Highest' was a reminder to me this week that often my human perceptions of what our lives are about aren't always what we want to admit. A happy life of rainbows and lollipops may be endearing, but who needs God in that? The more we seek out a life free of pain, the less we recognize God's purpose in the midst of it.
What Oswald is trying to say here is that there is little we can learn about His character unless He takes us through the storm. Without being able to look back and testify His strength in my darkest moments, I wouldn't be able to understand who God is. And ultimately, our lives aren't about a particular outcome. It's not about succeeding, or reaching the summit, or redeeming our pride, or overcoming our illness or even saving the world. Instead, it's about us becoming closer and more reliant on a God who loves us more than we can fathom, and trusting Him above all the tangible things on earth.
For the things that concern me today, and for the people closest to me, I am praying not just a matter of winning and losing, building and breaking, surviving and dying. Instead of wanting to just reach the other side in one piece, I pray that we will find purpose in the process and faithfulness in the Father as we pick up the broken pieces. He is the only One who can put us back together.