. . . but that I’d thrash wild to escape when what You give from Your hand feels bad–like gravel in the mouth. Oh, Father, forgive . . . Should I accept good from you, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10) Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg. 95.
God’s Defense of His City and People
To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
I used to think they were crazy: these people who sang in the midst of difficulty. I used to think praising the Lord while trying to chew the gravel of my life was an impossible stance for a broken heart. But He has changed not only my mind, but my heart, and now I sing regardless of circumstance.
The more the hammer comes, the more I’m asked to give way and up and to all things me and ego and agenda scream for, the more I kneel to this fantastic idea that my life isn’t about me. My life isn’t about what I want, what I have planned, what I believe God should be doing in my neighbor.
Rather, my life is about serving my Father, walking with my Jesus in His Unforced Rhythms of Grace, listening to the Holy Spirit’s whisper, “This is the way, now walk in it.”
And when my life becomes a life lived bowed-down, walking-beside, listening-to, I see what I had been missing: the gravel I’m breaking my teeth on, chew after chew, is the very thing that brought me low so that I could see Him and He could fill me. The gravel wore a hole so deep I can’t get out of bed without my lips offering prayers of praise and supplication. I have decreased, as the blows hit the flesh of my ego and chiseled the skeleton of self righteousness, and I have been broken to pieces . . .
Pieces He’s picking up and He’s healing and He’s making wholly dependent: a clay jar emptied out, now lined with Him.
And just like anything made of this earth, if you look at me for more than a second, you’ll find a flaw. This girl has plenty. But in every flaw, I find redemption. And in every flaw, you’ll see His gold shining through.
So, wherever you are this week, I pray that you will find the depths of peace I find in knowing this God of ours gives all, and it is all for our good.
He is working it out.
He is not done.
And whether you’re alone this Thanksgiving or your kids are barfing all over the house or you’re cooking for 20 and feel overwhelmed or blessed or just freaked out that the turkey won’t turn out, remember: every bit of it is Holy. Every bit of it is a gift. And every bit of the gold and the gravel chip away at all that keeps us from being filled entirely with Him.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
God bless your Thanksgiving week. Here’s a little soundtrack to play to get in the mood:
Now: gravel or gold, let’s be a people of praise.