Friday, May 01, 2009

God's Gift

I've been participating in the Beth Moore Breaking Free bible study. It's AWESOME. I highly recommend getting the book if you don't have a bible study hosted nearby and at least reading through this journey. That's a gift in itself, but not what I'm blogging about today. The day before Nycki passed away I was doing part of the study, and the bible verse for the day was:
Isaiah 43:2-3"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
When I read that I underlined the lines about the flames not burning, and I began journaling a bit to the side....I didn't like the way I felt because I knew it was the human in me questioning a situation I should be accepting: I asked why I felt scorched, and there ended my human question, but the ink kept going, thanks to the Holy Spirit that lives within me. He answered that question without giving me any time to dwell in bitterness. I went on to write that I felt this way because I wasn't letting God interpret the situation for me, or trusting that this is God's will. I wrote that to be burnt, I'd have to call myself permanantly bitter. I'd wear those burns for life, and I refuse to be that person because I KNOW that is not what God calls for us to do with life's situations. God planted a book in my life many years ago I still reflect on by Tony Evans called Forged By Fire....and that book's lessons came back to me now. I remembered that God doesn't say we aren't going to experience tremendous heat, we will, but He promises we won't be burnt. He also doesn't say we won't be changed, we will, but He promises we won't be damaged. Fire can burn, but it also molds precious metal, and as God's child-I'll be molded, not burnt. No doubt, it's a painful process, but in the end, the product made has the greatest value to God's kingdom. This is just half of my story. I can't say I'd ever really reflected upon this verse in great depth, and here I'd had a little in depth study to bring me peace. A week later I attended Nycki's memorial service. In the service, one of the verses read was Isaiah 43: 2-3! Here it was-the verse God used to comfort me, confronting, and comforting me again in the midst of raw emotions. It gave me a jolt. God didn't answer the prayers I had been praying in the way I would have chosen, but I trust Him, and He has been so gracious. Though He owes us no 'signs'...He has provided myself (and others) evidence of His goodness, and His hand working through this situation. I am grateful for that mercy, and the gift of this verse.