“It’s Gonna Be Alright.”

“It’s Gonna Be Alright.”

Have you ever comforted someone with the words, “It’s gonna be alright,” confident you were correct, but trying to hide any hints of uncertainty in your voice regarding HOW their situation was going to reach the “alright” stage?

When I’ve held someone dear to me and promised them that it’s going to be okay after they lost a big game, a cherished relationship, or a job they had their heart set on, I have been confident that God was indeed going to swoop in and intervene in each situation. I have been sure that He was going to give them a better blessing and/or a better perspective, and therefore make it “alright.” However, communicating that to a hurting heart is difficult, to say the least.

There is a quote attributed to Beth Moore that sums up this concept quite nicely: “I don’t know how, but I know Who.” When we do not foresee a place of peace in a troubling situation, or even a pathway to that destination, we need to remind ourselves and others that our minds should be focused on the Who, rather than the how.

When your loved ones assure you after you lose your first baby early-on in pregnancy that it is somehow going to turn out okay, speaking from experience, you might be in a place where the doubts of how it is going be okay overshadow the certainty of Who is going to make it okay! Four children later, (and on the verge of becoming a grandma…which I am just a bit excited about!!) I can say that things certainly turned out even better than “alright.”

I frequently think about how God doesn’t think like us. I mean, I try to figure out how He thinks, but then I remember that I will not grasp His ways this side of heaven.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” He is a Master Designer, a Master Orchestrator. Everything works together, even when we do not know how it possibly ever could in our finite minds. He is unconventional, that’s for sure.

Sometimes I wonder if He wants to lovingly put His hands on my shoulders, look me right in the eyes and say, “I’ll take care of the how and you just focus on the Who.”

Do you believe He hears our prayers? “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” (Psalm 34:15)
Do you believe He has a plan for you?  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11)
Do you believe all things work together for good? “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)

Well then, wouldn’t you agree? It’s gonna be alright!

Aha!

Aha!

2016 was a year of some exciting events. To name a few: one son got married, one son got engaged, and a devotional I wrote is being published. Major ups! Also, there were some downs. Forgive me for not listing them, as they are pretty fresh in my mind.

What has struck me a few times seemingly right smack-dab over my head about the aforementioned low points…the prayers answered differently than I had hoped…is: Try as I might, I have not been able to make sense of them.

I know Romans 8:28. I repeat it often. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I remind myself that God said, “ALL” things. And I remind myself that His good and my good are not always identical, because His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. He and I are looking at these situations from different perspectives. One of those perspectives is a tad bit self-centered at times.

Do you ever try to politely explain to God why answering a certain prayer a certain way will surely be better for everyone involved? You don’t? Okay, maybe I am the only person who thinks God doesn’t “get it” sometimes. How super-nice of me to take the time to explain it to Him.

By the way, I am a slow lesson-learner when the lesson is, “God is really good at being God, and He knows what He is doing at all times.”

Prayer requests are never unanswered. As I have heard numerous times: sometimes the answer is, “Yes,” sometimes it is “No,” and sometimes it is, “Not yet.”

When the answer is, “Not yet,” that delayed answer to prayer reminds us that God’s timetable is much more timely than ours, after all.

And when the answer is, “No,” sometimes we eventually have that revelation moment, when we say, “Okay, I get it,” because through the trial, someone came to an important realization in their faith life.

But we are not going to be granted that revelation “Aha” moment every time circumstances don’t turn out as we expect or request. If we think that everything that happens in our lifetime is going to make sense this side of heaven, we may waste precious time on this earth being puzzled instead of at peace.

I wholeheartedly believe there will be some monumental revelation moments when we get to heaven. “Aha” moments of unmatched proportions when answers to some of our unanswered earthly questions will cause things to fall into heavenly place in a heavenly way.

Some answers will make sense here, and some will make sense there. Some may seemingly not make sense…anywhere. One of the most powerful statements I have ever heard is, “God is not obligated to explain Himself to us.”

Perhaps saying the following prayer will give us the “Aha” moment we need to experience that will trump all other “Aha” moments: “Dear God, I know You are good. I know Your reasons are good. Even when I do not understand, I choose to trust You and Your loving ways. Thank You for making ALL things work together for good. In Your holy and perfect name I pray. Amen.”

It’s Okay Either Way

I am in the midst of preparing for a graduation open house in honor of our 18-year-old son, Drew. Two long, rectangular tables will be reserved for photos of his childhood and scrapbook pages highlighting his growing-up years and achievements. Our shop will be filled with family, friends, food and photos on May 22nd.

While perusing his baby book, I came across the following prayer that I wrote down when Drew was 4: “Dear Jesus, please help Brady tell me all of his secrets, because I won’t tell anyone. But it’s okay if You don’t make him tell me because You are the Holy One and You’re my favorite guy. In Your holy name, Amen.”

Drew’s style of praying was straightforward, reverent, and unswerving from the very beginning, and hearing him pray aloud recently showed me that is still the case.

In this particular prayer fourteen years ago, a little boy voiced a request in a straightforward manner, addressed God reverently, and displayed a faith that is unswerving…a faith not shaken by God answering a prayer differently than he hoped. A faith that led him to say, “It’s okay if You don’t…”

I asked Brady (his next-oldest brother) if he remembered those secrets that his younger brother found so enticing, but he did not remember what they were or if he revealed them. Wondering what provoked this prayer made me smile. It also made me think. The child-like faith that is expressed in this prayer is the type of faith we are all supposed to strive for. Often children bring honest requests to God, knowing God is in charge and understanding that His way is the best way.  Basically it is: ‘Here is my prayer… please answer it however you see fit, because You are God. It’s okay either way.’

How often do adults pray that way? I’ll start with me. Do I have a straightforward way in relating to God? Yes. Do I address God in a reverent manner? For the most part, but there is room for improvement. How do I do with the unswerving faith component?  Here is where I sometimes fail. Here is where my work begins. My goal is to begin consistently praying something like: “Answer my prayer how you see fit, God, because I know You have my best interests at heart. You love me. You have a plan whether I see it or not. My faith in You is based on who You are, not what You do. It’s okay either way.”

I was searching for cute photos, but I came across a cute prayer that contained a lot of wisdom. The open house tables will be filled with photos of Drew growing up with his brothers and sister, playing sports, playing with cousins and friends, and other important memories. I also plan on finding a special spot to display this sweet prayer. May I learn from my son’s prayer from 14 years ago. I do not know if God answered that prayer with a yes or a no, but I know Drew’s faith was unswerving. It was okay either way.

Image 4-20-16 at 6.58 PM