It's been a while since I've blogged, in part because of the busy-ness of school and in part because daily life in Alabama doesn't exactly seem like the stuff headlines are made of. But God has really been bringing some Scripture to life for me lately, so I thought I'd write a little bit about what He's been teaching me.
We could probably all quote Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." It's one of those verses that's offered as a lifeline for someone in crisis, so much that it's sadly almost become a Christian cliché--one of those go-to phrases we toss out when we don't know what else to say. It's also one of those verses that I've known as head knowledge but not as heart knowledge. I guess God decided that needed to change.
As much as everyone is probably sick of hearing the condo saga, that so-called "investment" has continuously been a source of "life experience" for me. Despite being the one decision I regret the most, God has used it to teach me so many truths--most of them involving His sovereignty and provision. October has been no different.
It all started on the first of the month when I picked up my keys to move back in. Without going into unnecessary details, the past month has offered me a crash course in home repairs and interior decorating. (I will stick to teaching from now on, thanks.)
One morning I was walking into school, mentally tallying receipts and visualizing my bank account vanishing into a puff of smoke. For a moment, fear and regret threatened to grip my thoughts. Why did I ever purchase this stupid condo? How am I supposed to pay off the loan when I'm having to spend money on home improvements? Am I going to be stuck in it forever???
Thankfully, those thoughts only lasted a few seconds before I was reminded: my Daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). This sum of money that seems so big in my little world is literally nothing to Him. This condo could be sold tomorrow if He wanted it to be. So I am not here because of a mortgage. I am not here because of a bad housing market. I am not even here because I made a mistake in purchasing the condo. I am here because this is where God wants me for today.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
I'm learning that He sees things we don't. Maybe He wanted to use this as an opportunity to display His grace and sovereignty to others who witnessed the situation. Maybe He needed to allow a little adversity in my life because as long as things are trucking along according to plan, I tend to neglect truly seeking Him. (It's strange how the moments when I'm at the end of my rope are the sweetest because those are the moments I get to experience Him as my comfort and peace.) I don't know His reasons, but I don't need to. I don't have to question what He's doing or why because I know that He knows what's best much better than I do. And nothing happens without His permission. To quote my friend Melissa, "He's got this thing rigged."
It amazes me what peace it brings to know that God is both completely trustworthy and completely in control. Today a friend texted me and said, "Man, things really aren't going your way lately." And I realized that while this month seems to have been a series of unfortunate events, God has transformed every frustration into something good. What started as an unexpected major home repair became a "Designed to Sell" project. What could have become a seed of bitterness turned into an opportunity to share about God's grace and provision. And this condo that I've been so desperate to get out of is the soon-to-be location of a weekly Bible study with some precious high school girls. God handed me some lemons so that I could watch Him make strawberry lemonade. (He knows that's my favorite.)
Romans 8:28 doesn't feel so cliché any more.