This week I was driving Hailee to her physical therapy appointment. Just me and my special girl. As we drove along I was listening to the radio while Hailee made her sweet little sounds in the backseat.
One of my all time favorite songs started playing. I absolutely love the song. So I cranked up the volume really loudly and started belting out the tune at the top of my lungs…not a pretty sight or sound by any stretch of the imagination. Trust me. I was last in line when God handed out the singing gift. Thankfully, my audience of ONE loves my seriously off-tune voice. And that is all that really matters.
So there we were, driving along, declaring into the heavenlies “How Great is Our God?” with a little help from Mr. Chris Tomlin. As I drove, something caught my eye…
I saw him there.
A homeless man. Pulling his heavy-laden shopping cart with every earthly possession to his name in it. Reaching his hands into a dumpster to find something…anything that could possibly satisfy his needs.
“How great is our God?”
A lump rose up in my throat that I could not push down, so I gave in and let the emotion come. My thoughts wondered to other things heavy on my heart these days.
Vicious tornadoes sweeping across this land.
Hundreds and hundreds who have lost their lives in fierce storms.
Those left with nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Families desperate to adopt their children–but huge financial obstacles stand in their way.
“How great is our God?”
Sadness overcame me as I tried to focus on the road that lay ahead. All the while praising, thanking, and in a loud voice pushing past the despair that kept rising in my heart by declaring that my God IS great.
He is great in our sorrow.
He is great in our pain.
He is great in our lack.
He is great in our loss.
He is great when everything is stripped away.
He is great in His silence.
As I drove I thought of the cup. We all know the one. The cup Jesus asked His Father to take away from him in Luke, Chapter 22. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
“Father….IF you are willing….”
I wondered in my own life how many times God had given me a “cup.” Something that I knew He had placed in my hands but that I seriously did not want to be there. A cup I would much rather He take away from me.
Our “cups” can be many…..
The cup of unemployment that never seems to end.
The cup of infertility.
The cup of tremendous loss.
The cup of a prodigal son.
The cup of financial strain.
We all have a cup to bear. Most of the time the cup is one we would rather not have. Jesus understood that. Paul, David, Job, Mary, the amazing mother of Jesus, and many others came mind. They understood it too. I thought about their “cups.” Most involved one thing we can all relate to…..
No one is immune. Adversity must come. Trials must come. The storms of life must blow. My comfortable little boat must be rocked.
They absolutely have to make their way into my life and yours, too.
Simply because the “cup” God gives us allows Him such an incredible opportunity to reach down His hand from heaven and show us and the world His faithfulness. If the trials never came, how could He possibly show His miracle-working power in our lives? What would have happened if Father God did indeed take the cup from His Son as he pleaded?
I still have such a long way to go when it comes to learning to embrace my circumstances–my “cup”–when things are not peachy. There are times when I think I have it all figured out and can declare in any season of my life, “How great is my God!”
And then there are times when I have to keep declaring what I know to be truth over and over and over again UNTIL my head and my heart can say with everything that I have….
“How GREAT is our God!”
Recently I’ve been praying differently about the “cup” that God has placed in my hands. Rather than asking Him to take it away from me, I’ve been asking Him to give me the grace, the strength, and the ability to embrace the season–for it is all according to His will for my life that I go through the things I do. Nothing by chance, nothing by coincidence. Everything by His mighty hand.
“Not my will but YOUR will be done.”
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4 (The Message)
I pray that no matter what season of life you are in, no matter what “cup” the Father has placed in your hand this day, that He would enable each one of you to go through it…with Him by your side, holding your hand as you journey together.
How GREAT you are, Lord Jesus.