Friday, May 27, 2011

The Last Word: BUT God

[Returning to and revising this post as I am needing the reminder fourteen months later...]

So often my inner monologue goes something like this:

"Lord, I know Your Word says children are a blessing, but this sure doesn't feel like a blessing right now--I am not enjoying it."

"I know we're not supposed to complain about the weather, but I sure am frustrated at how all the rain has brought the mosquitoes out in full force."

"Steve's promotion at work was a huge blessing, I know, but I'm really not a fan of his having to travel more and these intensive weeks when he comes home later with his brain fried."

Notice a pattern? My emotions get the last word. "Truth, BUT...emotions that drown out that truth."

More and more I'm realizing the need to practice exactly the opposite:

"Lord, I'm really struggling to enjoy and appreciate these blessings, but You have indeed blessed me with TWO sons to raise for Your glory. Through my boys I can have an impact on places I will never go, people I will never meet, in a time I will not live to see. Through them You are refining me, teaching me patience, exposing my sin, giving me glimpses of my helplessness and Your Father-heart. You have chosen such a kind, gentle, beautiful way to refine me. You love me and are committed to making me holy! You are using motherhood and all its difficulties to glorify Your name and remake me in the image of Your Son. You are graciously teaching me humility and dependence on You; You are tearing down the idols in my heart because You are jealous for my affections. This is hard, but You are with me and I have every reason to praise You!"

"Lord, I definitely don't like mosquitoes, but you are the Sovereign Creator of everything, including bugs, and You know what's best. ...OK, I really don't know how to spin mosquitoes positively, I believe their itchy bites are a direct result of the Fall, but at least I can know that in Heaven they won't be biting me or my sweet babies!"

"I'm feeling frustrated because I miss my husband when he's not mentally/physically here--but thank You that most of the time, he IS here! You have blessed me with a faithful, loyal husband who works hard to provide for his family and really, in the grand scheme, doesn't have to work long hours or travel that much. And I love that he is so valued and respected in his job! Thank You for giving me a man who serves his family so diligently when he is at work and when he is home."

Same content...totally different perspective. Who gets the last word? The fact is, my emotions are untrustworthy and God's Word is true, not vice versa. Rather than letting my fickle feelings about my circumstances trump what is eternally true, I need to submit my emotions to the Truth.

I'm not saying it's wrong to be honest about how I feel. The emotions are real, and it's better to acknowledge them than to bury them and pretend they don't exist. But I don't want to let myself be ruled by them. Emotions make terrible masters. My heart can only be ruled by one Master--and how much better to be ruled by the wise, loving, sovereign, NEVER-changing King...than my foolish, self-centered, limited-perspective, constantly-shifting emotions?

Two of the most beautiful words I have ever memorized are "BUT God." Horrible truth about who we were in our sin and the hopelessness of our condition...But God, being rich in mercy, trumped that hopelessness. Reality was bleak--but God was bigger.

This week I'm trying to "...But God" my emotions. I'm learning to let the King have the last word.


Ali said...

Thank you! I hadn't read this before and needed to hear it in order to quiet my own complaining. I look forward to putting this into practice immediately. :)

raelynn said...

Keep reminding me, Amy. Thank you, and God grant us grace to allow, "But God..." be the last words.