22 May 2011

Saturday: He makes all things new

Today I saw a friend I haven’t seen in 4 months, due to a less than desirable “break up” of our relationship. It’s a long story, but the separation was her choice, and pretty unexpected on my part. Not hearing from her for 4 months was hard, because we are close friends, and have talked about some really deep struggles she has been through.

Seeing her today was one of those surreal moments when you realize God really does answer prayers. During all the times I asked God to change the situation, I really, really believed He would. God just gave me a kind of secure, inexplicable faith—so it wasn’t exactly surprising when He came through. But it still makes me want to cry for joy. It’s like I’m the little girl that never really doubted her daddy would keep his promise and take her to the park, but when he does it does something to strengthen that daughter-father intimacy.

But it gets better than that—because when the little girl is crying about little girl troubles and about how her own naughtiness that has gotten her into a mess—there really couldn’t be a better time for Daddy to wipe her tears away and make good on his promise, right then and there.

My Daddy did make good on His promise. I waited so long for this moment. Not only did my friend and I see each other again, but we had a great time. She has changed, learned, and matured so much. She has reconciled with the person I prayed for her to reconcile with. Her attitude is completely different than it was four months ago. In place of her former desperation and negativity, she had only good things to say about the situations she has been through and what God has taught her. God has expanded her ministry and she is teaching a Bible Study in her house. In essence, one after another of my prayers for restoration and transformation have been answered. It seems almost too good to be true. But it is. He is SO faithful.

Before I met with her, I was sitting around wondering how I was going to give her some word of encouragement or exhortation like I always did before. I didn’t feel up to it, because I’ve had a weird kind of week. But I prayed for God to give me peace in all my relationships—even though I feel so undeserving of His grace right now.  (That’s what makes it grace—it’s undeserved favor.)

What actually happened, though, is that my friend was the one who encouraged me. I think it happened that way to remind me that I can’t take credit for what God has done in her. He’s just given me the privilege of an inside look in His work. The Word of God is the living water that fills me and pours out of me into the lives of others, but only when I am receiving from the fountain of life. That stuff doesn’t return void—but the vessel itself is not the important part.

What has happened now is not my doing. That’s God. Only God paints masterpieces like that. He’s the one that gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. It’s just breathtaking and humbling to see Him work like that.