You know the story I'm sure. When we were at the river, in the initial panic-stricken minutes, I kept saying to my friend, "It's okay - God made the river, he's in control of it; He has Josh in his hand." As the day wore on though, I begin to grapple with the idea that maybe God wouldn't actually rescue Josh. I admit, it didn't seem to fit with my perspective of God. After all, God has always blessed me immensely - like, my whole life practically. His plan seemed to always coincided with my plan - and when it didn't, it turned out better. So I learned to trust him. Even when painful things happened (like, my kneecap problem) I knew God would bring me through because he always did.
So now, here I am, sitting by this rushing river, waiting and waiting and realizing that it's probably too late - that the person who understood me best in the whole world is most likely not in the world anymore. This didn't really reconcile with "my" God. My God doesn't do this to me. I mean, he just doesn't.
But he did.
So that left me in a quandary. The first week, I felt distant from God. I tried to pray, but it didn't feel right. God was huge, hard, and suddenly seemed disinterested in me. All around I saw evidences of how Josh's life was impacting people, how his death was furthering the kingdom of God... but my little heart screamed, "But what about ME?!"
Sure, I knew the universe didn't revolve around me. I knew that God's kingdom obviously mattered more than my happiness. But I couldn't help the feeling that God's big plan for his work through Josh's death overlooked me. Yes, poor little Ariel's world will crumble around her, but oh well - Josh's death is blessing people all over the world.
You must be cringing at my selfishness by now. It is hard to just tell you this, but I want to be completely honest. This is how I felt, and still, once in a while, feel. What I discovered was that I knew, deep inside me, that Josh's death would bless me, too. God has not overlooked me because I'm too insignificant compared to the world (even though I am) - he has plans for me that are better than I have planned for myself.
This whole thing has made God so much bigger than I thought of him before. No more does his plan always make me happy. Thank goodness! What a small view I had of him; I am ashamed. One of the incredible things about God is that he is so, so big... and yet cares for every single individual. Yes, that includes me. Wow. That amazes me.
So this has been my experience. God cares so intimately for me. Probably my favorite psalm ever, Psalm 139, speaks about God being the ultimate being who understands us. Putting this new concept of how big God is with how well he knows and cares for me simply baffles me. It is beyond words. This last December I was expounding on it in my journal. It's a little messily written, but here it is.
"Psalm 139!!!!!!!!! Officially my favorite psalm. EVER. It's the most comforting psalm. Not comforting as in gives me happy safe fuzzy feelings. Comforting as in, the world can be falling apart, but even if I suffer Jesus has me in complete control in his loving, powerful hands. God is love and justice. Not just a happy everything-goes-right God and not just a judgment-on-all God. No, either of those would be weak. The world makes him out to be the sicky sweet god. That bothers me.
Anyhow, listen to the word of the Lord. Or rather, the words I want to say.
"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!" This first sentence just caught me. He has searched me? He HAS known me. Meaning, when I was a little snotty kid, he knew me. Just let that sink in.
"You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether." Okay, so I know he knows my thoughts. Obvious, right? But think, I say! All my ways. He's like, the ultimate person who really can predict me. Even if he didn't know the future, he could totally take the words out of my mouth because he knows me inside and out. He knows how I react to situations, what I'm prone to do. Nothing I can do will ever be a suprise to him. Amazing. I'm wrapped in a cloud of deep, deep comfort.
The psalm goes on to describe all these far-reaching places, heaven, the sea, Sheol even - everywhere. He IS everywhere. And if you think about it... that means many things. When I'm struggling with ANYTHING, he is there. He totally understands. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me." How true!!
Then he talks about my inward parts, in my mother's womb. "In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Wow. Okay, just wow. Every single day is "written" - he knows all about. He knew I'd be sitting here in the Goodrich's living room by the stove, on my laptop, writing this. He knew that while Esther stood before the king. That boggles my mind. Boggles. Just crazy. He ends the section about knowing by saying "I awake, and I am still with you."
That makes me want to cry!
I awake and I am still with God. Still! He is so, so, so, present. So RIGHT THERE. So ... inside me! He's never ever going to be even just a hand's reach away. I cannot be separated from him. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! I can't say it enough. Crazy. Crazy."And last but not least, a picture. Putting those beautiful, bright red roses there was such a comfort. It makes it look loved. As it is.