Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Can I see the blueprint please?"

It's the first question we ask when something bad takes place. "Why did this happen to me?!"

And typically it takes the long lens of time to see the answer; and I for one, hate that. I want to know why now and if not immediately, then very soon.

Why am I going through this? I want to know there is a reason and that this anguish is not just some random event. I am quick to look for applications, maybe it's the teacher in me, and usually some explanations are readily available, like a “silver lining” and while it does not completely assuage the giant grey cloud, it helps.

This was not the case of Ezekiel the exile...
The king of Babylon had conquered Jerusalem and carried off 10,000 exiles and twenty-five year old Ezekiel was one of them. He was the son of a priest. And that's significant because historically the priests began their service at the age of thirty. So all his life, one can surmise, Ezekiel had planned to be a temple priest and offer the sacrifices to the Lord, but now that was impossible. He was an exile in a foreign land which meant he was no longer at the Temple, why had this happened to him?

On July 31st of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles besides the Keber River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God...”Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you”...I listened carefully to His words. “Son of man” He said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. But I am sending you to say to them ‘This is what the Lord says!’ And whether they listen or refuse to listen...at least they will know they have had a prophet among them." Ezekiel 1:1, 2:1,3,5

God called Ezekiel to be a prophet and gave him a message for the exiles in Babylon, and that is the book of the Bible we have today known as Ezekiel. God had a big plan for him, but Ezekiel didn't know that for five years... For five years he, along with the other exiles, wondered what had happened and what was going to happen to them. For FIVE YEARS Ezekiel had more questions than answers...
We can look at the other Bible characters with similar stories; Ruth's husband dies and she follows her mother-in-law to a land foreign to her- and becomes the grandmother of King David. Esther wins the "Miss Persia" beauty contest and is now married to the king and consequently ends up saving her entire race of people. We know their complete stories therefore we see the answers to their questions of "Why?" but we don't have that luxury in our own life or the lives of those around us.

I attended a memorial service this weekend for friends whose baby died after a life of only eleven days. Why? Why would a young couple with a strong faith in God lose their precious baby? They haven’t gotten any instant answers for there are none; however, through all of this another young couple has stood with them who had lost their own baby a year earlier...

It would be so helpful if God would take us into his drafting room and roll out before us the blueprints of our lives and there on paper we’d be able to see the whole plan and understand how each part fits into the whole. But that’s not the case is it?

So if we have no instant answers what do we have? How do we answer this question of “Why has this happened to me?”

God doesn’t promise us we’ll understand, but He does ask us to trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5

There’s a song in which the lyrics say “If you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart”. And no matter if the answers are near at hand or far off in the future this is the one thing we can do. We remember that we are His children and that He is our Father. He knows how weak we are. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows what we can take and promises that we will not have more than we can bear. God loves us more than we can ever love Him or anyone else. The truest answers are in the character of our Savior. He’s not abandoned you for He’s promised He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5) “The Lord hears his people when they call...The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalms 34:17,18

Find your answers in His heart.

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