Monday, April 8, 2013

"Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life."

 "Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life." Mary Oliver

What a quote! It's sad to think she probably didn't realize her life would continue into eternity, but for those of us who know- how great to think we can spend this time preparing for the forever? I swing from one end of "Plan every SECOND" to "Why bother?". There must be a happy middle that allows for planning how to spend the days given, while allowing the work of Providence- God's hand- on our lives.

It's a comforting thing to know that I don't see the whole picture, but God does. We spent some restful time at the beach this last week and as I watched the waves roll up and over, in perfect rhythm, I kept thinking about Samson and his mother.

Do you remember that story? It's in Judges 13-16 and while we often remember him and his sweet mullet that Delilah cut off, I think of his mother. She is never even named, just known as "Manoah's Wife". As I worked on writing down her attributes a few weeks ago for some sweet girls I study with, I was taken aback at what a woman she must have been. We see her faith, her love, her calming influence on her husband (in one scene he's flipping out because they have seen God and he thinks they are going to get slaughtered...she speaks truth and logic. What a girl!), her perseverance, and even her grief as she buries her firstborn.

What's funny to me, is that as great as those things are, I kept getting hung up on one verse. Samson was a stubborn, strong willed child if there ever was one, and this verse comes right after his parents say "Don't marry that hootchie from Philistine! What's wrong with a good Jewish girl?" And Samson says, "Whatever- she's the one. Get her for me". And they do! (So strange- I see a big ol' slap right there if my son said that to me, yet another reason I admire Manoah's wife- she's so calm!) Anyways- done paraphrasing- look at the verse that sticks out:
"(His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)" Judges 14:4 
Crazy! Did the Bible just say that God was allowing Samson to make this dumbo decision, because good things would come from it-like the saving of Israel? Oh! What a comfort that is! Parents don't  always have to know how God is going to work through their kids choices, but we can trust that He WILL work! 
To think, that in all the mistakes, God is still overseeing it all. That He is LARGE and IN CHARGE and won't abandon us because we married the "wrong" person, took the "wrong" job, said the "wrong" thing. Now, the consequences of Samson's disobedience are huge. He's repeatedly betrayed by the woman he loves, has his eyes gouged out, and for a grand finale, dies under a pile of stone rubble. But God didn't abandon Him. And God still USED him for a good purpose!  
 Sometimes I like to say "why", "if only"...and just make myself miserable. But MOST of the time, I want to cling to this truth- that while people make mistakes, God isn't surprised and is still acting on our behalf. When I look at a big whoppin' mistake, I am going to think of Samson and his mama. She hurt and she worried, but in the end- her son did a big thing for Israel. He did more in his death than in his whole life combined, the Bible says. I hope that as she buried him, she was able to see some redemption for her wayward boy. She was able to feel the COMFORT of God's providence. 

I see my baby grandgirl, and she is a dream and a delight. I see my daughter maturing and growing in ways I never thought I'd see this young. I see the way God has pulled Spencer into our family and is humbling him and growing him into a strong, faithful young man. And if my son didn't get freaked out when I "oooh and ahhh" over him via internet, I would tell you all the wonderful things God is doing in his life. And all of these things here- are results of missteps. Consequences there? Yep. But blessings too. 
Oh, praise you, Lord, for that. Thank you for the way You move in our keep us heading towards you. With this "one wild and precious life", may we always seek to honor you FIRST. Then hopefully, we will make the "right" decisions right away- because the detours kind of stink. As Samson could attest. ;)
 But never doubt, my friend, that God is with you in it! He will help you- if you are willing to ask Him too. 
Look at those biceps! She's going to rival Samson someday! that just chubs? Bahahaha!

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