Many of you know the Bible story of Job. He loses absolutely everything and yet he says in Job 1:21 “The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (CSB).
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.
Too bad I am not like Job.
The Lord has given me the mission trip to Spain, and the Lord in some ways took it away, and I must confess that my response was NOT to bless Him. I have been back in the States now for about five weeks, waiting on my visa. I haven’t heard any update whatsoever, so I have not even the slightest clue when I get to return home. I say home intentionally, because even though I only ever intended on being in Barcelona for 1 year, my life is there, my heart is in that place, and I miss it greatly.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve enjoyed my time being back in Washington but generally that wouldn’t be true. While I have loved getting to spend time with my people (the Higginbothams) in Ellensburg, I don’t think they will be mad when they read that being with them is not what I want right now.
The truth is throughout all of these days, I have just felt stuck. Each day I wake up still on this side of the planet, I feel annoyed because it isn’t what I want. Ya’ll, I secretly sat in this funk for literally four weeks. Each time someone prayed for my visa to come I was thankful they prayed and in my heart secretly irritated with the Lord that we were STILL praying for the same thing. I have been living in an internal, personal pity party, and I sent out zero invitations because my (knowingly sinful) misery sought no company. I put on smiles and a brave face of course but the quiet places of my heart were truly frustrated with God.
I was so frustrated about being here, that I’ve for the most part avoided Tacoma because I didn’t want anyone to know. I’ve been in tiny little Ellensburg almost the entire time.
They don’t even have a Chick-fil-A.
I mean, COME. ON.
When a girl gives up God’s chicken, you know she’s going through it!
One day, I was out on a walk with Kelli listening to an audiobook. This book had nothing to do with waiting and it wasn’t a guide on how to trust the Lord, but the Man works in the ways He wants to. The author, in talking to her daughter, told her something like God is a father, He wants to hear all of your prayers. Yet He is a good father who knows what is best for you, so He knows which prayers to answer with yes, and which ones to answer with no.
Here’s the thing: I know God! I know enough theology to know He is totally, utterly, and completely in control. It’s not as if I didn’t trust He could bring me the visa, or even that He would bring me the visa so that I may return to Spain. I know He will. But when I get down to the true source of my bad attitude, it’s that I’ve been mad that He hasn’t given me what I want. I have been a spiritual brat, throwing a really long temper tantrum in my heart. I’m not talking about a little pout or eye roll here or there… I was full on Israelite grumbling in the wilderness level. The fact that I could get so upset about Him giving me a promise (to go to Spain) and then seemingly take it away (making me stuck in the States) shows me how much I have forgotten to be relational with God.
I keep thinking about that song that says, all His promises are Yes and Amen.
But, what if they weren’t?
Would I still want Him?
Would I still love Him?
I think I have been guilty of focusing on the feel-good parts of God’s character. Somebody preach to me about how He is a provider, please. I want somebody to preach to me how He makes ways out of no way. Amen? I want someone to tell me how He parted the red sea for His people… but go ahead and skip the 400 YEARS of slavery.
Learn from my immaturity and remember this: God is as wise with His “no”, as He is with His “yes”.
God is not just sovereign, He is relational. He is the creator of the universe, yes, but He is also a parent. He wants not to just govern His people, but to commune with them. Somehow in my self-centeredness, I began approaching him as my GPS like Siri, and forgot that He actually wants to drive the car with me in the passenger seat. He doesn’t want to be far away, He wants to sit with me.
He knows the best destination, He knows the best direction, and He knows the right speed.
At some point, I know that I will return to Spain. At worst, I have to be here 90 days before I can go back (according to the Spanish government).
But also, at some point, the Lord will give, and the Lord will take away, again.
I hope that next time, I remember this time, right now, and instead, I choose to bless Him.