A sign from God showed up in our yard last weekend! No, it wasn’t crop (grass?) circles, and it wasn’t a sopping wet animal (old navy?) fleece. It’s just a “for sale” sign. Not really all that strange, but for me, it’s still a daily reminder that God is about to upend my life. Jack actually became rather gloomy when he first noticed it. And in normal “Jack” fashion, he began giving me all the reasons that moving away was a “very bad idea.” “Mom, grandma lives here! My friends live here! Our house is here! Our church is here! Your hospital is here! MOM, the SOUDERTON POOL is here!!!” (That last one is especially compelling in his mind.)
Honestly, there are days went I can’t really argue with his logic.
I recently read an article that accused a pervasive “anti-intellectualism” movement in America of being at the heart of the many problems that our society faces. “If only people would be reasonable!” the article lamented, “if only logic and strict adherence to facts guided us! Then life would be better.” Now obviously, I’m not championing rampant stupidity (rampant stupidity needs no champion!) and I’m not saying that a commitment to education and understanding is a bad thing and has no positive effect of society, but if I took the article and ran with the “logic is my north star” mindset, I would be looking down the next six months of my life with grave misgivings. Am I committed to peace and safety, financial security, lasting friendships, family involvement, my children’s emotional well-being, ministry opportunities or etc.? Of course! And all those things are here in Pennsylvania! I mean, the choice to leave our life here for the unknowns of the Air Force really makes no logical sense.
The other reason that I took issue with the idea that following logic will solve all our problems is because on its own, dogged human logic cannot assuage fears and doubts. Fear and doubt are not just logical problems, but are clouds blown along on winds of emotion—a storm just waiting for an excuse (AH! Rambunctious children!) to happen. Even if everything in my life pointed to joining the military as the answer (i.e. Paul lost his job, I lost my job, my parents and siblings all left the area, and our church imploded and everyone we cared about turned their back on us…and THEN the Air Force offered us a job :-) I’d still be anxious about this move. A logical perusal of the facts might give me a little bit of reassurance, but as everyone knows, fear tends to trump the facts. The only thing that can truly give me peace is my faith in both God’s sovereign control over my life and his never changing love.
So I put down the depressingly logical article and I pulled out my daily devotional book (that I look at less than daily, unfortunately) and turned to today’s date. And saw another, less ominous sign from God. God graciously set down two words against the foreboding backdrop of human logic. He reminded me of two important words in the New Testament, “Abba” and “Amen.” The first means “father” and the second means “yes,” or “so be it.” The one defines my relationship with God right now and the other defines the attitude I need to have towards God right now.
“So be it, Father.”
You want me to leave my parents and friends?
You want me to keep on waiting for news about where we are going (in two months?)
You want me to leave ministries that I love and a job that I thoroughly enjoy and coworkers who are great to work with?
You want me to reign in my frustration at having to keep my house clean each day for all the potential buyers who may or may not pay me what I think it’s worth?
You want me to love people, even though it’s easier to pull away because we’ll have to say goodbye soon?
This may seem like an easy fix or a pat answer. But truthfully, while I know that there is some grand narrative being written by God that includes all of my life and the situations therein, right now I can’t wrap my head around that. I somehow feel lost in grand scheme of things. I need different truth right now. What I need are two words that circulate warmth and comfort into the chaos of my heart and mind. This simple phrase, then, captures the essence of my struggle to hope. They mean, “Yes“—I trust you, I accept your choices for me, I will stop my frantic attempts to gain control over the situation, and I give up the right to run my own life. “Father” — I believe you are the one who loves me, who is designing my life so that I can become more like Christ, who cares about my relationships, my work and my ministries, who gives ample amounts of grace when I am in desperate need. My God has a good plan for my life and it might not look logical to me.
We humans are pretty much cut out of the same cloth. While my situation is big to me, it is probably not much different than ones that many of you have faced. The details may be different, but the scope and frustrations felt are probably similarly stressing. If we could just capture the phrase “Yes, Father” for all of the disconcerting and illogical future, what a difference that would make! Can I encourage you to strengthen your mind with this simple truth? That way, when the winds and waves of fear, doubt, and frustration and/or any other persuasive emotion begin to batter your faith, you have a clarifying and emotionally powerful truth. I will let it be my ballast and my stay. Why?
Because, it’s not logic; it’s love.