Tim has gone to work and Lara is still sleeping. I take the dogs out and tell myself today–today!–I will sit down with God to bow my head in His beauty and kindness and love. It has been too long. Even a day away from Him–how can I know I’m going the right way?
Sometimes I think for God to have a relationship with me is like me trying to have a relationship with caterpillars. I’m so big they can’t really see me. They certainly can’t understand me.
They bumble along and I watch over them, trying to put them in the path of food and water and trees to climb, keeping birds and mice from devouring them, or the red-headed ants from turning them into larval snack bars. I divert them from crossing asphalt to oblivion.
Sometimes they head towards the clearing–bare dirt–where bulldozers move stumps and branches into piles for burning. Perhaps the caterpillars don’t know the cut green is already dead, that the parched soil holds no sustenance and no future for them.
The caterpillars stubbornly go their own way, not realizing they must stay in the living green where morning dew, rye grass, and maples rise. They don’t know they must climb higher to weave a temporary tomb and sleep in order to become butterflies.
So I put obstacles in their way to turn them from destruction they cannot imagine. I move them to where they think they don’t want to go. They are terrified of me, though I have only good planned for them. They writhe and twist in my hand, trying to get away.
That is me in the Lord’s hands sometimes–writhing–frightened and senseless as a worm, forgetting He has only good for me and for you.
When I had to give up my farm I was disconsolate. I fell into deep mourning. And my husband, who had been the catalyst for the move, came to agree with me it had been the wrong choice.
But, as our eyes gradually opened to the dew and green around us, to the new heights we could climb, we also agreed that in everything we had never left God’s hands.
We came to see that, beautiful and healing as the farm had been for me, the move was necessary because of our stubborn hearts. The move kept us from a greater devastation–the destruction of our marriage.
Had we, in humility and reverence, addressed long-term marital issues while living at the farm, the move might have been averted. But the farm was big enough we could bury the truth and go our own self-serving ways, to the death of our vows.
So God took us to a smaller place where we could no longer escape the grave of lies. He is a God of truth, not a God of hiding. Like Adam and Eve, He searched out our runaway hearts and sent us from the Garden.
He led us into a relational wilderness where we had to speak truth to each other to forge a new life; to remove deep thorns we’d pretended didn’t exist, to learn how to listen, to hammer forgiveness and love into a strong shelter.
When the truth has been buried so long, exposing it releases a stench.For us, it stank of loud voices and deadly silence, slammed doors, bitter tears, despairing prayer.
And then, the little kindnesses began–times of red tulips and hauling trash cans, times of stumbling to learn how to nourish each other, to touch our deepest needs, to climb higher and join with God in His butterfly work of everlasting transformation.
And now, beginning to shed our caterpillar skins, we face new challenges and new opportunities for trust.
This time, there is a unity of shared joy as we go hand-in-hand writing the next chapter in the story of our lives, as we speak truth to one another about differences and needs, as we rest in God’s hands and seek His direction–as we prepare to stretch the trustworthy wings of the future He has graciously given us.
How do you see your relationship with God? What has He done in your life to give you new wings?