But in the midst of my questioning, I realize that these struggles are of the world and not of God, and that in His divine plan for us as individuals earthly strife is meant to bring forth and strengthen faith. But still, we mortals would like to believe that our faith could be strengthened equally as well by good times and the abundant life! Couldn't it????
I'm also deep in the thick of writing my first novel. I'm about two-thirds of the way through, and it's been a strange experience. Honestly, I don't believe there's an appropriate word to describe the feeling of writing. I've used this analogy in conversation ~ the feeling is similar to those first several weeks of being pregnant when no one around you can tell, yet it's all you can think about. You've got this little seed of life sprouting, growing, draining all your energy reserves, stretching your insides and changing the way you think. You certainly don't look any different, but you are different none the less. My writing has become more of an act of faith than I ever dreamed it would be. I find myself moving forward in the plot, sometimes easily, sometimes not, and constantly the little voice of insecurity is mumbling in the background, "This is so ridiculous... you're writing all this, wasting all this time... what are the odds, really, of publishing?" It takes almost as much energy to muffle the rumblings of the little insecurity devil as it does to do the writing.
All of this is coming together, I promise. I am building up to share a verse, one of my favorites:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.." Jeremiah 29: 11-14
This verse just speaks to me. I am so in love with this section of the Old Testament right now - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations. Let me preface by saying that I am no Bible scholar, simply a person who loves words and truly enjoys reading the Scriptures. I have become increasingly fascinated with God's calling of the people of Israel, how he continuously offered His love to them, His forgiveness. In my opinion, this section of the Old Testament clearly demonstrates the Father role of God, how He is trying different means to get His children's attention and draw them in to listen to Him. The same kind of philosophy many of us use as parents: Okay... let me try this and maybe my child will get it, and I really hope I don't have to go the punishment route... please get it... please.
So, this particular verse I've grown up hearing. But several weeks ago, God sent it to me in a weird way that I won't get into right now. I used to not believe in that - that God would send me a message. My conservative childhood memory of religion would not permit to accept that, but I am wising up in my old age. So God put this verse right in front of me on a day when I was feeling incredibly insecure about my direction. And I realized it's so applicable in most any situation in life. So I am trying to memorize it (not as easy to memorize these days as it was in my childhood) so that I can call on the words at any point in my life. Because no matter what we may be experiencing in life, we can all pause and repeat the verse to ourselves as a message from God.
I specifically like the last bit ~ the I will be found by you part. Not you will find me, or I will find you. I liken it to when, as a parent, we play hide-and-go-seek with our kids. We all know that an adult can easily dupe a child. We are much better thinkers than they are (most of the time, anyway). But what do we do instead? We half-hide. We make ourselves blatantly visible so that we can be found. And that's what God does for us. Even in the thicket. He's right there. We're the child playing the game, and He's begging to be found so that He can see us in the midst of our excitement of finally finding the prize.
So those are my thoughts for this morning. And I am praying that all who read these words will seek Him today... He will be found by you.