Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Second Chances God Gives Us

Have you ever found yourself wondering, no maybe struggling with, what on earth God is up to?  After my last post I am sure no one is surprised to hear that I spent a lot of time asking why?  Why now God?  Why this man?  Why this family?  Why, in the middle of his life, his marriage, his children's 'growing up time'...why did you have to take this man from those who loved him?
I don't have as hard a time with God's reasoning or purpose as I used to.  I don't know why that is...maybe because I understand that I am not meant to understand.  Maybe because I have seen such amazing things come from the trials we all experience.
But it still hurts, we still ache, we still grieve....and we still do question.
And this last week I questioned again...but for the exact opposite reason.
This week the fragility of life was tested once again.  This week I was faced with the reality of what could have been a life ending tragedy.  And once again I found myself asking God why...or maybe what is a better word.
My husband had a very scary accident a week ago.  He was cutting a tree and it twisted and the wind blew it back on top of him.  He was knocked to the ground, hit from behind by this tree.  He managed to get up and get himself into his truck and into town before calling an ambulance.  We spent the next 7 hours not knowing if anything in his back, neck or chest was broken.  The chest seemed to be the area that hurt and there was no symptoms of spinal cord injury.  In the end he had a bad break of a rib, right off the sternum but other then that, he was fine.  In tremendous pain, but fine.
Initially I didn't think a lot about it.  I just dealt with it and keep saying he was very lucky.  And then a day or so later I realized he wasn't lucky, he was blessed.  God chose for this not to be his time, not to be an injury that changed his life or mine forever.  And yet that statement isn't true.  God may have chosen for this not to be an injury that changed his physical life but I am wondering if He was trying to change our lives forever...in the form of a wake up call. 
I spent so much time in the days after learning about Scott's health and in the days following his death questioning why God takes some people and not others, how God comes up with the timing on  things.  As I mentioned before, I tried hard to come to terms with the fact that there aren't answers to those questions.  Just as there aren't answers to the questions on why Geoff wasn't more seriously hurt.
Except deep down I think I do know.  I think we all know deep in our hearts why God protects us from life threatening, life altering injuries... because He's not done with us yet.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 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.

He always has a plan but unfortunately we aren't always following his ways.  Sometimes we're just a step or two behind or to the left but others we are in a whole other country.  I really believe that these times when He seems to protest us, He really is creating a wake up call.  He's trying to remind us that life is precious, that He is in control and He needs us to follow Him. 
Now some might wonder at what I've posted and how that relates to when He doesn't seem to protect us, doesn't seem to make us survive the odds so to speak.  I don't have an answer for that, no one really knows but the Lord.  But what do I believe???  Well I've come to believe that when God said that he knows the plans he has for us, plans to prosper and not harm, plans to give hope and a future He doesn't always mean in this life, doesn't always mean here on earth.  Another thing that comes to me when I read this scripture is that maybe it's not just written in the single form for the word you but rather, as many in my area seem to say, it's 'yous'... the plural form of the word you (the educator in me is cringing as I type that LOL).  He knows the plans he has for all of us and sometimes the plans He has for the you singular involves or transpires because of the actions, outcomes, circumstances of the you plural.  His plan to prosper one of us, to not harm one of us might not be what we'd think. It might be that the prospering happens in heaven because let's be honest, the only place that NOTHING can harm us is heaven.  Perhaps the plans He has to give us hope and a future can only be realized by us experiencing heartbreak, loss and grief.  

Wow..this is pretty deep and isn't even where I was going with this when I first began planning this post.  Funny how life works sometimes. I began it thinking it was all about the 'wake up calls' but the more and more I think about that passage... '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'  the more I am thinking about those moments when we can't figure God out, when we can't understand why someone we love has to go and yet another gets to stay.  We get so caught up in that and we fail to see that WE are still HERE.  God did have a plan for us, plans that aren't meant to harm us but rather to give us hope.  It is so easy to feel like we are being harmed and hurt, that our prayers are being ignored.  But time goes on, life goes on...we move ahead, little step by little step.  In time we find a new place for us, a new normal.  We find hope and we find peace.  And some, like me, like so many that I featured in my 'Motivated Mondays' series, are inspired, are encouraged, are motivated by their loss whether is a loved one , a job, a home, a relationship etc. They find a new hope and a new peace.  They find a future and they feel richer, more complete even though, at times, their heart feels so broken.
Maybe this scripture has nothing to do with the plans God has for us but rather for the plans God has for others and how what happens to them will influence us, under His guidance, to do amazing things. Maybe it's not about the plans we think of when we imagine what prosper means, when we think about the things we feel harm us.  Maybe it's about the bumps in the road, the things we fear, the things we are sure will ruin us and how we grow from them.
I guess we never know for sure.  What we do know is that He is ultimately that one in control and no matter what happens, He will be there.  He will not harm us, He will hold us. He will help us find hope and He will give us a future full of His amazing grace, blessings and love.

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