My roommates and I got this postcard from one of our friends a few days ago (that’s right, we got an actual postcard, in the mail…apparently some people still use the postal service for reasons other than buying/selling things on ebay.).
The postcard is made to look like a comment card for evaluating “God’s services” and how we think they could be improved. To be clear, I disagree with the postcard on many levels theologically, but I also think it’s really funny. It seems to accurately make fun of the ways we/I often try to trade roles with God, or to put it a bit differently, it humorously points how we/I attempt to control the Creator. Assuming I’m not the only one who’s made this mistake, most of you probably realize that this never works, and eventually we’re forced to face reality and return to God in humility to once again ask for forgiveness as we seek to live tomorrow with a renewed perspective, guided by trust in a God who loves us and led by faith in a Savior who freed us to be ourselves, even when we don’t think that’s good enough. The title of the postcard is correct, “God wants to know”, but it’s only the beginning of a correct statement…God wants to know you. I suppose God already knows you because God made you and God loves you, but what I believe God wants more than anything is to be known by you…and I am eternally thankful that my evaluation on how well I’m doing is graded on a curve, a curve of grace that, when you look at it long enough, starts to look a lot like a cross.
The devotional reading below was sent to me by a girl I was dating while living in North Carolina during the summer of 2001 (between my sophomore and junior years of college). The girl lived 1200 miles away (in Iowa) and she is now married — so things obviously didn’t work out; she actually married the guy she started dating shortly after we broke up, which is something I have been lucky enough to help several of my ex-girlfriends prepare for — but I’m thankful for the experience and that she sent me this reading. I ended up talking to her a few years ago (it was a nice conversation) and got a chance to thank her for sending this poem to me because — although she originally sent it to help us accept and deal with the distance between us that summer — it has become a reading that has helped me (and others who I have shared it with) through several difficult and confusing times. It comes from a book of daily meditation readings published by Hazelden (the drug and alcohol addiction treatment center based in Minnesota) and although it is intended for people dealing with issues of addiction and codependency, it’s good stuff for anyone, no matter what issues they have (lets be honest, we all have issues). The book is called The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. I’ve found that this reading makes more sense to me every time I read it. Depending on what’s going on in my life at the time I read it differently and it helps me in different ways. I recommend reading it more than once and allowing its truth to slowly sink in and transform (and even challenge) the ways you think about your life and how God’s will seems to be happening in and around you; with your help or despite you.
“God’s Will” by Melody Beattie
God’s will most often happens in spite of us, not because of us.
We may try to second guess what God has in mind for us,
looking, searching, hyper vigilant to seek God’s will as
though it were buried treasure, hidden beyond our reach.
If we find it, we win the prize. But if we’re not careful, we
That’s not how it works.
We may believe that we have to walk on eggshells, saying,
thinking, and feeling the right thing, while forcing ourselves
somehow to be in the right place at the right time to find God’s
will. But that’s not true.
God’s will for us is not hidden like a buried treasure. We do
not have to control or force it. We do not have to walk on
Eggshells in order to have it happen.
It is right there inside and around us. It is happening, right now.
Sometimes, it is quiet and uneventful and includes the daily
disciplines of responsibility and learning to take care of ourselves.
Sometimes, it is healing us when we’re in circumstances that
trigger old grieving and unfinished business.
Sometimes, it is grand.
We do have a part. We have responsibilities, including caring
for ourselves. But we do not have to control God’s will for us.
We are being taken care of. We are protected. And the Power
caring for and protecting us loves us very much.
If it is a quiet day, trust the stillness. If it is a day of action, trust the activity. If it is time to wait, trust the pause. If it is time to receive that which we have been waiting for, trust that it will happen clearly and with power, and receive the gift in joy.