And it's a mess
It all goes on the table
UP: Taken from an original post April 3, 2018 on my Ragbook and Good Light blog
I have, in the place where I meet with God, a fairly large table. It’s wood and round and heavy—a lot like the one I inherited from my Grandpa Morris.
And it’s a mess. Stacked high, sliding off, shoved back on, scraped into a box and balanced on top. With my questions. My frustrations, my rages, my bewilderments, my honest inquiries, my forget-it-I-give-ups. I first discovered this table about 20 years ago when I’d walked away from my job, my home, my circle of closest friends and a great deal of what I believed.
I spent a lot of time rolling things over in my head, wondering, searching, trying to come up with answers, or anything that made sense. Quiet desperation, I believe the term is. I daresay you’re acquainted with this.
Some six months into my broken bewilderment, something finally prompted me to put it all on the table. The whole mess. The good I was trying to keep hold of and all the parts that made me shout “But YOU SAID…!” So I did. Just pitched each thought and question up on the table and left it all there for God to pick over to fix and deal with however He wanted. Of course, I had to throw a lot of it back up there more than once, as I tended to grab things off and start worrying them over again.
I consciously said “God, I can’t deal with this. It’s your mess now. You sort it out.” There was tangible relief in putting something on the table, laying aside the sense that I was responsible to figure it out.
You know something?
God’s been sorting it out.
That life event, and everything else I’ve thrown on the table since then. He’s been sorting it out and working on it in the order He knows it all needs to be addressed.
He works on this bit of understanding before that revelation. He refines these ideas I hadn’t even considered putting on the table before He begins to untangle the huge distress that was the worst and most unbearable. Issue after issue, question after question. I look over the table and realize He’s been healing my hurts, answering my questions, helping me to wait well until His resolution comes.
Some of those solutions have become a strong support to me now, speaking to other questions I’ve laid on the table. A fair number of those big problems were only my own sins I couldn’t or wouldn’t see, stirring up a whirlwind for me to reap. God sorts it out.
Of course, a lot of the crap I threw on the table I’ve forgotten and gotten over without necessarily recognizing the intervention. But some remains a long time. Some of that 20 year old event is still on the table, but most of it is gone, shrunk to curious wonderings or transformed to new places of grace I’ve learned to hold for those who give me things to throw on the table.
When I throw something on the table, I don’t just sit back and turn on the TV or open a book, thinking that my duty is done. I know I still need to poke around where I think the answer might be, maybe ask someone wiser than me, perhaps read a certain book. I’m still responsible for keeping the question alive and making myself available for however the answer might appear.
I keep knocking, keep seeking. With an open mind as to when and how. Believing that I’ll understand it when it’s time.
But I’m not carrying all that weight or grief or desperation. That’s the difference. I have the energy to do what I do know, while I wait for what I don’t know.
This blows me away. God is so faithful to keep after us, to pick apart the knots, to reveal Himself to us, to gently coax us to fall in love with Him more and more.
These days, it’s not just about “spiritual” questions. I’ve also tossed up questions about specific people I’ve tried to understand. Political and social issues. Questions about my business. How to handle today’s to do list. And how to address the thing I’m sitting down to do next.
As consciously as I can, I throw it on the table.
God helps me deal with my life on the table. What He thinks about things is how I want to fashion my response to and approach to life. God’s character and nature speak to my relationships, to personal pursuits, to my running my business, and to all those political and social matters on the nightly news. So it all goes on the table.
Do you have a table?
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8
Also, Psalm 25. Are you still spending time in Psalm 25?
Toward the promise,
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