Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.
I am a very tangible person. I like solid things, things that are real and concrete. I simply adore planning and as to the point of organization? Well my gosh, what would I be without my utterly ridiculous organization skillz.
They complete me.
Having said that I can’t take credit … or conversely, blame … for this blessing-slash-curse. I think it’s genetic … my mom has mad skillz too. When we were young ‘ens, my dad could call from work Friday, oh say about noon or so … ‘Hey honey, feel like camping this weekend?’ By the time my dad pulled up to the curb about 5:30, my mom would have completed unfathomable bales of laundry, organized and packed the pop-up camper for three children, herself, and my dad, planned menus for three days, took a spin through the grocery store, and could ultimately be found standing on the front porch with a martini in hand for Bob. Okay. Scratch the martini. That was me taking literary license again.
But I think you get the point. I come from a long line
of People Who Like Things In Order.
So. Now that you have a wee bit o’insight into one of my (many) personality quirks, you’ll understand why faith is sometimes difficult for me. Not faith in the sense of belief, but rather faith as defined by trusting that things are going as planned. I’ll pause a moment while you skip back to first paragraph above. I like solid things.
And I truly think God gets me on that point. Well … hmmm … honestly, I think I give God alot of grief and sometimes He probably ponders where he went wrong with me and my need for reassurance. However. That’s all fodder for a completely different blog.
I do believe that God understands my inherent desire to ‘see’ things in a definitive, absolute sense. And sometimes He oh so graciously humors me.
However. Before I tell you my Way Cool God Story, I want to impress upon you that I don’t believe God owes me a dadgum thing. Alright. That’s not entirely true. Sometimes I get a little out (read: way out) over my skis and whine (loudly and I’ll admit, annoyingly), ‘Why God!? WHY?!?’ And sometimes when I pray I have to remind myself that God is not my Magic Genie. I can’t rub my Bible three times, chant Scripture, then make a wish and expect Him to jump.
But all in all, I think I’m relatively well-grounded in my faith and understand
My Own Particular Place in the Big Scheme of Things.
Okay. Story, Lisa.
During one particularly turbulent time when My Life Changed in a Verra Big Way, I prayed pretty much non-stop for God to return things to normal. Jesus, let’s just simply turn back the clock and try it all over again. No harm, no foul. We’ll forget this ever happened, because, Lord, I’m quite sure you don’t want me to be this unhappy. To be this scared and uncertain.
I KNOW YOU DON’T, RIGHT?
And there was silence.
Days and weeks of silence. And the weeks rolled into a few months.
AND NOTHING CHANGED.
We are now into the tail-end of winter. I’m sitting in my car in a parking lot in Ann Arbor. Gooooo Michigan! Sorry. I promise no further outbursts.
But. To this day, I can still vividly remember the patches of dirty, ugly, well-trampled snow left on the ground, the bare, spindly trees, and the bitter cold wind. And just like the season, I’m feeling very raw and very abandoned. I see no tangible change in my circumstances. Things are not going according to The Plan, regardless of my prayers. I’m sitting there quite broken, wallowing in a Major Case of Self Pity, over several months of which I’ve now perfected to a performance worthy of an Academy award. I swear. I was just that good.
And I pray again.
‘Lord, all I’m asking for is a sign that you’ve even heard me.’ And then. I go one step further to test God’s limits. Kinda funny, huh? Me testing God. I’m sure one of two thoughts ran through his omnipotent mind. He was either moved by immense sympathy for me … or He was just completely weary of my grousing. My un-educated guess would be it was a combination of both.
I asked God to show me a yellow bird. ‘Lord, if you’ve heard me,
I need you to send me a yellow bird.’
And honestly, I felt kinda mean and bratty asking for such a thing. Then I attempted to temper my request, geesh, it wasn’t like I was asking for a rhinoceros or giraffe or some other large safari-type mammal. Yeah, there I go justifying Bad and Rude Behavior again.
But I wanted to see something discernible. I craved seeing something … anything … to let me know I wasn’t flying solo.
AN UN-MISTAKEABLE SIGN THAT THERE WAS A PLAN.
Not a common sparrow, or robin, or squirrel. A yellow bird.
Let me pause a moment while I savor my Goosebumps of Remembrance.
GOD GAVE ME A YELLOW BIRD. OHYESHEDID.
I opened my eyes and looked at the barren little tree in front of my car. Within a few minutes a little yellow fluff of bird flew into my peripheral vision and lighted on that darn tree.
(nor would I dare too considering God doesn’t like it when we lie … tsk tsk)
The bird flitted from branch to branch while I had a major meltdown. I felt relief and joy and … gosh … the experience was completely indescribable. I’m not going to even try to convey it in words because, as trite as it sounds … I simply cannot. There are no words to adequately portray how that transformed me. I was quite giddy. Yes, giddy might be a good adjective. And sobered.
GOD HEARD ME. HE HEARD ME?!
I’ve had the same experience only a handful of times since in my life, each time when I was at a particularly low, I Can’t See An End to This Bad Awful Time Anytime Soon period. And the yellow bird always … always … appears at completely illogical times and/or places that cannot be explained as the Natural Order of Things.
And now, I try not to press God too much to prove He’s around for me. I think He wants me to simply have faith that He is.