Thursday, February 23, 2012

...If Anything is Excellent...

Excellent isn't a word in my everyday vernacular.  In fact, it conjures images of Bill and Ted and some adventure I'm not sure my 14-year-old mind comprehended as well as my 20-year-old mind would have.  But the word is felt and seen when God graciously parts the veil enough for me to see His hand make slight movements that have rocked my world.

More often than not, God has used something outside myself to clear the lens enough to allow me to see His movements of excellent.  Today, I had that privilege.

I have a life verse.  I didn’t get it all at once, but over time, God revealed bits and pieces of scripture until I was able to see that different situations I was facing boiled down to the same scripture.  Even now, He still reveals new sections and pieces that seem fitting to my circumstances.

Isaiah 43
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.

First, I got verse one.  I needed the reminder that I was claimed and His.  I needed to put our relationship in perspective and realign my attitude with one who is claimed and redeemed.  More than 8 months later, as I encountered several hurts in a row, I received verse two.  I still read those verses (and wonder if they were meant to prepare me for future fires through which I had to walk).  Fire and water are both consuming and overwhelming, but I would not be consumed by them.

In the last few months, God has slowly been reminding me of verses 18-19:

18 “Forget the former things;
   do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland.

I don’t believe those verses to be a magic “cure-all," but I look to them to remember where I have been and where God has brought me.  They are reminders that “He who began a good work in you” will do His job fully and completely (Phil. 1:6).

I walked into an Ash Wednesday service yesterday (my first) and realized my belief God is good was born out of something horrific.  I said He was good before those circumstances entered my life, but I believed it wholeheartedly afterward (or during might be more accurate).  When I bent my head to acknowledge my sinfulness, a deep understanding of God's excellence washed over me, because He hasn't just led me in this journey, he's occasionally revealed tiny pieces of the map.

The point is this:  He is worth our thoughts, because His ways (that are not our ways) prove a path of excellence paved with or without our knowledge.

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