Sunday, November 7, 2021

You, Not Your Name

You, Not Your Name 
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16 ESV 

Part of the wonder concentrated in the word “behold” in today’s verse is generated by the unbelieving mourning of the sentence before it. Zion had said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14 ESV). The divine mind seems to be amazed at this wicked unbelief! What could be more astounding than the unnecessary doubts and fears of God’s favored people? The Lord’s loving rebuke should make us blush—He cries, “How could I forget you, when I have engraved you on the palms of my hands? How dare you doubt that I always have you in mind, when the reminder is set on my very flesh?” Oh, unbelief, what a strange marvel you are. We don’t know which should have our greatest wonder—the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never like a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a dissipating fog—and yet we are as continually bothered by anxieties, suspicions, and fears as if our God were a mirage in the desert. “Behold” is a word intended to excite admiration. Indeed, we have here a theme for marveling: heaven and earth are rightly astonished that rebels would obtain such a great nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written on the palms of His hands. “I have engraved you”—it does not say, “I have engraved your name.” The name is certainly there, but that is not all: “I have engraved you.” See how full this is! I have engraved your person, your image, your condition, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works—I have engraved you, everything about you, all that concerns you. I have put every bit of you there, in my hands.” Will you ever again say that your God has forsaken you, when He has engraved you on His own palms?

- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I can't entirely speak to my Wife's thoughts or emotions during this hugely pivotal period of time in our lives, but I can speak to my own. 

God uses me and my experiences in the writing of this blog, and in the future, a book that's in the works.  I lack understanding in a great many things about this transition. I have been reading in Isaiah and now Jeremiah.  I am finding Hebrews works well with Jeremiah.  

I am finding myself fighting anxiety on levels that I can't remember being at.  

I have been a troubleshooter in problem solving for much of my life.  It's just the way God hardwired me.  Yet in these moments in my life I am greatly outside of my element. 

It's a God thing that I came across that photo of the Bible passage from Joshua 1:9 then to be reading in Morning and Evening by Spurgeon to that topic. 

I know for sure that early on in October God definitely pointed us in the right direction in moving.  The job, the place to temporarily live for me, fell into place without incident.  The leaving where I was went, for the most part, painlessly. I cannot help those whom I have left behind any more than I did with respect to my conduct and behavior as a believer in Christ Jesus.   Months ago there was shall we say a person of elevated position in that company who made a statement that caused me to respond in regards to it. I couldn't stay silent. The person made remarks that God doesn't joke about.  That after this individual was done with the perks he would offer when he would come on the floor people would think he's God. 
I had a boldness in my conversations with him that I have never had before. I reiterated to him that he owes me no apology, but he does now have a problem with God and needs to do something about it because God has always had a problem with anyone who said and believed as he had.  The week of my leaving God looks to have begun dealing with him just as I had warned him of.

This to say that indeed we are more than a name on the palms of His hands, we are in the palms of His hands.   

I confess to a great deal of trepidation and anxiety about moving. Right now my mind is trying to function in two cities, in several different environments. My thoughts of a place to call home show up before us in houses we see for sale then get taken away because someone else beat us to it.  I see opportunities lost in this and it's difficult to manage for me. 

I have mentioned this to a few people, but have you ever wondered what possessed Peter to think about stepping out of the boat?  I can easily see the other 11 Disciples looking at him like he's lost it. Then, after he successfully does get out of that boat and IS standing on the water, walking towards Jesus, the thought of those 11 wondering if they should or could. 

In my walk with Jesus, He's had me get out of the boat and stand on the water.  In 20+ years a great many people have never understood me nor my choices in my working career and other things.  

In the early 2000's I was hit by a semi truck.  God spared my life that day. When you're going the speed limit of 45 mph one direction and the semi is mostly doing 30 to 40 into a turn across your path running a red light, you get a front row seat in physics. My Dakota was shortened by at least 3 feet. But all this is the lead in to what came next.  

In my visit to the hospital ER, x-rays said that I had a broken arm. Around 2 inches of a bone that connects to my wrist had broken off. One or more wrist bones had pulverized. I would be in a cast for at least 6 to 8 weeks, with a possibility of surgery if the bone wouldn't go back to where it was smoothly enough. 

This took me out of work. The necessary position of the cast brought painful times trying to sleep. I would wake up abruptly quite often. It wasn't possible to get comfortable enough to get sustained sleep.  In this time I cried out in anguish to God a lot.  Which relates to today.  I have found myself in my drive to work crying out to Him again.  I struggle with how all this began so quickly and perfectly, yet right now it's like moving through mud.  It's caused doubts to arise for sure.  Our lives are on hold and it scares me to think about trying to move if snow is on the ground. 

I know that God's given ample evidence and proofs of His work in our lives. 
I know that there's no real reason to fear any part of what we are going through because God's still God. 

In time all of this will be a memory. As happens with Pastors, life can give you materials if you're paying attention.  I do let God know how much I hurt, of how confused I am.  

There's so much about this transition that makes sense yet so much as well that makes no sense to me.  It doesn't make Jesus any less the Great Shepherd. Doesn't make Him any less my Savior. Doesn't make Him any less my Provider.  My understanding things isn't a requirement for Him to do things as He sees fit to do in my life.  Jeremiah really didn't understand what he was physically going through and all he had to go on were Jesus’s promises of Him being with him through everything. Job had no understanding until after he died as to why he went through what he did. Joseph held fast to the truth that he knew that the Lord Jesus was with him. I might feel afraid or alone at times like this, but Jesus has never let me out of His sight, let alone His hands. I might only feel like crying, and that's ok, because Jesus sees every tear we cry. His Spirit remains with us through everything. 

In your walk with Jesus, do you really consider what you are doing and are going through?
Life might not be as weird or as crazy as mine is at the moment, but do you ever look at your life in regards to how well you are walking with Jesus?  There's a few kinds of obedience. Willing and forced. Which describes your life?  

Is your obedience out of the right reasons?  Do you at all consider that you are in His hands? Not just your name, but you. 

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