2017 is coming to a close. For some of us as we look back on the year, we smile with satisfaction, some weep with sorrow and others of us scratch our heads and wonder, “What in the world is God doing?”
But regardless of where we are, He is faithful. He is constant. He is true. When life doesn’t make sense, we can trust the character of God-even when His tactics leave us questioning Him. I love how Alyson breaks it down in today’s post.
Welcome to the blog my sweet friend, Aly!
Life can be ironic sometimes, don’t you think? I remember the lyrics of a song from the early 90s where the artist sings about how ironic life can be at times. (And no, this song definitely did not make it on any “Top 10 Christian Songs” list, so there is no need to look up all of the lyrics.) “It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid.” “It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take.” “It’s like rain on your wedding day.” These are just three of the lines from the song about the irony we see on a day to day basis.
Ironic is defined as something that happens in the opposite way to what is expected and typically causing amusement because of it. You know what this definition is talking about — it’s like that time you were at the grocery store with your three young children who surprisingly were perfect, tiny cherubs the entire time you were walking through the store. As you were checking out, all hell broke loose in the line – one fell out of the cart and was screaming hysterically while the other two were opening packs of M&Ms and pouring them into their mouths. And who happened to walk by and stare with her mouth wide open? The pastor’s wife, of course. Ironic, right? Because of course she couldn’t have walked past on aisle 7 while the four of you were calmly selecting that week’s healthy, nutritious cereal options…those sweet, little angels. No! She just had to walk by when you were at your weakest and your kids were at their worst! Irony. It never fails us moms, does it?
You know what else is ironic? How about praying for something for a very long time and then getting the exact opposite of that which you’re praying for.
For years, decades, really, my mom prayed that her husband (my dad) would stop drinking and smoking. He grew up in south Georgia, joined the navy, and started both habits at an early age. I never knew a time where my dad didn’t smoke cigarettes or drink beer. I remember praying occasionally as a young girl and teenager that Daddy would stop. But if I’m honest, I eventually stopped praying because I just didn’t believe he would ever stop. Not my mom, though. She prayed faithfully that he would quit.
God answered her prayers in completely ironic ways – neither of which we found amusing either.
Normally when you pray for someone to stop a certain habit, you expect the answer to be exactly that — the person would be healed of their addiction and quit doing it.
That is rarely the case, is it?
One night in 2013, my dad was in a minor fender-bender. The police officer arrived on scene and after a series of tests and questions determined my dad was under the influence. He spent some hours in the county jail and eventually got to call my mom. She was crushed. She had been praying for him to be done with alcohol, not be arrested because of it. Why would God have allowed the complete opposite of her fervent prayers?
About three years after this event in my dad’s life, he began experiencing mild, chest pains. One evening, the pains got so intense that he asked my mom to drive him to the emergency room. They kept him overnight for observation, and the next day his doctors decided to do a heart cath to see if he needed a stint placed in a vein near his heart. What they found during the procedure was much more serious – a stint would not repair the damage they saw. Dad went into emergency open heart surgery early the next morning where his doctors performed a triple bypass surgery and replaced one of his heart’s valves.
Can you imagine my mom praying these prayers? “Lord, if it’s your will, please allow my husband to receive a DUI.” “God, my husband really needs to stop smoking, so would you please make him go through open heart surgery to teach him a lesson?”
We would never pray such things over those whom we love! Sometimes God throws a little “irony” in our life, doesn’t He? Events take place in our lives, and they seem completely opposite of what we have been praying for for years and years. During those ironic times though, God reminds us that He is viewing our entire life at one time. He knows what the outcome will be.
My dad has not had an alcoholic beverage since the night of his accident. And he has not smoked a cigarette since he entered the hospital that evening in August 2016. Even in the moments we viewed as ironic, God was working to move mountains in my dad’s life.
I love this song called “Do It Again” that we sing during our worship time at church.
The song starts off: “Walking around these walls, I thought by now they’d fall, But you have never failed me yet. Waiting for change to come, knowing the battle’s won, for you have never failed me yet.” How long did my mom pray for my dad’s addictions to be out of his life? Years, decades even! Many times I bet she whispered to God, “I thought by now he’d be done with his addictions.” What is that prayer that you’ve been praying for ages? Keep believing that God is not done in your situation; keep waiting for the change to come; keep walking around the walls like the Israelites did in Jericho; trust that God has already won the battle for you. The song continues: “I’ve seen you move, you move the mountains. And I believe, I’ll see you do it again. You made a way, where there was no way, and I believe, I’ll see you do it again.”
My God moved mountains in my dad’s life. He released those strongholds, and He strengthens Dad each time the thought of lighting up just one more cigarette pops into his mind. Because we have seen God move those mountains that at times we deemed impossible to move, we have faith and confidence that we will see God move mountains again. God made a way where, humanly speaking, there was no way. And we’ll see Him do it again.
Mark 11:23-24 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefor I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
Be sure to peek around this coming week for some free downloads to get you on track for 2018! Love you, friends!