Many of you know the phrase “it’s no use crying over spilled milk”. I have heard that a lot at the breakfast table when my sister or I, knocked over a glass of milk after just waking up. When something is spilled, I’ve noticed people have one of two reactions. One, they jump into ninja mode and pick it up so it doesn’t spill anymore. Two, they watch in horror as if they can’t believe they’ve just knocked over a glass of milk. Knocking over a glass of milk usually isn’t intended, something like that isn’t in your plans for today. There are things you just can’t plan for, things that are painful at the time but are really for the best. God ruins plans. If you want to make God laugh, make plans. When something doesn’t line up with what he wants, you can forget about it. It’s not easy to accept spilled milk. It’s not easy to cope with ruined plans. So people have one of two reactions.
People like me see their plans about to be ruined and they jump into action. Sometimes jumping into action can mean pleading or making bargains with God. “Pretty please, with a cherry on top?” Or the classic: “If you just do this for me, I promise to read the Bible more, pray more (etc.)”. As if you actually have something to trade with God. Or you think because you want something for yourself, God wants it for you. I know I can’t see into the future. I don’t know how bad things would end up 20 years in the future if I did it on my own. He knows. His reasons for ruining plans are to bring him glory and honor, to let you prosper, not to harm you.
Sometimes jumping into action can mean attempting to fix the issue on my own. When I see something falling apart, I began to feel like God really didn’t know what he was doing after all. I think that in my vast knowledge of the world and everything in it, I am the only one who can fix something I’ve screwed up. I push others away; I push God away. I believe I have it all together. Until the pressure builds up to such an intensity inside me; the lies I’ve believed of myself shatter, and I’m left with a bigger problem than I started out with. It’s like trying to wipe up milk off the table, and to your utter dismay, the entire table collapses.
The more comical reaction to spilled milk is to stare in horror. As if you can’t believe you’ve just knocked over a glass of milk, or you can’t believe the things you planned didn’t work out. You just stare. The second part of that isn’t as funny; you then start blaming God. “God, why did you let this happen?” “God, where are you?” “God, you’re supposed to be good!” “God, don’t you care?” “God, I don’t understand” “God, why me?” “God, it’s your fault.” God knows what he’s doing. God has always been there. God has always been speaking to you; maybe you’re just not listening to the right things. God is good. He is incapable of being anything else. Even when our world falls apart and things get broken, he is still good. God cares. He doesn’t want to see his children struggle, but as children, sometimes the only way to get our full attention is to knock us flat on our backs, until we have nowhere else to look but up at him. Other times, he needs to teach us things. Still other times, he wants to test us and see if we will still be faithful to him through hard things that don’t seem to have an end. But it’s only a valley. And there is an entrance and an exit to every valley, no matter how dark. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts; his ways are higher than our ways. We can’t comprehend him even in our wildest dreams, much less his plans for our lives. God knows why you may be going through what you’re going through. It could be to encourage someone else along the way. It could be to teach them. It could be to grow your relationship, you trust, and your love for him even more. But ultimately, God will show you why you are going through what you are. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, and it even could be 10 years from now. I am just as guilty of this as I am of trying to fix it on my own.
This weekend, I went on a retreat to Panama City Beach, FL, and had the privilege to listen to one of the godliest women speak to me (lone high schooler) and the other college students who attended the retreat. If you want to check out her blog, it’s www.deannadavis.wordpress.com. She spoke about hearing God in the midst of distractions, and paying attention to what you’re paying attention to. She also talked about inner world things and outer world things. Your inner world is the dark, scary place you hide all your emotions and everything else you don’t want people to be able to see. Your outer world is the place where everyone sees, the one you can polish up and paste a smile on and no one can tell the difference. I took away lots of deep spiritual truths from this weekend, but the most important was the fact that Jesus wants my inner world. He wants to see the things I let nobody else see, possibly even myself. The inner world is like a monster under the bed. It scares you until you shine a light on it and see it for what it really is. When something goes wrong, I can take my emotions and store them in my inner world “for another time”. When milk gets spilled, I try to fix it myself; and all the issues and the emotions I’ve tucked inside my inner world come pouring out and I can’t stop them. While the first instinct is to shove them back in and hope nobody saw that, this weekend taught me that where there is emotion, there is an issue. And where there is an issue, there is an inner world to be healed. And where there is an inner world to be healed, Jesus is waiting for me to let him in and allow him to clean up the mess for me.