Saturday, September 14, 2019

When God's Best Surpasses Ours

Hey Friend,

I love this version of Ephesians 3:20 from the Message Bible:

Ephesians 3:20 God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

If you regularly read my blog, you'll remember the post before this one: "I Cursed God Out and He Responded With Love."  In it, I share a very ungodly, ugly-human moment I had in response to continual physical infirmities.  It was NOT a shining moment in my faith walk, but it reinforced my trust that God loves us unconditionally and can, and will, shoulder our raw honesty with love.

After coming to grips with a third torn meniscus, I set my sights on our one and only upcoming vacation to the beach.  Even if I was still limping, I could forge my way to a beach chair, plop myself, and take in the beauty of God's awe-inspiring creation.  Like many, I am lured by the ocean's siren call.  

The ocean called, but Dorian answered.  Hurricane Dorian came right up the coast and forced evacuation of the beach where we were headed.  (Insert another, not so pretty, temper tantrum on my part).  Really?  I was not willing to settle for a "stay-cation"!! Couldn't just one of MY plans work out?

God, in the only way a holy and merciful God could orchestrate it, began coaxing my heart not to "settle for a tootsie roll," but instead, to "set my sights on a Godiva Bar."  God was up to something I could not imagine, or guess, or request in my wildest dreams.  

God doesn't often lead me to go on line, but this day, He did.  In my inbox was an email from Delta Airlines on frequent flyer deals.  It had some incredible post-Labor Day fares listed.  One was a round trip fare from Raleigh-Durham to Chicago for only $100. round-trip.  My curiosity was peaked.

I love the "Windy City". For five years, it was my home.  I made a quick check on the weather forecast.  Sunny and 70 degrees.  Awesome!  My fingers were tapping excitedly.  Hotel rooms...last minute deals...Magnificent Mile... downtown...great rates.  I booked it. My heart was beating faster.  I was rarely this spontaneous and impulsive. I'm a rut-loving planner by nature. It was kind of a rush - jumping in the deep end of the pool like this.

My husband has on his "bucket list" to see as many baseball games as he can in different ballparks.  The White Sox were going to be in town.  I grabbed some great seats between home and first.  I couldn't wait to surprise my husband.

All that was needed now was to put the beach clothes back in the drawers and pull out some Chi-town attire.  I packed my knee brace, ice pack, pain meds, good walking shoes, and then I prayed.

"Lord, you've allowed several monkey wrenches to close the doors on my wishes and plans.  I'm trusting that you have something even better in mind for me.  You know my physical limitations right now.  I am asking for Your divine strength to see me through this adventure you've placed at my feet and in my heart.  I'm going forward with this, trusting that through You and in You, I can do all things. In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

God had called me to "be brave" and step out in faith.  I did, and my husband did.  I'm here to testify that GOD'S best pretty much ALWAYS surpasses our best laid plans.  

We paced ourselves.  I iced, elevated, and girded my knee.  God rolled out the best Chicago had to offer.  We couldn't have had a better four day jaunt.  We literally went where the Spirit led us and weren't in any particular hurry.  The skies were bluer than blue and the sun was warm and gentle on our faces. This was the joy that cometh in the morning after weeping endured for the night. 

We enjoyed breathtaking views and dined in authentic Greek and Italian eateries. We saw some of the best the city had to offer and still, didn't even scratch the surface.  We couldn't have orchestrated a better trip if we had tried.  My knee, miraculously, held up and we were blessed with the together time we both were craving.  

God is good, He is good, indeed.  Even when I doubt and question, He still delights in blowing my socks off with His love and compassion.  This lesson has helped me to look at the big picture of life a little differently.  I get so caught up with how I would like things to be or how I would orchestrate my life, that I stifle God's ability to bless me with something that is far greater than my wildest imaginings.  

I thought Chicago was incredible.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for me in paradise.  In the thick of a season of suffering, God chose to infuse joy.  

Life is hard, but God is good!  May His name be praised!

I share the following pics with a heart filled with gratitude:

What about you?  Are you in a season of suffering?  Have some of your best laid plans been met with disappointment?  Might you be settling for something less than God's very best for you?  Will you share?

Be blessed...

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