Keeping the King Awake

Why?

How many times do we asked this question? Or, how many times are we asked?

Kids are notorious why askers. Why does the puppy bark? Why did the bubble pop? Why are the chips spicy? Sometimes the why’s with littles come from being overtired or frustrated. Why do I have to go to bed? Why does the water in the bath get cold?

Our Whys Shift

As we age, our whys shift. Because, when we are older, we linger on the edges of darker places. Loss, infertility, divorce, sickness and disease, our whys sound different. They sound like an aching overused muscle. Or a longing to find a reason…to find any reason that will be the balm for the wretchedness of grief that scratches away at our hearts.

Why questions keep us stuck sinking in quicksand: why do bad things happen to good people? I am not fond of this colloquialism…why not just, “why do bad things happen?”

We Ruined “Good”

When God created, He said it is good. Then we, His creation, overused the word…and now “good” is just flat place..a conversation stopper. Your teenageers respond without even looking you in the eye with “good” when you ask them about their school day. Good means so little. If you do not want to tell someone how you really are…you say, “I am good.” You know it, I know it, let’s move on.

The heart of the question is more about pain. And hidden with the pain is the question, how can I avoid it? Or how am I to endure through it?

These are tricky sticky places…because there are no simple answers. God doesn’t fully reveal His kingdom. We do not live in complete transparency of who He is and how He works in our lives. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. He is above our tunnel vision. He moves around our self-preservation. His scope moves through our circumstances. He is without limitations.

No wonder we are left with “why’s?”

Maybe our why’s are ok, even expected?

What happens when we soften our why’s to keep ourselves from becoming embittered and resentful? Stopping ourselves from living in places where not knowing feels cruel. These dark places are breeding grounds for calloused, cold hearts to turn us away from thoughts of a loving Father’s invitation to know Him. But if we soften our whys to sound more like curiosity. Like the child who asks “why does the kitty meow?” Curious to ask you because they trust you can answer. And they still love us when we can’t answer. And they keep asking us over and over again. They don’t give up asking us why. Childlike whys are like wonderment.

Adult whys are so often fueled by hurt or anger.

The heart behind the why changes through our pain. So what do we do when we find ourselves bogged down in the why? So stuck in the pain of our circumstances that our hearts become cold. And with the chill, we sit on the edge riddled with fear.

Wonder “why” from a place of trust?

When I hear my mind ask why? I take my thoughts captive…and I remind my heart what is true.

This is what I know to be true, God is for me and not against me. He keeps his promises. No word returns to Him empty. His arm is not too short to save. What the enemy meant for evil, God will make right for His good purposes. He has given me everything I need for life and godliness. When I feel weak, He is my strength. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. You, Father are near, not far. I am not alone in this place. So I don’t know the why right now, but I believe that He does. He sees, His ways are not my ways. 

I can trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding…and He will make my feet surefooted like a dear and enable me to go to the heights. So I don’t know the why right now, but I believe that He does. He sees, His ways are not my ways. I am His daughter and He is the giver of good gifts. 

So I will stand firm and not give the enemy a foothold in my mind. I will close my thoughts to any bitter root and trust in His promises. The Father sees how this situation brings pain, but I trust He sees what I cannot. He is not limited by my circumstances. He sees beyond, He has the plan, He knows how the pieces fit together. 

And as I meditate on what I know, the truth that is above how I feel, I sense the shift come. There in the middle of the why, is a shift. Peace is near because the Prince of Peace is near. The confident assurance of hope comes close because He is near.

And He is always at work. He is the master of what happens behind the scenes. We won’t know all the answers because we aren’t inveted behind the curtain. At least not yet.

Read Esther 6

Jumping into the story in chapter six of the book of Esther, we find that the king is restless during the night. Why was the king unable to fall asleep? He cannot sleep and decides the best way to soothe his insomnia would be to read a little history. Why?

During his nighttime history lesson, the king learns that Mordecai exposed an assassination plot to kill the king. King Xerxes determined at that moment to honour Mordecai for his faithfulness.

God’s viewpoint, His perspective was above King Xerxes’ insomnia. Why can’t the king fall asleep? The king was not meant to fall asleep that night. Insomnia had a purpose. The king was kept awake to discover Mordecai’s good deed. Think on that the next time you find yourself staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of the morning!

We know from the previous chapter in the story that Haman had an alternative plan for Mordecai. While Haman connived to kill Mordecai, the king was looking to have Mordecai promoted. God chose to use insomnia to thwart Haman’s intention.

Here we have a glimpse into some of God’s perspective. Haman could not execute Mordecai because God’s plan was for Mordecai to live. Mordecai needed to live so that Esther would be encouraged to speak bravely on behalf of God’s people. Mordecai had to live, therefore, the king needed to stay awake.

God’s plan is always about restoring and saving His people.

God was turning the story over and unveiling His plan. Consider this the next time the why question rolls around in your thoughts.

Instead of asking why is this happening, ask…what is God doing?

When My World Feels Small

I am ordinary. My life would not stand out from the crowd. In fact, I would much rather watch from the sidelines or sit in the background than pursue notoriety. I like ordinary living. My best self lives plain and simple. Even ordinary things are important to me.

I like my first-morning coffee and getting up early. I like gardening. I like sunshine through my window, and long drives listening to an audio book. I eat the same breakfast almost every day, and I never go to bed with make-up on. I am ordinary, plain, and simple.

I catch myself sometimes wondering if it is ok to be ordinary? Is it ok to be plain and to want simple? What does the Father think of my ordinary, my plain, and my simple life?

You don’t have to scroll far through Instagram or FB to see others aspiring for greatness… appearing to move mountains with their messages, connecting to the masses, solving world problems, leading causes…changing political climates. And here I am living in my small, simple world.

As my thumb swipes the screen, I can feel the doubt creep in…the question rising in my mind. Should I be striving to do more? Should I want to be known for leading the cause, moving the mountain, or charging ahead to defend against the injustice? Would my life have more significance if I set out to challenge old ways of thinking, or stand in the open field facing the giant… a few small stones in my hand? Do I need to go looking for an enemy to fight?

About six years ago, I received a word of encouragement…part of the word shared with me reverberates through my mind.

You are going to raise those who will fight the giants. You will not fight the giants, but you will raise those who will fight the giants. You will give swords to people who are called to be in the battlefield. 

I sit with this for a moment asking the Father about my feeling of smallness. I sense Him come closer. Nothing is insignificant to the Father. He does not overlook or walk by the insignificant. I may not be fighting the giants, but someone needs to raise them up.

Our world needs giant slayers. We need those who will run into the battlefield, take up the cause, fight the enemy. And we need those who will raise the giant slayers and give them their swords. Swords of truth. Truth about who they are and wisdom to challenge the lies that the enemy feeds our minds. The truth tears down walls of hostility, walks in forgiveness and extends grace. Truth loves and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable. These truth swords pierce hearts with love…and these giant slayers shift atmospheres and bring His kingdom to earth. None of that sounds ordinary.

So you daughter, or son of the King of Kings… don’t ever think your ordinary is insignificant. The word of encouragment you give to your children…. the kindness you extend to the lady at the store…the smile you share, the prayer you pray. You, too, are raising giant slayers. His word does not return to Him void. If He gives you truth and you share it, lives will be changed.

He loves you. No part of you is insignificant. He has even the hairs on your head numbered.. He desires to be with you. He promises never to leave you. There is nowhere you can go, or nothing you could do that will separate you from His love. He knows you. He keeps His promises. You are a part of His story..even if you are ordinary. He knows your pain. He sees your struggle.

The Father’s heart for you

I do have a very ordinary way of life, but God uses ordinary things.

He is raising up giant slayers.