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Bending, Not Breaking

     She’s my daughter, after all, a miniature me in many ways.

     So, why didn’t I expect it?  Why treat her less gently than God treats me?

     Such a simple parenting issue: Daughter colored instead of reading before bed.  She ran out of time. Lights out, no reading for the night.

     But then she exploded.

     It was a dynamite-meets-fire reaction of an eight-year-old dealing with a deep issue of character when she’s far too tired to handle it.

     I don’t mean a life lesson in obedience or time management.

     I mean learning flexibility, changing things up, bending a little, and enjoying the adventure.

     But she and I struggle h

ere and our struggle is the same.  We cling to routine for personal sanity and prefer the scheduled, the planned, the known, the normal, the everyday and the expected.

     Every night, she reads before bed.  Every single night.  Even before she could read, she flipped through the pages and invented tales about the pictures.

     This I know, too.  Whether it’s 9:30 or midnight when I finally ease into my own bed, I must read also.  Not that I prefer it or casually enjoy it.  I must read, even if I only scan through one single page before I pass out on my pillow.

     So, surely I should have expected that when I asked her to bend and skip the evening marathon reading session for one…single…..night, she wouldn’t bend at all.

     She’d break.  And break she did.

     I am brittle like this, too: Snapping or shattering into pieces of emotional disaster when God nudges me out of the comfortable beauty of a planned day, or week, or year, or season of life.

     And it’s not that God allows me to live life so rigid and in-control.  He won’t let me stay in this place of “needing to know the details” and “always having a plan.”

      No, He demands that I trust Him.

     He demands faith without seeing.

     But this He teaches me gently, nudging me with the unexpected–a phone call, an appointment, a sick child, traffic, a cancellation– and then cleaning up the hysterical mess of me as I react and over-react.

     Still he pushes and then comforts, always taking me one step farther into the faith-life and the blind-walk and one more step away from my day planner and kitchen calendar.

     I’m grateful for the grace.

     Surely, I’m not the only one who hates the surprises and plain-out hyperventilates at the unexpected.

     I consider the 70 followers, sent out by Jesus with instructions that would probably make me faint and whine:

Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals; don’t greet anyone along the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ (Luke 10:4-5 HCSB).

     They had no travel agenda, no itinerary, no schedule, no advance contacts or fall-back positions.  No money for the hotel when hospitality failed.  No change of shoes for weather fluctuations or suitcases stuffed with extra underwear and layers of clothing “just in case.”

     “Whatever” house they entered, is where they sought rest and provision.  Sometimes they received it.  Other times not.

     Peter may have loved this, the unexpected lifestyle.  He was a speak-what-comes-to-mind, do-whatever-pops-into-your-head kind of fellow.  Eager to hop out of fishing boats and walk on water, willing to shout out promises and convictions at the slightest whim, he lived for the adventure not the agenda.

     I’ve never really understood Peter.

     But Thomas I understand and what if Thomas was in the mix of 70?

     He always wanted the facts and the proof.   Yes, Thomas and I would be the ones studying the maps and searching for hotels, phone numbers, restaurants, and recommendations on Google before we set out on any journey of “faith.”

     And perhaps we’d be the ones laying awake at night because we weren’t sleeping in our bed on our own pillow with a cup of tea and a book to soothe us to sleep.

     Jesus would send us out anyway.  We might struggle and maybe we’d even explode and need God to piece us back together with superglue, but Luke writes that in the end, “the Seventy returned with joy” (Luke 10:17 HCSB).

     Maybe Jesus indulges me in my nighttime reading habits and doesn’t ask me to travel from town to town without a packed lunch or luggage.

     Yet, when He asks me to ease my death-grip on my daily schedule and my long-term plans and the way I’ve always done things, after the aftermath of the melt-down…. there is joy.

     Because it’s when He shatters the confines of my expectations that I feel His peace, not the comfort of being in control, but true peace and the settled assurance that Yes, He can care for me.  That’s when I see His glory.  That’s when I’m finally bending and flexible, no longer too fragile for Him to use.

To read more devotional thoughts from Heather King, check out her blog here: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/

Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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