I sat in the doctors office and looked my son in face, “It will be ok.” My words offered him little reassurance and I could tell. The doctor came back in and quietly said, “His hand is fractured.” She said words like “cast.” She said sentences like, “No sports activities for six weeks.” and “I am sorry but that means no more football.”
If you know my youngest son at all, this was a very hard moment. He has faithfully played football each Fall since he was five and has been waiting since then to be a Trojan AND start on the middle school team, but here were, three games in with more than that to go and he was out.
I was about to say, “It will be ok” once more but the look on his face warned me not to say a word. NOT. A. SINGLE. ONE. So we checked out and I drove him to one of his favorite places to eat for lunch hoping it would cheer him up. I realized as we sat in the doctors office, the four corners of that very small room closed in and quickly on my son. He had hoped for THIS and got THAT and disappointment was going to try to suck the very air out of his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe. Would he let it?
Weeks before, I sat at a church during a women conference and the speaker Friday night asked us to come forward and write down on a rock what we’ve been holding onto that has potentially been holding us back from God (and others). After we wrote it down, we were to walk up front and put it in the mock river the conferences design team creatively erected up front as a place for us to “let go.” I often think request like these are hokey, but I obliged. I was one of the breakout speakers the following day and I wanted to be supportive and a team player, even if I thought deep down it was a ridiculous request. I stood up and a thousand thoughts went through my head and I scavenged the files in my heart. What would my word be because I had lots of words.
“What am I holding onto that I need to give to you Lord?”
And it was only one word but one from Him was all that was needed.
I wrote that word on my rock and “let it go” in the river and felt nothing.
“SEE! These things are hokey.”
But later that night in bed, the Lord took me to the story in Acts 7 where Stephen, who loved Jesus so bravely, was stoned to death. I remember laying in bed that night as He said to me, “August, do you think perhaps Stephen thought things were going to go different for him? Do you think maybe he said to himself, “I really thought THIS, but now THAT is my reality.”
“August…do you think?”
I don’t remember much else of that night but I do know I woke up the next morning and told my husband I wanted us to try again. Indeed, disappointment had found a home in me in many different forms and they all had a name and a face. I thought things were going to look like THIS and indeed, they looked like THAT and over time, my heart wasn’t as open, as vibrant, as alive and I was dying inside. Worry and anxiousness resided inside my house and had taken up more space than I’d ever permissibly allow but there they were…hijacking my brain and my heart.
I am so thankful for Friday’s speaker. Holy Spirit can take and use ANYTHING and ANYBODY and had it not been for her, “Come forward and write what’s holding you under on this rock,” I might well still be drowning in my disappointment.
Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places and 2 Timothy 3 tells us that difficult times will come, THAT DISAPPOINTMENT WILL. We are not immune as followers of Christ. Somewhere along the way, I allowed my disappointment to take the throne where Jesus sat and it began to reign and rule over my heart and flooded me with unmet expectations and bitterness. Sure, I thought THIS and got THAT in a lot of areas this past year, but Jesus is still WHO He says He is.
Friends, if there is anything I have been learning in this season of my life it is this: Don’t dethrone Jesus and put yourself or anyone else in His seat. We are to sit WITH Him and are not to sit alone, AS Him. People will let us down, situations will come up that are not expected, like my son’s football injury. We will hurt. We will be disappointed. We will wish and hope for and sometimes, most times, it will look slightly different than we imagined. WISH and HOPE anyway. DREAM ALL DAY LONG. Just do it WITH Him.
If you are looking for perspective and understanding to the senseless, He’s got it. When things get muddled, He makes them clear. I do not know how He does it, I just know that He does. He indeed is good.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”