The New Life Starts Here
- Monday, April 19, 2004
That year Sara and Troy were on the road 270 days. She became fatigued. In her words, “All my gauges were on empty – my spiritual gauge, my emotional gauge, my physical gauge – all of them were pegged on empty.” She continues, “With all these characters in the Bible and all these people in my life, I became their lawyer to God. I was saying, ‘Lord, leave Jonah alone. He doesn’t want to go to Ninevah. He’s tired. And leave me alone. I don’t want to go to Ninevah. I’m tired. And don’t have me swallowed by a whale – that’s lame.’ I was just angry. And Job, tell God, ‘The second family doesn’t cut it.’ I just systematically went through all these things, and I was harboring this rebellion in my heart. Basically, at the end of the day, I was having a hard time swallowing the ‘sovereignty pill.’ It’s a big pill to swallow. But that’s the pill that says, ‘Bad things happen to good people.’ And He’s working things out for our good, but we don’t always understand it. And the Lord didn’t have to, but He systematically answered every single question I raised.”
But before the answers started coming, Sara spent several months defiantly challenging God’s personal nature. “I was sitting up in front of the bus talking with our new driver, Dick. He was a total [Ned] Flanders guy. (’God is good all the time.’) And I was not in that place at all. My attitude was so rotten. I said, ‘Tell me your testimony.’ He told me his only son had been shot by a friend goofing around with a shotgun. He was 16 years old, and Dick lost him. In the wake of their grief, he and his wife heard about a ministry to adopt terminally ill children from Russia. With everyone saying, ‘You’re crazy. You’re in the middle of grieving. Why are you doing this?’ they began adopting these children and either nursing them back to health or … One of these boys died in their home.
“So I’m talking to him in the middle of this season in his life. And it was so interesting, and it moved me; but I didn’t quite ‘get it.’ And I went back to my bunk and was about to fall asleep when I felt the Lord just whisper in my spirit, ‘Go up front and tell Dick, ‘The second family doesn’t cut it.’ I had said this months earlier about Job. The Lord was listening to me, and I just balled … just fell to pieces because Dick and Job know something about grief and about gratitude that I will never understand.
Likewise Sara revisited the biblical histories of Jonah, David, Jeremiah and the rest of her “clients.” She realized over and over again that her perspective and the convictions based on it had been far too narrow and one dimensional.
"All these people I set up as my reasons to not believe ended up being the very men who pointed me to God,” she explains. “Jeremiah says, ‘It is good to serve the Lord.’ He ends up saying, ‘His Word is good. It burns in me. And I can’t hold it in.’ And every single one of those people – Paul in chains and Peter upside-down on his cross – all of them end up saying, “It is good to serve the Lord.” And in my heart I just said, “I want to know what they knew – to say in the middle of loss and pain … that bad things happen to good people. I am compelled to serve You because it is good to be with You.
“I grew up in a church environment that emphasized holiness. I love my background, and I value that as my homebase. But the focus on holiness became a hope to me. When I say in ‘Compelled,’ ‘I have a new hope that blows away the small hopes I knew before,’ my small hopes were that I could be holy, that I could actually clean myself up enough to be holy like Christ. And I tried to do that, and I made a pretty good go at it. I was a good, good person. But when I found out I wasn’t holy, that I couldn’t make it, it was unbearable. I kept sinning. And so I ran into the arms of a ‘grace message.’
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