Monday, January 28, 2013

The Blessing of God's Restriction

This subject is one which has been brought to my mind so much lately in the last month or two.  How many times, in my own life, has God restricted situations in my life which were a blessing to me in the end?  Things I seriously prayed for and desired to work out the way I thought they should only for that not to be God's plan.  A job I thought I really wanted or needed.  A place I thought I needed to be at a certain time.  A relationship I wanted to work out.  It is true that God works in mysterious ways.  I have so many stories to tell that I don't know where to start, but I will start with a very recent one.

Madison plays the clarinet in her middle school band, and she at one point had mentioned an interest in trying out for an All-City musical team.  I was excited and encouraged her to pursue this avenue.  I have to admit, I was also excited about how this experience might look on a college resume.

As the day approached, I began to hear some excuses coming from my daughter regarding trying out.  I admit that I could hear in her some doubt as to wanting to do this or not, but I continued to gently push her feeling that the reason behind the excuses was just fear of the auditioning process. 

The day of auditions arrived.  I had been praying for the audition all day on and off.   Praying she would do well and not be nervous.  That a peace that surpasses all understanding would cover her as she auditioned.  If she was meant to make it that she would, and if she was not meant to make it that God would close the door.  I can't remember exactly what I had going on that day, but I just remember it being a crazy day.  I asked Carl to pick up the children from school, and I would meet them at home and take Madison to her tryouts. 

Well, Carl called me to tell me the following disappointing turn of events.  When my son and daughter saw my husband was there to pick them up from school, my son ran quickly to get "shotgun" in the truck and tried to close the door before Madison could get in.  Well, as my son was closing the door, Madison tried to grab it to keep it from closing and got her fingers caught in the door.   Fingers which are black, blue, and swollen do not lend themselves to a tryout in less than an hour.  I have to admit I was pretty, stinking mad at my son.

Well, as selfishness was rearing it's ugly head to gain the top notch seat in the car, I couldn't help but wonder if God might have purposefully restricted this?  What if this audition was not God's will?  What if it never was?  I put those thoughts aside, because I was mad.  Wouldn't that give my son a free pass if I agreed that God had used him to restrict this?

When I got home, it was apparent that the fingers were not going to be playing any clarinet, and Madison actually seemed relieved.  Upon confronting Nathan about his actions he said something like, "I know, Mom.  I know.  Dad already talked about it with me all the way home in the car.  I'm sorry I hurt her, but you know what.  I think this is a God thing.  She could have gotten on a bus to go to a show with that All-City team, and the bus could have gotten into an accident and killed everyone on board.  The way I see it, I probably saved her life today."  My son could put anyone on a debate team to shame.  After withdrawing a privilege from him for a week for his actions, I couldn't deny I had the same thoughts.  It was clear.  God had literally closed the door on this opportunity.

Isn't it crazy?  Something which is not bad in and of itself can be restricted and chances are, I will never know why.  She might never know why.  Could she have met people in the group which would have lead her down the wrong path?  Could our family have gotten into a major car accident on the way to take her to a concert?  Could this All-City have lead her to a major in Music when God really wants her to major in something else to serve Him? 

All I know is that He is in control, and I am not.  His ways are higher than my ways, and my thoughts are not His thoughts.  I know He can, has, and will restrict things, situations, and relationships in my life to teach me and bless me.  I am not saying I always will like it, like me in this situation, but I have to trust God knows better.  I will be curious to get the heaven and see all of the restrictions God has allowed that were a blessing for me and why.  Some of the restrictions I know and thank God for every day like my husband, the steak God gave me after I thought I was ready to settle for lesser hamburgers.  Some of the restrictions I won't ever understand on this earth like the early death of my father or step-father.  I know that He loves me, that He is my Father, and I have to trust Him.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord."  Isaiah 55:8, NIV

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