I've been having the strangest of paradigm shifts lately. I assume that it's for the better, and I assume that trying to explain it is going to make me look cold, stoic, or removed - let me assure you, I'm none of the above, and I think this realization is really rooted in... well, joy - you'll see. It's loosely based on(but admittedly not derived through) a couple scriptures:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
So maybe that gives you a hint of what's coming, maybe it doesn't. But I was driving my car home from work about 2 weeks ago and had the oddest of realizations - I've come to a spot in my life where I am way less likely than ever before to look at a situation or something that happened as being good or bad. Now, I know that the above scripture says "all things work together for good" - but that's not quite what I'm saying here, just the root of the thought. And while I'm aware that even the most evil, cruel things man can dream up outside of God's plan can, and will, be used for good - that's not quite where I'm going today :)
So often we look at things that arise in life and we instantly qualify them as good or bad:
Just got a raise - good!
Just got let go - Bad!
Just broke up with someone - bad!
Just got a new job - Good!
Car broke down - Bad!
Obama is president - Bad! (Or Good! depending on which side of a pretty ugly fence you like to vote for)
And I think you and I can both think of a myriad of other examples, but lets just hold off on that, ok? Ok.
But the reality is, we have no idea whether those things are "good or bad." They just are. The only way we can believe to *know* whether those things are good or bad is if the final goal of all we care about is ourselves. I've written before about how we live in a results driven culture (Here.) but I'm just starting to see that often we qualify our own results - and it's because we have a selfish, short term outlook and a tendency to rush to judgment based on the view that we are the axle our world revolves around. Simply? We aren't. We don't know enough to know whether something that happens to us is truly good, or truly bad. I don't really believe I want those to exist in any kind of real way in my life any more. I don't want to see good days, or bad days - only days of grace. Because that's the reality - I can recognize evil, I can hurt for the oppressed, I can work, pray, give, and struggle to fight evil. But when it comes to good and bad? I have no frame of reference. I have no absolute. And if it is up to me decide whether what happens was good, or bad... well, I'm afraid I've completely missed the point.
So here's to hoping God moves in me in far greater ways than he already has. Here's hoping that I will recognize that everything that happens to me, good, bad, or evil, will be used by God. Here's hoping that even when I think something is bad, I recognize it may well not be - just God moving in grace in my life. Here's hoping that I no longer see things as good or bad, only as God's grace. Because in the end - that's what it all is anyway, regardless of what I think.
Shorter than usual. I imagine anyone who reads it is thankful ;)