Sunday, February 14, 2010

God of confusion

We do not serve a God of confusion...

It's pretty bad when you quote scripture that apparently does not exist.

I am almost certain that in one of Paul's epistles, there is a reference to how we do not serve a God of confusion. But where is it?? Where???

Alas, I have done several keyword searches at biblegateway.com and am unable to unearth this passage or anything close to it. Did I make it up?

Ah hah ... I changed the "translation" I was searching under and have found it. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, "...for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace..."

I'm glad I found it, as I often quote this scripture to make the point that God does not leave us dazed and confused about his purposes and will. We cannot serve him if we are completely confounded about what he is about.

And yet ... can confusion be a blessing from God?

While searching for the 1 Corinthians text, I found several passages that describe God as throwing individuals, peoples or entire armies into a state of confusion for one purpose or another. So it seems that confusion is a tool in God's tool chest.

But can it be a good tool? I don't mean effective; I mean, can it be ... a blessing?

I have several little devotional books I read on a regular basis. This morning, I came across this statement: "Confusion can be a gift from God. Looking back on instances when I felt desperately in need of an immediate solution, I can see that often I wasn't ready to act. When I became fully ready, the information I needed was there for the taking .... Today, when I am feeling confused, I try to consider it grace. It may not yet be time for me to act." (Courage to Change, February 14th)

The reading ends with this enlightening little reminder: "I will thank my Higher Power for whatever I experience today, even if I feel troubled or confused. I know that every experience can offer me a gift. All I have to be willing to do is to look at my situation in the light of gratitude."

If you spend much time with people in recovery like I do, you start to pick up on their "language." Phrases like, "Let go and let God" and "attitude of gratitude" and "spot it, got it" begin to permeate the landscape. It's easy to say, "What a nice little sentiment for those sweet little addicts," totally missing the bigger picture: These expressions have some meat to them.

Give thanks in all situations. That's what joy is all about. Recognize the power of redemption. I'm not dropping meaningless, "holy" words here in the name affect, but rather I am saying, living abundantly often means believing God can and will give value to every situation and experience in life. That is the power of redemption.

"Are you telling me that God can use me in his big picture even when I'm not doing what I should?" This was an actual question posed to me 2 weeks ago by one of the rehab ladies. After a hiccup of hesitation, I responded, "absolutely." I confess that in my head, I was sort of saying, "...um, yeah ... I think ... no wait ... yeah, that's right ... that is what I'm saying, isn't it?" One of my ministry partners, Denise, piped up during my nano-pause and said, "...he especially can use you then." Gold star, Denise.

Now admittedly, staying in this mind set is not easy. Why? Because I insist on doing so much thinking. Then I get confused about how God can do all of this stuff. And that's when confusion becomes a blessing. "Tammy, stop trying to figure it out and just believe; just embrace." Have the faith of a little child, right? That's what the "God voice" in my head seems to be saying. But it's hard. Holy smokes, it's hard.

All situations can have value in God's Kingdom; in his bigger picture. And it's not up to me to wade through the confusion and find the value, but rather believe like a child that it is already there. In His perfect time and way, God can and will give value to all things before me, with me and ahead of me. He will do it to bring glory to His name, to bless me, to bless others, to show me that I have incredible worth in his eyes and to restore my broken soul, even as he restores the brokenness of those around me.

That's pretty cool.

So I'll say thank you to God ... with an attitude of gratitude ... for confusion.

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