“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Ecclesiastes 7:9-10
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10
Something I’ve been celebrating so much these days is the fact that I’ve been doing better than I have in such a long time. I can say with confidence, “Hey, I’m doing well!” And that was a work the Father did that I will forever be thankful for because I spent a lot of last year kicking and screaming and dragging my heels, especially with God and with Colton (my now husband!). Things weren’t going the way I wanted, and I thought that was wrong. I didn’t want our entire engagement to be long distance. I didn’t want things to be hard. And even though I had heard from the Lord that it would be a time of refinement (Job 23:10), I still fought it the entire time. I was really angry, and I wanted everyone to know it.
But then I stumbled across Ecclesiastes 7:9-10 in a devotional I’ve been reading, and it changed everything for me. Frequently, I look back at the former things then point my finger at God and say “What the heck!” That season or situation seemed so much better than whatever I have now. I am a huge believer in C.S. Lewis’s quote that says, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” Still, we all know that it’s much easier to rely on the comfort of old times instead of bravely hoping for our future because hope is a risk. Joy is a risk. Contentment in our situation, even when we hate it, is a risk.
It’s interesting that the verse says that it’s not wise to ask questions that undermine what God is doing today, in this season of our lives. Why is that so unwise? It’s how I feel, so shouldn’t I make sure that God knows it? While there’s so much beauty in being honest with the Lord, I want to be honest without being ungrateful.
Several months ago, I had to get on my knees at a worship night because it was one of those days where I was really angry about my long-distance relationship, and really just angry that I was being called to live outward. And while callings are beautiful in theory, it’s quite hard when I get consumed in my own little world. I went to the back of the room, got on my knees, and poured out my heart to God, saying, “God, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want it to be this way.”
And softly, I felt his embrace in my spirit and two simple words:
And I believed Him. Because Jesus really does get it, even when we don’t think He does. He knows we have to go through seasons we don’t want to go through; He knows we have to do things we don’t want to do. There is grace for the frustration, and the ache, and for every ounce of emotion we feel in these seasons. We don’t have to despise where we’re at or wish for the former things because we have a God who knows and deeply, deeply cares.
We can rest and rejoice and be thankful for today. We can wait and hope with expectation for what is to come. I don’t want to be a lover of God who looks back. Because by looking back, and resenting the present, I’m missing what the Lord is longing to do.
It’s a process — one I have to walk through daily. Slowly, the Lord is turning the discontent, parts of stone in my heart into soft places, overflowing with thankfulness.
May this season be for you a season of moving evermore towards thankfulness. He is good, and He will not let us down.