I spent part of a night last week freezing in a hotel room that wasn’t heated. Clearly, the owners of the hotel were having a hard time making ends meet. Outside, the hotel was newly painted, but had a rickety look about it, sagging in places hotels ought not to sag. I was glad I was on the lower level.
I told myself the heat was off for the season to save money. It wasn’t that I didn’t fiddle around with the thermostat. There was a plastic cover over the dial, and tape around its edges which I didn’t want to break into. I could have complained, but I had just traveled three hundred miles listening to some sermon tapes about “speaking no evil.” Meanwhile, I was cold and fuming. Several hours into the cold, I took one more look at the thermostat. Only then did I notice what I would have found out very quickly, if I had asked. A dial, somewhat hidden, was there and accessible all the time.
As the room warmed, I asked myself what other assumptions I’ve been making . . . About people, about possibilities, about family, about life. Where else have I confused a thought, an assumption with reality? Assumptions can color our world with misinformation. Assumptions about God can crash into our lives, leaving us feeling forgotten, lost and afraid.
I’ve been leading a group using Adam Hamilton’s resource, “Why, Making Sense of God’s Will.” Hamilton points out that if we’re assuming our Christian faith will protect us from loss, heartache and hardship, we will one day be very disappointed in God. I think it is our generation which made a leap in Christian thought to get to that point. People in earlier times looked to God for strength in the hard times. Nothing in their lives, indicated that if they were just good people, misfortune would not come to their door. Women were dying in childbirth and minor infections turned deadly. Too many children were resting in cemeteries lost to diphtheria, small pox, pneumonia and other diseases of the past, for any false assumptions about Christians being immune to suffering.
God’s promise then, as now, is to be with us . . . To walk with us in all the places we journey to. God promises to take our deepest hurt, our greatest heartache, our gut wrenching losses and bring the best that can come out of the worst that can happen to us. We call it resurrection living. If you’re tying to make sense of God’s will today, know that God simply wants you to know that you are loved. Your outward circumstances are not the determination of the measure of God’s love. The cross stands for all time as a reminder, that you are loved with a limitless love.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 37-38