God Knows Better
Peggy K. Mack
July 19, 2013
I remember the Sunday morning when I walked to the front of the church at Forest Park Methodist and waited to speak and pray with Dr. Friedman. It was one of those Sunday mornings where the soft Fall sunlight was shining gently through the massive stained glass window which I loved to sit near each Sunday. The window was two stories tall and the width of a church wall and there in all his gentle love was Christ reaching down with opened arms. I felt so safe and so loved beneath that beautiful window. It became my place of solace each Sunday as God lead me where he wanted me to go in my life.
My home had become a place of fear for me, of deep sorrow and dark days which seemed to have no purpose. After 30 years of marriage all we had was now gone and I felt like an unwelcomed stranger in my own home.
Through my love for songwriting, I met a young minister of music who invited me to come "check out" his church. That invitation followed an encouragement from another songwriter who loved his church home in Texas and told me the way to find a church home is to visit several and decide which one feels right. So I followed their advice and found my way, not understanding my full reason for being there, but still, I felt compelled to attend. It had been 10 years since my parents' death and my heart had slowly reopened itself to my love for God. First came prayers of hope, then a heartfelt connection with God and finally my quest to return to church.
I loved everything about Forest Park Methodist, and overtime, I had visited Dr. Friedman several times in his office to ask for guidance about my failing marriage and to seek information about the gifts of the spirit. In turn, he had lead me to a Christian counselor whose intention was to help save our marriage. Over the next six months I worked in Bible school and attended an adult Sunday School class. All of those steps in my journey back to faith had lead me to this moment when I was standing in the front of the congregation.
As Dr. Friedman asked me my name and introduced me, I was welcomed by him and I responded, "I am here because I want to serve." My heart, in that moment, was so filled with joy and I truly wanted to be a part of this wonderful church family and to serve in anyway I could. But as the months passed and I attended every Sunday, my heart continued to break more and more at home. I found myself sitting in church with silent tears and not being able to hold them back. I was hurting so deeply and among God's family all I could do was plead inside for healing and strength to do God's will.
Looking back now, five years later, although I truly believed I was called back into the joy of church to serve and rededicate my life to God, His purpose in leading me to church was far different. God knew me and my needs far better than I knew my own. God, I see now, had lead me to a church filled with loving, kind hearted people who reached out to me with concern and prayers on my behalf to protect and strengthen my heart, mind and soul. I was going into a marital storm that had life long consequences for myself and my family. As the walls of my marriage crumbled, the walls within the church sustained me and strengthened me to make the decisions I needed to make to save my own life. I see that clearly now.
My reasons for going to church were not God's reasons for calling me. He had lead me to shelter and safety and wisdom through Dr. Friedman and Dr. Stephens, my Christian counselor. During those 10 months, I was lead to understand what I was facing and the choices I had before me. During those ten months, I found the strength to decide what I would take with me in leaving the home and the patience to wait on the Lord to guide me to the safest time for me to leave. I was invited into the home of an old friend, a safe harbor until I could find my own way to do all the things necessary to stand on my own two feet after 30 years of not having to make those decisions.
God had me in the palm of His hand. I felt it and I knew it without a doubt. I could not see my way on many days and sometimes in my lack of patience, I complained that I could not hear God. I worse than complained. When no one was at home I would cry out in frustration and tell my friends, "I can't hear God! How am I supposed to know what to do!!!?"
Nevertheless, I have now learned, that it is only when we look back after the storm that we see clearly how God was leading us, opening doors, protecting us, providing for us, healing us and strengthening us the entire time. All I felt at the time was wounded, lost, frightened and alone. I literally lived the often used term, "a faith walk." I had no idea what I was doing and no idea where I was going and no idea where I'd end up. But with each tiny step in faith, God provided and life moved one step closer to bringing me to a place of joy and light. He touched my life on so many occassions with the support and kindness of friends who rallied around me and gave me their strength.
Here I am now, five years later, in a new life with a new husband in a new home in another state five hundred miles away from all the sadness, heartache and pain. I have no doubt that God has lead me here and I am at peace and filled with gratitude and a renewed faith in a personal walk with Christ. I can see clearly, that on that Fall morning at Forest Park Methodist Church when I happily announced I was there to work, God knew better. He knew I was there to be loved, guided, protected and strengthened in the storm I was about to face.
I know so little about you and so little about your will for me. In my increasing search to know and love you, remind me that although I may be certain of why I believe I am called to do something, it is You who truly knows the whys and hows and whens and the wheres....and it is our job to simply answer the call and let you lead.
Job 28:12 But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
Job 28: 22-24 Destruction and death say, We have heard about it with our ears. God understands its way and He knows its place. For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heavens.
Job 28:28 And to man He said: Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. And to depart from evil is understanding.