on looking up to GOD

Heavy hearts. That's what we seem to have around here. Ryan, for whatever reason has been spiraling downward in recent days. Weeks. Months. It's hard to say. I get another devastating piece of news and I laugh. That's when you know it's bad. 

I've been learning about the fear of God. FEAR. That word. What does it mean anymore? It's putting God in His due place. Acknowledging His majesty. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Well now, wasn't Solomon smart when he said that. Its truth is holding me up.

Fiery embers spark. Voices sound different outside in the early morning. Campfire voices. But it's just Wednesday. The coffee is hot but our sandals are on, not our hiking boots. Because we're home. On the porch. Early morning. And we're all hopeless. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Here we are. Spending our lives hopeless. There aren't answers for Ryan. Any light seems futile. Our ideas, arbitrary. No sorting of the puzzle pieces for the hundredth time comes up with any links. 

I struggle all week. Where does Ryan fit? What do things look like next Christmas? At Easter? At my fortieth birthday?

And so I'm reading this verse tonight. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. (Proverbs 1:7) But what is the fear of the Lord? It's seeing God as He is. High and Holy. Creator. Father. Provider. And when you know what God is, you know what you are not. When you believe that God is provider, you don't worry about being provided for. Because God is so good. He is not safe. He is good. He's the King, I tell you. (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Lewis) 

Seeing the bigger picture. I don't know if that's the right phrase to capture the idea. What I know is that when my gaze is upon the fire before me and we sit and talk in morning voices about all of the dead ends and all of the bitterness and all of the unknowns, I sink into depression. But when my focus shifts and I fix my eyes on Jesus, our author and perfecter, things change. Where? In my situation? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. But things change in my heart. When I focus on the promises God gives me, I can't find a way to be desperate. When I remember the justice of God, I can't be afraid of falling through the cracks. When I receive the new mercies of God every morning, I can't be bitter. 

The beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord. How can it be otherwise? It's when we recognize who God is - who He really is - that we are wrapped in a peace that surpasses all understanding. 

Burning questions that I have for my life and for Ryan don't burn when I have the fear of the Lord. It all just becomes bigger. It goes beyond me and my problems. It brings me to the foot of the cross. His absolute sovereignty is our greatest security.

Peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:6) You know, Paul didn't describe peace as surpassing all understanding for no reason. It's because it's important to note that it's a kind of peace that doesn't always come through logical resolution. It's not the, ah, I see how things will work out and thus have peace about it kind of peace. No, it's the I'm anxious about something and I bring it before the Lord and He gives me peace despite the circumstances kind of peace. Am I bringing that home? 

Yesterday was an ugly day. Police. Ambulance. Hospital. Devastation. Pain. Desperation. 

And then I heard a joke and laughed. Because I had a peace that surpassed all understanding. Still no answers. When I dwell on the specifics, I'm deflated. When I lock eyes with God, He guards my heart and mind. He tells us to make our requests known to Him through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. That's what He tells me to do. So by golly, prayers and petitions there will be because this is one absurdly dark season in our lives. 

***I wrote this late Monday night and never published it. Some head way has since been made. Less the kind you feel now, more the kind you wait for. Groundwork is getting laid for Ryan to go to a day service five days a week. But that start date is three weeks out. That's the opportunity for 21 more meltdowns. And your guess is as good as mine as to whether the meltdowns will be had by Ryan or by us, his family. And the jury is still out as to whether or not he'll even thrive (survive) in this new environment. Prayers and petitions, people. That's what I'm lifting up.

********Also, don't hate Annie just because she can rock the polka dot top with the polka dot bottoms and you can't. Just saying.

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