Saturday, March 07, 2015



Meet Lambie.  This is Lily's stuffed animal that she has had since she was a newborn.  When she took to it so well, we had her grandmother purchase a second one so that if we ever lost Lambie, we would have a spare.  However, no spare would ever be able to replace this Lambie now.  She has literally been all over the world, traveling to both Italy and Myanmar with us and Lily.  She often goes to school in Lily's backpack.  She goes on all road trips.  She sleeps with Lily every night.  It's hard to imagine life without Lambie.

But - a few short days ago, we were faced with just that dire situation.  Lambie was lost.  She had not been located, and the days began to drag on.  I was sure we would find her, but after a family search of the house and car, she still didn't turn up.

With hesitation in my heart, I asked if Lily wanted to pray and ask God if he would help us to find Lambie.  "Why the hesitation?" you might ask.  Well.  We can ask God for things, but that doesn't mean things will turn out the way we want them to.  It's a hard lesson, but a true one.

I know God is good.  I know he is all-powerful.  I know I can trust him.  I know all of this with my head and usually with my heart.  BUT - that doesn't mean it always looks the way that I think it should.  And I didn't want Lily to feel let down by God.  It would be hard to explain why Lambie might not show up and how God is still good in that.  I don't want to hide that reality, but it is complex.

Lily told me that she had already prayed to God that morning about Lambie, and we joined her in prayer for Lambie's safe discovery at lunch.  Still, Lambie was not located.

Was God going to start teaching Lily so young about how we will not always understand how he works?  Was I going to have to learn that lesson again?  When he is the all-powerful God of the universe, it's hard to know why he doesn't show up and fix everything just the way we think it should be.

I'm going to be honest here.  Sometimes it feels like God is late.  I look around and think, "We could really use a break around here."  Something good and not hard.  Or - I think back to when I begged God for my dad to be healed, and he died anyway.  That felt like a low blow.  I could go on and on, because life is chock full of disappointment and suffering.  It just is.

We discussed this at length in our D-group a couple of weeks ago in light of the passage in John when Jesus allowed Lazarus to die knowing that he was going to raise him from the dead.  (John 11)  He showed up late to the party, but he knew what he was doing.  He had a bigger plan, and it was intended for the glory of God.

I'm having to preach this to myself again during some of these long days - God has a bigger plan.  He knows what we need.  He is working things for his glory and our good.  I can trust him.  He might seem late, but that's because I don't know the full story.  I will never know the full story on this side of heaven.  I just won't.  This life is but a blink, and my finite mind will not be able to fathom the whys and hows of God mysterious ways.

In God's great graciousness, Lambie was located resting peacefully on the swing on our basement back porch.  I honestly don't know how we missed her there the first couple of searches, but I went down for something else and happened to glance out the window where Lambie was reposing in plain sight.  It is fun to see Lily's faith strengthened by this.  I know God knows what Lily needs more than I do, and it was thrilling to see this simple answered prayer.

We can trust him.  He is good.  He knows what we need, and apparently, Lily still needs Lambie.