“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)
As I stood at the door a tight knot formed in the back of my throat, one that would remain there for the next twelve months. It was January and I should have been stuffing navy and white chevron pillows into plush leather chairs while arranging furniture in our snazzy new customer lounge, except there was no customer lounge! Instead, we were staring at a cold empty shell feeling the full weight of its barrenness on our shoulders. Despite all of our perfectly laid plans not one wall had been erected and we were just a few weeks away from opening, or so I thought.
“Where are my walls,” I asked the project manager?” “Where is the flooring?” Shuffling back and forth he tried to speak confidence into the situation but we both knew better. There weren’t going to be any walls erected that day or even that week which meant we wouldn’t be opening our new business as planned either. He had made a big mistake in estimating his own skills and his ability to find subcontractors in the middle of winter not to mention the requirements the county was now imposing upon our project. I was angry and feeling outright betrayed.
Oh God, I whispered inaudibly, “What are we going to do?”
He recited my memory verse to me, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)
“What does loving God have to do with renovating this building and opening our business!” I silently shouted.
He answered me again, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)
I wish I could say these verses readjusted my thinking immediately but they didn’t, they irritated me. I realized we were about to embark on an unplanned journey that I didn’t anticipate, one I didn’t request and most importantly one I would only appreciate in hindsight. God wanted my heart (devotion), my mind (thoughts), my soul (core essence) and my strength (might) but for the love of God, pun totally intended, I didn’t understand WHY until twelve months later when the final check was in the mail.
Looking back, my reality that day was simple; God wasn’t asking me to trust Him to fix the circumstances, He was asking me to love Him so that I could adjust my view of the people with whom I would be working. Loving God influences my response towards others. As I focused my attention on loving God in the months that followed, He equipped me with mercy (His which became mine). Legally, I had the right to respond otherwise but spiritually, mercy was the right response. Except for the love of God, I would have chosen “the otherwise.’
Loving God also influences our perspective which positions our priorities. In hindsight I realize that I would have gladly abandoned the contractor and started over with a whole new crew but that was not what I was called to do. I was called to endure to the end which meant for as long as was necessary, ouch! I was called to extend grace to those with whom we worked even when they didn’t deserve it, double ouch!! I was called to remember that without the blood of Christ, I also was undeserving, triple ouch!!! Legally, I had the right to abandon but spiritually, showing grace was the right response. Except for the love of God, I would have chosen total abandonment.
God’s ways are definitely higher than my ways and now I understand why it is so important to love God wholly. How about you? Can you recall a time when you were called upon to love God in order to adjust your perspective, priority or response resulting in an act of grace or mercy? Was it as difficult for you as it was for me? Please share your experience in the comments section below.