The most important question of the universe
is whether the universe is hostile or friendly.
There have been situations in my life that I have spent years praying about. After years and years of prayer, the answer comes in a moment. A split second and then it is done. Sometimes the answer has been exactly what I've wanted, other times it has been far removed from what I wanted.
At the times, however, when the answer has been exceedingly above what I could ever ask or dream, yet too often the moment quickly fades away. There definitely is no correlation between the amount of time that I prayed about a situation and the amount of time I spend rejoicing over a situation's resolution. Why is that? Because often when something "gets resolved" the rest of life has seeped in bringing new crises and new areas where I have doubt and fear of whether the Lord is willing, able and capable of stepping up to help.
The past four years I have been on a reversal of how I pray, what I pray and why I pray. I'm no where near to understanding it all - that's for sure. But what I do know is that the starting point has changed. Instead of starting my prayers from a place of doubting the character of God and His ability to intervene on my behalf, I have switched to starting at a place where I already trust the heart of God now and every moment along the way. This trust is no longer dependant upon the results of the situation. Why?
Because my answer to Einstein's most important question of the universe is: that we live in a friendly universe. Because of that, I can trust my heart and my situations to the One who created the universe. According to His word, He says "A day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day." These words aren't just words to me anymore, but they are life for the journey. I've learned that some of the biggest things I've seen the Lord do, things that have lasting sustenance, have not happened in a single moment but rather have been a combination of intricate details He has weaved together over years and years.
The Lord began unraveling things for me several years back when I started The Rock Bowl based on Joshua 4:1-6. These Scriptures inspired me to make memorial stones for things that I have prayed about. It was meant to be an opportunity for me to share with my children how God has moved in our lives in real, practical ways. Now 5 years later as I look back I can see that it has been evidence of His faithfulness to me because I realize that often times I have amnesia; I forget about His goodness and His faithfulness when I am caught in the middle of intense events.
This Rock Bowl has been one of my "prescribed pills" that has helped lessen my amnesia and has helped me to remember His faithfulness when I enter into new situations. Here are a few rocks that are in my bowl:
The next rock is for my friend's precious daughter. My friend was struggling with secondary infertility and we prayed for her and over her body. Several months after we prayed, my friend was at my house when we became aware of the fact that she was indeed pregnant. It was one of those goosebump moments, when you know God has arranged it just to let us all know that He was involved.
However, not every rock has a happy earthly ending attached to it. The largest rock in my bowl bears a precious name to it - Nevaeh. As you know, this is the name of my niece who passed away.
And this is where I need to stop and breathe. It would be easy to take this stone out of the bowl because it doesn't have a "happy ending" but remember the purpose, to be a chance to share with my children how God has operated in our lives? Sometimes we walk around with holes in our hearts, an ache, a place that holds unanswered questions. Places where we truly saw the hand of God, but yet with our eyes of the moment, we are left empty-handed, not able to understand. Those are just some of the thoughts that run through my mind as I see this rock. And then I once again return to the question at the beginning: "Is this a friendly universe or hostile?"
Even in the midst of the confusion, the loss, and the pain, the place where I settle is friendly.
We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.18 We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:18)