“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
After reading my first article, my daughter said, “I’m mad that you didn’t tell them how your life is better and how it’s changed.” I told her there would be plenty of time to cover that but then I thought – hey, that’s a good point. How do I measure how much my life has changed? Have you ever heard the song, “God has done so much, I cannot tell it all”? I don’t think I could make a list long enough to contain all the things that he’s done for me. It’s been a journey filled with laughter and tears (cliché, I know) and along the way, I’ve discovered the ability to overcome every obstacle within me. I have become my own hero. Pre-divorce, I didn’t know that about myself. To see the difference and measure the gap between Loria then and Loria now is to understand how much he has blessed me.
I guess the main difference between me then and me now is that I know that no matter what happens in life, even if it shakes my very foundations – I will not be destroyed. I can take it – whatever life dishes out. Of this, I am now certain. I feel sure I can’t fail now because I know He won’t let me. That’s a real confidence booster! God has shown me repeatedly that I can count on him. He is more than the whole world against me. (2 Kings 6:16) I don’t know why he loves me like that. I’ve given up trying to figure it out. I just know that he does and I accept it. I used to spend a lot of time worrying because I didn’t know the outcome of a situation. My A.D. incarnation (After Divorce) worries a lot less. I realized I already know the outcome of any given situation. God has promised to work things out for my good, no matter what it looks like right now. I trust in that.
Another difference is in how I know Him now. Loria PD (Pre-Divorce) used to pray to a God who seemed sometimes far removed from the concerns of my life. I had yet to know him as the one who would get right down there in the mud with me and help me to claw my way out. Now, I know what He will do because of what He has already done. He has shown himself to be dependable, so I trust Him. But don’t get me wrong – we (God and me, that is) had to go a few rounds before we got to where we are today.
Once, while I was talking to my girlfriend and feeling frustrated and fed up with the state of my life – I had one of those fist-shaking, rage-at-the-heavens moments. I mean, I was so tired of it all. I was like, “What is going on?” You know, having a real tantrum that was more child-like and not at all Christ-like. My girlfriend sat there in silence and finally said, “You notice I’m letting you say all that and I’m not adding anything to it.” She wanted to state for the record, just in case God was listening, that she had nothing bad to say about Him. We both laughed at her attempt to distance herself from what many view as blasphemy. She was understandably uncomfortable with the idea of me venting my anger and questioning God. But I gave her this example:
“Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.” 1 Chronicles 13:11
This incident occurred as David was bringing the recently liberated Ark of the Covenant to his headquarters in Jerusalem. Uzzah paid the supreme price with his life when he put out his hand to steady the ark. He touched what none but the priests had been authorized to touch. I’m not going there with the why of if right now, but you can imagine this bought the festivities to a screeching halt. God did WHAT? And David dared to be angry with God? God didn’t strike him down? Yet, despite this (and some other really notable sins) he is reckoned as “a man after God’s own heart”! No one could doubt that David’s relationship with God was real.
What child hasn’t questioned their parent? I say, it is a measure of our relationship that we feel we can question Him, talk to Him, even rage at Him sometimes as we seek to understand what is going on – just as you would your earthly parent. And that’s just fine by Him because Father is how He wants us to know Him. It restores us to our rightful place in the scheme of things, as His children. David’s anger was even followed by a question: “How then can I bring the ark of God home to me?” So I think it’s ok to ask God what’s going on. Questions generate answers. Sometimes these answers come from people, media, scripture and sometimes a voice inside. Each answer gives me another glimpse of him, so I question him less during troubling periods in my life. Over time, I’ve noticed that the fist-shaking sessions are getting fewer and far between – a sign (I feel) of maturing spiritually. I have fewer tantrums brought on by my need for attention and reassurance that he is watching and that he’s concerned about what’s going on in my life. I know he is. He has become more real to me. Not sitting on a throne far away but right here where I need Him to be.
Can anyone know God, truly? I’d like to think I do on a practical level. I don’t claim to have a deep, theological, seminary-trained bead on God. For me, that complicates matters when knowing him can actually be pretty simple. For instance, math is not my strongest area – I mean, I do ok when I have to but equations don’t hold much interest for me. They don’t make sense until I come across a need to use said equation and apply it to my everyday life. Then it has a practical use. My knowledge of God comes from real life applications, watching him come to my rescue and bail me out time and again. Once, when faced with yet another challenge, I just threw it up in the air and said to my daughter “God will just have to help us, like he always does.” My daughter laughed and replied, “And you know he will.” Even my children know that God will keep us. And you can know this, too.