Sunday, October 3, 2021

God’s Divine Strategy

 

 


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Today my pastor talked about growth, and how growth only comes through pain.  It’s very true that growth hurts, whether it’s physical, spiritual, or emotional.  We grow through pain.

Losing my best friend, Pauletta, has been painful.  It’s been a month and two days since she went to Heaven.  Her death left a hole that no one can fill in my life. 

I thought one day of writing it out as a “Wanted” ad and just wait to see who would fit.  It would go something like this: 

Wanted: Best friend for life.  Must be willing to correct me when I’m wrong and never let me slide.  Must continually remind me of all my past mistakes and show photos that will show how crazy I was.  Must do it with laughter and jokes to make me laugh at myself.  Must be willing to come to me crying so I can return the favor and make her laugh.  Must be willing to hear my fears and cast them down.  Must hear my excitement and pretend to understand what just happened that day even if you don’t.  Must be willing to put up with my inconsistent friendship, as I may go weeks without calling.  Must be willing to reach out to me when I go silent. “

At that point I realized, there will never be another Pauletta.  Never.  God created her as a custom-made friend for me.  She filled all the crazy ways I have, and I filled hers.  God is like that!  He customizes our relationships – divinely – and does it to His glory. 

I grew so much with Pauletta in my life.  She truly brought me closer to God.  She made me accountable for missing church, not studying my Bible, slacking at being a mom, not talking like a Christian should, and so much more.  My punishment would always be the same.  The phone would ring, and I’d hear her loud voice,  “Heathen!”! LOL! As time went on the roles changed a bit, and I got to remind her to go to church and tell her what God’s word said.  I got to tell her she was a good mom, and that she was a strong person.  I got to dry her tears with laughter.  We grew together like two trees with the same roots.  We were planted together and rooted by God.

Many times, I’ve tried to make sense of it.  Why would God take her from me?  Why couldn’t we grow old together, be in our seventies or eighties lounging on a beach in swimwear to gross out the youngsters?  Why couldn’t we be nursing home roommates, and torture each other with our snoring and loud talking?  Why couldn’t see be the friend that I would continually text all my crazy ideas to?

It’s funny how God will give an answer sometimes.  While asking the questions I got a very clear vision of a checkerboard.  My Momma Pearl used to play often and taught me how to play. She was a great strategist when it came to checkers.  Her steps were orchestrated for the big win.  She and my Great-Grandfather Lev (Papaw) would play when they were together.  Eventually Papaw would see he couldn’t win, and he’d throw the checkerboard so he wouldn’t have to “officially” lose! It was hilarious! 

The checkerboard I saw was one black checker being jumped and removed. One checker.  But then my side of the board had an open line to multiple jumps – taking lots of red checkers.  Sometimes playing checkers you must give one up to make the strategy work, to win. 

I think what God was telling me in that short vision was that I had to give her up to grow in what is His purpose for me.  And she needed to go to Heaven for His perfect purpose for her. 

Nothing in life is spontaneous when you know God is in control of everything.  It was not by chance that my pastor preached on growth causing pain this morning.  It hurt to lose her, and it still does.  Sometimes I just want to hear the phone ring, see the picture of her face light up on the phone and her say, “what are you doing?”.  Then we’d sit and talk about things past, present, and future for an hour or more.

God left a hole in my life to be filled by something else, someone else, something I have yet to understand.  But I know He will fill it.  He’s doing a new thing.  And though I don’t see the blueprint, I know the designer!  And if the weight of the pain is anything comparable to what is coming, it’s going to be good. Real good. 

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