Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Unexpected Gift of Contradictions


'The many contradictions in our lives - such as being home while feeling homeless, being busy while feeling bored, being popular while feeling lonely, being believers while feeling many doubts - can frustrate, irritate, and even discourage us.  


They make us feel that we are never fully present.


Every door that opens for us makes us see how many more doors are closed.


But there is another response.


These same contradictions can bring us into touch with a deeper longing, for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy.


Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.'
~ Henri Nouwen

*

Don't you just love how God can flip our circumstances, our trials, our fears, our failures into something that's absolutely out of this world?

Only the Only Wise One can shake things up so that darkness fades to light, sorrow cascades into joy, apprehension morphs into a holy anticipation.

He has a sacred way of shaping what could have been a disaster into a radiant treasure.

And it's those unexpected gifts, those compelling invitations, that catch us off guard ... and then cause us to smile and nod our heads as we peer through the glass darkly and recognize, once again, His powerful Spirit drawing us closer, closer to Himself.

The thorn becomes the sweetest gift.

The burden draws us to His tender heart.

This, the unexpected gift of contradictions.






*
'Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, 
who does not change like shifting shadows'
James 1:17.

22 comments:

  1. Hello Linda. This post is so true. I find that many of the events that have shaped my life for the better, started off as things that could've been viewed as a catastrophe.

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    1. Absolutely! I'm with you, friend. God's redeemed my deepest pain and most difficult experiences and has allowed those heartaches to become my biggest strengths as a counselor.

      Praise His Name!

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  2. One of the blogs I read had the following contradiction as I was going through a really dark time:
    Our greatest place of hurt/wounding can become our deepest place of ministry. or something along those lines. Recently I have see God redeeming the losses I have experienced in giving me opportunities to be present with people who have also lost people they love.

    It's been a long time coming. I think sometimes we expect that losses will automatically lead us to being sensitive to other's losses. Experience has taught me it is in grieving my losses and letting God and others do the work with me I need to do that I have come to this place. We place expectations of time on ourselves and others. Others' losses for a long time sent me into hiding/running, because i could not handle grief added to the burden I was carrying.

    It's been almost 10 years since my brother died, my journey complicated by loss of two siblings as a child, and during that time caring for my parents as they aged and died. (plus other types of major losses also going on our lives on other fronts.)

    grace for ourselves/grace for others. May it be so.

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    1. Oh yes, grace for ourselves to walk through the valley, to grieve greatly, to find healing, to give ourselves huge margins of time and space to do so ... this prepares us to be present in the most authentic ways for others.

      And it's not usually in that season, but in a later time, when the truths that we've learned become part of the air we breathe.

      Carol, thanks for sharing this difficult season with us. He is the Great Redeemer, isn't He!

      May Sabbath joys be yours, my friend. It's so good to see you again!

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  3. Praise God that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, so that "contradictions" in our eyes are all part of His perfect plan! Thank you for the thought-provoking post and for the lovely comment on Saved by Grace!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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    1. Love what you've said, Laurie ... it's all part of His perfect plan.

      I'm so grateful we don't have to figure out every last detail. It's already done!

      May your Sabbath be filled with a peaceful joy!

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  4. Hi Linda! Ahhh, I do love Henri Nouwen. I get together with a group of women every summer to read a book and discuss it. Last year we did The Return of the Prodigal Son by Nouwen. This year, one of the ladies has already said she's ready for another work of his. Love that! Such an approachable, wise man.

    Yes! With Jesus, up is down, what looks like loss is a win...such a challenge sometimes. But as I see the graces thrown at me these last few months, I see it in my own life. Down time becomes up time. Keep it coming Jesus!!
    Blessed weekend my friend,
    Ceil

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    1. mmm ... do ya think I can commute back and forth between east coast and mid-west? How cool would that be!

      And this --> 'down time becomes up time.' That, my friend, is a keeper.

      And so are you!

      Have a good one ...

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  5. This post makes me think. Thanks for helping me see things in a new perspective.
    You have blessed me today.

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    1. I love when God speaks to us through some kind of written word ...

      I'm grateful with you, for you, Donna!

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  6. Love this! I loved the contradiction in your photo too-a door with bars. A door should be the invitation to come in and yet there are bars covering it which is a sign to stay out. Thank you for the invitation today to lean in close to God through all of our circumstances. Have a blessed weekend!

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    1. 4 locks, lots of bars ... what's the owner tryin' to say?

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  7. I am what I am for the Lord because of the contradictions and trials. Because He has shown Himself faithful to me over and over I desire to show myself faithful for Him. Encouraging post my sister.

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    1. Amen! Anything worthy we spot in ourselves is only by His grace ... and His hand at work even in the midst of the disasters ...

      Glad you've stopped by, Betty!

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  8. This is just so amazing. Our greatest trial becomes our way to our greatest victory. What a beautiful contradiction. And how you wrote it so beautifully. :)

    Happy Sunday!

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  9. Yes, Friend! Asking Him to flip my circumstance! Great post!
    Sabbath Blessings!

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    1. Flip my circumstance! What an awesome prayer, a glorious expectation!

      Believing He'll do that, friend. Absolutely!

      Have a super week ...

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  10. Beautifully written, Linda! The eternal perspective. So hard to maintain, yet it offers such a sweet peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding. Have a blessed week, my friend!

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    1. That peace that makes absolutely no sense is ours and no one and nothing can take it away! What a mighty God we serve!

      Thanks for finishing up the weekend here with us, June. I hope this week sparkles for you and that incredible camera lens of yours ...

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  11. Hi Linda, reminds me of my unexpected week of events! Then I experienced God's Faithfulness
    Thanks a lot my Friend.
    Have a blessed week

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    1. Oh so grateful for your safety, Ifeoma. May this week be filled with blessings overflowing for you and yours, my friend ...

      Deepest blessings.

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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