14 August 2013

In Christ Alone

"He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name." Psalm 23:3

One of my favorite Hubs quotes of all time:

"I am a smart guy. I know I'm smart. But I'm not smart enough to have gotten through this school. God got me through it. I wouldn't have passed unless God wanted me to." 

He said this in one of the last parts of NAVSCOLEOD with the end in sight. He has since added how he felt a need to go back to change an answer on a test and he didn't know why, how an instructor offered unmerited grace and passed him, and other examples. I remember asking several times about how he passed the test problem for that day and his response through exhausted laughter was, "I have no idea."

Hubs has said that he had no idea what he was getting into when he packed up for phase one. While he heard the school would be difficult, he didn't know-and wasn't expecting- the extent of it. He knew he was expendable and could be completely out of the program quickly if he had an "off" day. He couldn't do it alone. He prayed that whatever God wanted, he would be ok with. Whatever God wanted is what Hubs wanted to happen.

Hear me on this: Hubs worked his butt off. Hubs put in the utmost effort with persistence and dedication, and he earned his position in this field. But, what I find more noteable and praiseworthy is that he trusted God wholeheartedly in this season. Hubs cooperated with God every stop of the way, subjected himself to God's plan, and gave honor to God when he succeeded. That's what I can't brag about enough.

Hubs not only patiently submitted to God as a student, but also as a husband. He and I came into phase two with our relationship on rocky ground. We had a difficult time in our marriage through the last part of our time in Fayetteville and the entire time he was working through phase one at Ft Lee. The first days of our stay in Florida, we had a few pretty serious discussions about what direction we needed to go from there to work some things out. Hubs decided we were going to begin looking for a church home before we even began looking for a place to live. He took me on a couple of dates. We walked at the beach talked about our future together. We knew God's plan is always better than what we can do without Him. This past year, my husband has risen to every call, and I've watched him grow in wisdom and leadership with a humble willingness to learn and be led himself.

We know God doesn't bless for our benefit; He blesses for His glory. This quote wasn't in the context of God giving back what we put in. It was in the context of where God is leading us next. If God allowed and aided Hubs in graduating this particular school, it is for His purpose. This is one of our strongest reasons for believing God has something for us in Alaska. But it is also a strong reason for believing that God wanted us here for the time that we were. We may never know God's reasons. But, then again, we might find out exactly why He has guided Hubs to this particular skill set, these particular locations, this particular network.

Our families and friends prayed him through almost every test. I would send out texts on test days, Hubs and I would tell them of upcoming tests on the phone or email, and sometimes they would call and ask. But there was a community of people praying. See, this school was bigger than him. He had a dependence on God that he wouldn't have needed if he felt sufficient in himself. Prayer didn't pass Him. God did. But prayer unites us in the Spirit and puts Christ in the center. Prayer may not have changed God's mind, but it helped change us by confirming what we already believe and reinforcing what God has already done.

The cool thing isn't that Hubs came out of this an EOD tech. The cool thing is that Hubs came out knowing that God's purpose prevails. It prevails over our plans or ability. It prevails over our desires for our lives or what we think might be good. It prevails over our mistakes and failures. It prevails over us.

The cool thing wasn't that Hubs passed. The cool thing was that He walked with God.

Yes, we wanted this outcome. Of course we did. But let us not forget how dependent we were on God to allow it. May we live our lives by it. I want to crave it. I want to create dependence over comfort. Because that is true life. Only there do we find the joy and peace and contentment that is promised.

Because next time, the outcome may not be want we thought we wanted. It will most definitely present a different challenge for us. But it won't change that God has allowed it. May it not change our deep desire for God's Will to be sovereign in us. That His desires become ours. That His priorities become ours. We want to be His.

Our treasure is in heaven.
Our freedom is in surrender.
Our strength is in submission.
Our hope is in Him.
Not in comfortable circumstances, not in favorable outcomes, not in passing or failing. Not in graduating or a cool new duty station.
In Christ alone.

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