January 12, 2013 will be a significant day for me. Unless something radical changes in my life, it will mark the longest time I have ever lived in one place: seven years. That may not sound very significant to some folks but to me it is huge. Most of my life I have been an urban Bedouin. I went to two schools in kindergarten, two schools in second grade, a different school for third through sixth grades, a different school district for seventh grade, moved in ninth grade and spent four years going to a high school that was not in my neighborhood. For every different school or school district I was in there were probably four or five moves. Now you live with your mom, dad and half of your siblings; now you live with your mother's mother; now you live with your father's mother; now you live with your father's friends; now you're back at your grandmother's; now you're back living with your father who has married your aunt.... it was very much like being a piece in one of those sliding numbers puzzles; trying to slide things into place and find order where there was none.
The day after I graduated high school I moved to a different county. Next came a succession of moves which isn't all that unusual for a young adult. Every six months or a year I would find myself in a new home, in new surroundings, doing new things. I carried the same old burdens to each of those places. I have been carrying any number of albatrosses around my neck like badges of honor. Putrid, albatrosses: abandonment, abuse, chaos, neglect, fear, anxiety, failure.
I've known for a long time that none of those things came to me accidentally. It used to make me mad. Then I was comforted by it and started taking those stinking birds off but I've always kept them close by. Why? Just in case I need them to prove I am no damned good. There's nothing quite so satisfying when you're throwing a pity party than to start enumerating the list of real grievances you have about your life.
Last night I got to hear Dr. Bruce Ware speak on The Truth of God's Providence. It was good for me to hear his exposition on the topic. I needed a tune up. I was reminded of something I learned a long time ago. If you look at the timeline of eternity, this time here and now doesn't amount to a flyspeck. It is infinitesimally small. It is the only time a Christian can and will know suffering. God, in eternity past, chose me to glorify Him through His grace and mercy. That means that all the heartaches; all the scars; all the bloated, maggot infested experiences that I choose to wear to keep myself walled off from others are going to be replaced with the mind blowing contentment of worshiping my God and Savior.
As I ponder it, it seems to me that during my sanctification, the reality of all God's providence being good should be compelling enough to stop me from collecting the dead birds of disappointment and pain. My faith shouldn't only give me future hope, it should expose the treasures of hope in my history. Could it be we find that hope as we bury the past in the truth of God's sovereignty? I am willing to find out.