A few weeks ago, while poking around on No Longer Qivering, I came across this quote by Vyckie Garrison:
I haven’t been on speaking terms with God for quite a while ~ but if I were to have a conversation with The Big Guy ~ here’s the very first thing I’d like to know: How is it that my whole-hearted sincerity was not sufficient to protect me from horrible deception and from harming myself and my family? I mean, the Lord supposedly knows my heart ~ He knew that I was willing to do WHATEVER ~ even to the point of nearly losing my life ~ so why didn’t He honor my devotion by steering me clear of the craziness?
Vyckie’s honesty struck a chord with me. Over the past few years God has been freeing me from the rules-based righteousness so common in the homeschooling culture (unfortunately No Greater Joy was particularly influential in my life). I have often asked God the same questions Vyckie raises. Why? I frequently prayed for Your wisdom and direction! So why did you allow me to live under legalism for so long? Why didn’t You open my eyes sooner to the bondage I was in?
Unlike Vyckie, I did ask God to answer these questions for me. I’ve had doubts about many things lately but this has remained constant: God is good, He loves me and He’s not afraid of my questions. So I persistently asked Him why? And He answered me in a way I didn’t expect.
My daughters take violin lessons from a Suzuki instructor and during one of our lessons he explained to me that using contrasts is often a very effective teaching tool. In other words, demonstrating to the student what a bad technique looks like can help her learn a proper technique.
I had an ah-ha! moment. Like a good violin teacher had God been teaching me through contrasts? This thought occurred to me: who would understand and appreciate freedom better than a slave? And the longer someone has lived in slavery the sweeter his or her freedom would be! If I had never lived under the heavy bondage of the law I would never know what it was like to be completely free from it.
God will probably reveal to me many more reasons for allowing me to be sincerely deceived but realizing this lesson of contrasts has motivated me to move beyond the phases of why God? and how could I be so stupid? I am grateful He has shown me a positive aspect in all of this so that I can move on in thankfulness rather than bitterness.
I have spent much time in the past year regretting and even grieving my past…the lack of gentleness in raising my children and the unrealistic expectations I placed on my marriage. There have been several nights when the grief just sweeps over me and I can’t hold back the tears. My husband holds me while I cry and reminds me of the good things–let’s thank God that He opened our eyes sooner rather than later, while our kids are still fairly young and before our marriage was completely trashed.
My Father, too, reminds me of the good things–forgiveness and glorious freedom! As someone who spent years in slavery to the sin of legalism and self-righteousness, I can’t even begin to describe how sweet His freedom is. The contrast is incredible.
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36