She was talking about her future and spoke with a great faith that God would guide, do the unlikely and work wonders in her lifetime.
Sitting opposite her I felt a poor reflection of what I saw before me. I realised that, partly without even noticing, my trust in God had diminished. Growing fears and repeated disappointments have shrunk my view of Gods capabilities - or the things he will choose to do in my life.
I still believe he loves me and is sorrowful in my suffering, but maybe I'm less convinced that he will actually do much about it. My view of God has gotten smaller. More limited. I find it easier to trust that he's got me saved for eternity, (and boy is that going to be great) but in the meantime (the next 60 years or so) I seem to have become less convinced that he will work the impossible for his glory and for my good.
Do I believe God is powerful? Do I believe he gives good gifts? Yes, but.
Yes, but there are a whole lot of people suffering on our planet. Yes, but God's power + God's love does not always = happy times in life. Just check out the early church and Paul's life for an example. Did he regret his decision to face suffering for Christ? No, I'm so sure that he didn't. But perhaps he was far better at trusting God for a reason for his suffering, than I am.
Maybe my expectations are wrong? That's what I've been telling myself over the last while. The reason I feel pain and disappointment in current life situations is because I was expecting for the most part to be happy and healthy; things that I don't believe God guarantees us in this life.
So as a response to this suffering and confusion I guess I've tried to reign in my expectations. Perhaps this has been a defence mechanism; but whatever the cause I realise that in limiting my expectations I have naturally limited my faith. I've subconsciously stopped expecting him to do amazing things, work wonders and miracles, and am less convinced that he has good plans for me.
So, it's sad, but probably good to have realised this. It means I can pray about it, asking God to give me the courage to trust him again, to know and trust him more deeply and not on some level resent him for recent struggles.
Only thing is that I'm not sure HOW to do this, whilst still managing my expectations. It's somewhat of a cliche to talk about the 'now and not yet' of the kingdom, but in all seriousness, how do people manage to hold these two things in tension?
It has become apparent that I have focussed on the 'not yet' and have limited my faith as a response to this. But I've missed a key tenet of this concept: 'not yet' doesn't mean God is impotent, insensitive or too busy to answer me. And it doesn't mean he will answer in the same way for every other area of my life and the lives of those around me.
It's hard to pray for the healing of others, for miracles or good weather or guidance, when you're struggling with God being far away and seemingly unresponsive to suffering.
How do I trust God to do the supernatural, whilst accepting my current circumstances and their difficulties, WITHOUT believing untruths about my father? I guess, as my friend suggested last night, it comes from spending time with him and truly getting to know him. My prayer is that I will become more attuned to him and his heart, so that whether I am dealing with seemingly unanswered prayers, or praying for miracles, I can do both and erstwhile still praise Him.