The Power of a Preposition

Molly TotoroRecently my Bible study group examined Gideon’s story. While this narrative is short – only three chapters within the book of Judges – it is packed with powerful lessons we can apply to our Christian walk.

On one particular week we focused on God’s long-suffering and patience. We unanimously agreed we have all tested His tolerance. We have felt His rolling-eyes, heavy sighs, and mumbling, “Will she ever get this right?!”

But as I participated in this discussion I wondered if perhaps there was another way to interpret the message. Rather than feeling God’s disappointment WITH us … wagging his divine finger and uttering “tsk, tsk, tsk” … Could He in fact be disappointed FOR us?

Rather than tinged with disdain, perhaps there is empathy in His statement. He may not be saying, “Will she ever get this right?” – with my perceived implication that I am either stupid, sinful, or lacking in faith – but instead He may be gently pleading with me to simply Trust Him, and believe that He is truly for me and not against me.

“Molly, if you will just release this to me, you will receive the peace you desperately desire. Let me carry the burden, and you go take a rest.”

Or perhaps the words go something like, “Molly, you are making this too difficult. Stop trying to do it all and just take that one next step. I have this under control.”

Or perhaps He wants me to know that I need to stop viewing Him as the strict disciplinarian, just waiting for me to make a mistake, and instead view Him as the loving parent who wishes to grant immediate blessings for simple obedience.

I no longer think God is disappointed in me. He knows me – all my faults, all my weaknesses, all my baggage, and yet He still loves me. He just wants me to learn to accept that love.

Another scripture verse upon which I have meditated which also demonstrates the power of a preposition is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

For years I thought this scripture stated to give thanks FOR all circumstances, but I could not understand why I should be thankful for unemployment , no health insurance, and no financial savings.

While life is hard and oftentimes unfair, and circumstances can be overwhelming and painful, God completely understands. He is not asking that we give thanks FOR our difficulties, but rather, in the midst of them, remember He is in complete control.

While circumstances may appear impossible, we know that with God all things are possible. Practicing gratitude in the midst of difficulties is a way of expressing faith in his sovereignty and perfect will for our lives.

So in 2015, I am going to focus on the right preposition, and with that, change my outlook on life here on earth…and beyond.

Molly Totoro is a writer and a recently retired English teacher who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share” and is currently establishing a ministry, Milestone Memoirs, where she helps others discover and write their stories to impact future generations. Molly frequently writes about the need to leave a legacy on her Stepping Stones blog.