So Many Mysteries

I will never understand.

For me, one of the keys to having peace and contentment is realizing that there will be things in this crazy world that I will never understand.  There are “things too wonderful for me to know” which is how Job described it at the end of his story in the Bible.

Remembering truths which are very clear and have been etched into my soul by the Holy Spirit helps me be okay about the mysteries that are beyond the ability of my 3.5 pound brain to comprehend.

Here are some of the truths that I review in my mind when I start to worry or doubt or question –

God is good, all the time.

God is all-powerful – nothing is impossible for him.

God is a perfect Father who loves me with a perfect love.  He is always walking beside me.

God is working all things out for my good.  He wants the best for me.

God’s timing is perfect.

Being confident of these truths, I know the best response to whatever happens to me is to trust God.  I can ask ‘Why?’ and God is patient with me, but there is wisdom in making trust my first response, not questions.

I have discovered that my life stays more closely aligned with God when I automatically and genuinely trust him with everything – because there is so much that I will never understand.

I trust you, Abba Father.

He is Not Like Me

I am created in the image of God,  I am like him.

But he is not like me.

I have found this to be a crucial truth to get straight in my brain so that I have the correct expectations of God.

God tells me through Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”

God is perfectly holy, perfectly just, perfectly loving and always right.

I am farrrrrrrr from perfect.  I cannot judge God’s actions – whether they are right or wrong – based on what I think.  My thinking is very flawed.  It is self-centered, self-seeking and severely limited.  I don’t think like God.  I will never think like God.

So I submit to his will.

I am totally confident in God’s goodness and his perfect love for me.  I know to the depths of my spirit that God wants the best for me.  Even though I will never understand how he thinks and why he has permitted a painful tragedy to happen in my life when my son was killed, I will trust God.  His ways are not my ways – his ways are perfect.

In response to this truth, I have decided that my way is to walk in faithfulness and trust the rest of my days on this planet.  I have decided to live in gratitude for God’s free gift of redemption through Jesus.  I don’t question what God does or doesn’t do.  I don’t try to judge if he is right or wrong – I know he is right.  I know he is always walking beside me, loving me and caring for me, even when he is not doing what I think is best.  He knows better.

I trust you, Abba Father.

No Hiding

No faking it.

You and I see the outside of people – what they look like, what they wear, where they live and how they act.

God has an entirely different perspective of us – he looks on the inside.  He knows my intentions, my motivations and desires.  He knows what I’m thinking – I don’t have to say anything.

When Samuel was picking who would be king after Saul, God said to him, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  Knowing this is true challenges me as well as gives me confidence.  I’m glad God sees below my surface – he understands my true feelings.  He knows me better than any human being ever could.

But the fact that God knows my thoughts also challenges me.  Like many of us who have been on this road of faith for a long time, I have gotten better at not saying things I shouldn’t say.  But have I trained my mind to not think them?  Have I let God renew my mind so it doesn’t go where it shouldn’t go?  The honest answer is – sometimes.  There are areas of my life where it is difficult to control my thinking.  There are other situations where I find it pretty easy to leave it all with God.

With the Coronavirus, for example, I am not having a difficult time of ‘letting go and letting God’.   I am so obviously NOT in control of this pandemic that I am finding that I can easily turn any concerns or fears I have about this craziness over to God.  Meanwhile, I’ll do my part, confident that God is in control of everything.

My husband and I have been in the process of selling a home, moving to another state and buying a home this last month in the middle of the pandemic.  For some reason, God decided this was the right time for us to do all this.  Experience tells me that I’ll probably understand this much better in a couple years when I look in the rearview mirror.

For right now, it’s comforting to know that when God looks at my heart today, he can see that I’m trusting him with all of it.  I know that he loves me with a perfect love and is working it all out for my good.

God has promised and he always keeps his promises.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Unknown

It’s hard to make decisions about next steps when I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  There are times when it feels like the unknown is just waiting out there – ready to blow up in my face.

So reading about Abram’s (soon to be Abraham) decision-making in Genesis intrigues me.  First, God tells Abram to leave his homeland to go to “the land I will show you.”

Wow!  Not even a forwarding address on that one!  Just go.  I’ll tell you when to stop.

And the Bible tells us, “So Abram went.”

Abram was role-modeling for me a level of trusting in God that challenges me and make me want to grow my faith.

Then Abram takes a couple of steps back when he deceives the Egyptians by telling them his wife was his sister, creating a significant issue when Pharoah plans to make her his wife.  Abram didn’t trust God to keep him safe in this situation.  The good news is that God intervened and stopped the mess.

Thank you, Father, for stopping some of the messes I was creating before they blew up.

The next time we read about Abram, he is travelling to Canaan with his nephew, Lot.  Their herdsmen are quarreling because together they had too many herds and flocks for the amount of water and food that was available.

They decided to split up and Abram lets Lot pick the best land while he claimed the less fertile hill country.  In this situation, Abram is clearly deciding that his relationship with his nephew was more important than ‘stuff’ like the best piece of land.  Abram knew God well enough to know that God made people a priority over ‘things’ so he knew God would bless his decision.

And God did.

This is such a great lesson for me!  When I don’t know how something is going to work out, I need to use God’s values and follow his heart to determine my next step.  Then I know God will bless my decision.

Please help me love the things that you love, Abba Father.

Lay It Down

I need to remember this…

God is reminding me again today that this is important.

One of my favorite historical accounts in the Old Testament is when King Hezekiah received a letter telling him that a gigantic Assyrian army was coming to destroy his city, Jerusalem.

Hezekiah had only a very small army.  No contest.

But King Hezekiah had faith in God.   So he took the threatening letter to the  temple and spread it out in front of the LORD.  King Hezekiah knew who held the real power in this world and it wasn’t the Assyrian king with his huge army.

Do I need to tell you how this story ends?  God took care of it and the King of Assyria had to take his much smaller army home without one arrow being shot at Jerusalem.  The next day, the king’s sons murdered him.

This is the kind of thing that happens when you and I lay our concerns down at God’s feet and leave them there.  When we go to him, trust him and let him handle it the way he wants to, he works it all out for our good.

He has promised….

and he always keeps his promises.

Your will be done, Father.

Be Still and Watch

It’s hard for me to be still and watch.  I’m a doer.  I’m an achiever.  I spent over 34 years of my career “making things happen”.

So I like to skim over all the situations in the Bible where God tells us to “be still and watch”.  And God says this often.  You probably don’t notice how often he says this unless you’re trying to ignore him when he says this – like me.

In 2 Chronicles, King Jehoshaphat tells his people not to be discouraged by the huge, combined army that is marching toward them. “You will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory.”

After saying this, the king and all the people bowed before God with their faces to the ground and they worshipped God.

This creates a great visual picture in my brain because they were acting like they had already won!

Because they had.

Early the next morning, they marched out to their positions singing praises to God.  They were not afraid – God was going to fight for them.

And he did.  The huge enemy army became confused and started fighting each other – killing everybody in their own army.

God’s people won without raising any weapon except their trust in God.  It took them three days to gather up all of the supplies and valuables left behind by the dead army.

Wow!  God is saying to me and you today that there are battles coming at us which he wants to fight for us.  We just need to trust and be still and watch.

I have something in my life that I’ve been ‘battling with’ and God just reminded me yesterday that I need to give it to him. (I actually should have given it to him a while ago).  Today he is confirming that through his Word to me.

I’ve been trying to make it happen but it just hasn’t.  Frustrating!  So now I’m going to be still and watch.  I know I don’t really want it to happen unless God also wants it to happen anyway, so I like this plan.  Everytime I think about it, I’m going to send it up to God in a prayer, “Do your will, Father.”

I trust that he wants the best for me so I will be still and watch.

Thank you for reminding me and confirming this for me, Abba Father.

Fear

It makes me anxious.

It makes me worry.

It makes me focus on ‘what if?”

My fears usually center around situations that I have no control over.  There is nothing I can do to get rid of these thoughts that fill my mind with dread –

except trust God.

He is in control.  He loves me and wants the best for me.  I believe that with all of my heart and soul.  He has proven it over and over.

When I remember to trust God with all of it, the fear goes away.  Confidence in my Good Father wipes out the anxiety and worry.  I say to myself, “What if I just let God handle this?” and the dread of what could happen disappears.  I know that, no matter what, God is going to walk beside me through it.  He has always been faithful in the past, he will always be faithful in the future.

The spies who Moses sent into the Promised land seriously missed this trusting in God idea.  They were scared – the people living in the Promised land were big and powerful.  Their towns were large with high walls around them.

The spies spread their fear through the rest of the Israelites until they became so scared that God tells us in the Bible that they cried all night.

Caleb and Joshua were two of the spies and their report was much different from the rest.  “Let’s go at once to take the land.  We can surely conquer it.”

What?  The people of Israel were trembling in fear and Caleb is saying they must go ‘at once to take the land’?  How could the response of Caleb and Joshua be the opposite of what the rest of the spies were saying?

The difference was that Caleb and Joshua trusted God.  It was not about the Israelites doing this on their own.  God had promised to give them the land, so God was going to do it.

They trusted God so they were willing to obey him in spite of how the situation looked.

How good am I at trusting God in those kinds of situations?

How trusting are you?  Have you been anxious or fearful lately?

Please help us trust you with all things, Abba Father.  Take away our fears and anxiety.

Blessed

Aaronic Benediction, 2018

“The Lord bless you and keep you,”

I desire your blessing, Father.  Please keep me close to your side.  Draw me even closer when the waves of trials and the unknown try to overwhelm me.  Hold me tightly when the struggles seem too difficult to endure.

“The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you,”

Shine the light of your love and truth in my life each day, Father.  Help me push back the darkness that is all around me.  May your grace overflow in my life to others so they want to know you.

“The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Yes, Father.  I want to know you better and see you more clearly as you move in my life.  Grow my trust in you, Father.  I know that it’s through my trust in you that you will give me peace.

Please give me peace, Abba Father.

Little by Little

One step at a time.

Deciding to trust God’s direction with my next decision even though I have no idea how this is going to work out.

Persevering through each struggle, not losing sight of the Light.

“Little by little”.  Moses uses these words as he is speaking to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land.  “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.”

Then Moses said, “You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

I’m on my 7th year of reading the entire Bible and God has never bolded these words (figuratively) and stopped me here before. God did not give the Israelites victory over all of their adversaries all at once because the wild animals would have taken over the empty land.

I would love it if God would just take my trials and problems away – all of them – all at once.  Take them all away, Father!

But God doesn’t do that.  Little by little, step by step, he leads me through the struggles.  He draws me closer as together we move through the confusing and dark times.  God does not eliminate all of my issues because then I would be very tempted to count on myself and not on him.  I need to remain dependent on him or wild animals (bad choices and wrong thinking) will also multiply around me.

But little by little is so hard, Father!  Not knowing how it all turns out is very difficult.

Except –

when I’m trusting God.  When I’m breathing and moving in line with my Father God, I only need to keep my eyes on him and take the next step.

Because God’s got the rest.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Beyond Measure

This doesn’t look like a good thing.

It doesn’t feel anything like a blessing.

What happened in my life is too hard and sad to ever have a good outcome.

But what it feels like and looks like is not all that’s happening.  God is orchestrating his will through the tough circumstances in my life.  He is planning the best future for me and it’s obvious that this future looks nothing like I thought it would.

When my son was killed, my plans and dreams blew apart and the only option I had was to hold on tight to my Rock.  I trust that my Father God knows what he’s doing.  Even though I don’t like it, I choose to trust.

Joseph’s story in Genesis encourages me.  He experienced many dark, confusing and cold places – and God was with him each time.  When Joseph finally was put in charge of all Egypt, he began to store grain in preparation for the famine which God had revealed to him was coming.  God blessed Joseph’s efforts to the point that he stopped keeping records of the amount of grain ‘because it was beyond measure’.

As we read on in the story, we see that God’s plan to save Joseph’s family from starvation during the famine was also ‘beyond measure’.  The plan started way back when Joseph was a teenager and only God could have put all of the puzzle pieces together in the way that he did.  Only God could bring this much good out of the evil his brothers intended when they sold Joseph as a slave.

I am a witness to the fact that God is still bringing good out of evil.  I trust that, like Joseph, God is with me and I will be blessed ‘beyond measure’ as he completes his will in my life.

Thank you, Abba Father.