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Archive for the ‘Trust’ Category

So Long, Old Pal

“I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear. Whenever I feel fearful emotions overtaking me I just close my eyes and thank God that He is still on the throne reigning over everything and I take comfort in His control over all the affairs of my life.” ~ John Wesley

 

Dear Anxiety,

We used to be so close. You weren’t really a friend, but you were definitely a frequent companion. Our relationship was complicated. I know I invited you in, but you certainly overstayed your welcome. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m thrilled to be free of you. It’s funny how you had so much control when things were good, but when things went horribly wrong you lost your facade of power. I had no choice but to turn to Someone who could actually help me. Things are better than good these days and I know you might try to weasel your way into my life again—yes, I’ve noticed you trying—but I’m different now. I’ve got the key out of your box and I’m standing on the Truth that isn’t swayed by my emotions. So, good riddance to bad rubbish, my old companion. Thanks for the memories.

~ Sarah


We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5

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Dressed Better Than The Lilies

My friend Michele has made it a habit to trust God entirely to provide what she and her family need. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of habit I’d like to obtain. She gave me a really great piece of advice about a year ago that has stuck with me. She told me that she has found that if she will ask God for what she needs and then be patient, He will provide. Frequently, she ends up getting the item at no or low cost, and other times she just finds a great deal that she would have missed out on if she had rushed out and bought the thing she needed immediately. Last week I decided to start trying to live the way she does. My 11 year old, Anna, discovered on the first day that the temperature dipped below 70 that she didn’t have any jeans that fit. So, instead of rushing out to buy a couple of pairs that we couldn’t afford, I prayed about it. I told God what we needed (though I’m sure He already knew) and asked Him to provide some hand-me-downs if He had any available (HA! He’s got the whole universe at His disposal.)

Then we waited. 

As I’m getting to know this God that we are all following together, I’m finding that He really is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Who Provides. Of course, He doesn’t always provide in the way I think He will or exactly as I ask or as quickly as I’d like, but make no mistake, He always provides. Sometimes He just has a greater purpose in mind than gratifying my every desire, and, therefore, waiting is a necessary part of trusting Him. 

Six days after praying about the jeans, one of Leah’s friends’ mom mentioned in casual conversation that she was preparing to get rid of all of her older daughter’s excess clothing and we’d be welcome to come by and take whatever we’d like. So, on Sunday afternoon, the girls and I went over to their house and came home with four tubs of clothes. 

Four tubs. 

I don’t think I’m going to have to buy Anna…or any of the girls…clothes for the next three years. 

I am not surprised that God provided. Cause that’s His name. 

The Lord Who Provides. 

But I am shocked that He provided so lavishly. I am blown away, floored, giddy with gratitude, and, basically, feelin’ the love. 

Tell me, how has God provided for you lately or in the past?  

Give Him a shout out. Cause I know He deserves it and I can’t wait to hear it! 

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 1 Timothy 6:17,18

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It’s Not Easy Being Wrong

When I was in middle school I was friends with a girl who had a mom who seemed to know things. Mrs. F always had a great story to tell or wisdom to share. One time she told me that trying to take back something you said is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube after you’ve squeezed it out. I’ve never forgotten that. Though, unfortunately, I’m still working on trying to keep my toothpaste in the proverbial tube.

I haven’t seen that girl and her mom in a really long time, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that Mrs. F wasn’t right about as much as I originally thought. In fact, it was her most oft-repeated advice that I’ve learned has some major flaws. She used to say to me, “Sarah, don’t ever ask God to give you patience, cause He will send someone into your life who will require a ton of patience from you!”

In all fairness to Mrs. F, I’m not entirely sure she didn’t mean those “words of wisdom” as a light-hearted joke. But, regardless of her original intent, her words shaped the picture of God that I carry in my heart. Though I didn’t realize it at first, this silly, simple piece of advice began (and continued) to cause me to see God as slightly untrustworthy. Those words led me to believe that if I wasn’t careful, He might misunderstand my prayers and force me to go through some randomly appointed trial just because of the phrasing I had used while asking Him for help. I kid you not, until the last couple of years, I truly avoided praying those words just in case God might respond by bringing some horrifically annoying person into my life. As though He was just waiting for me to speak the magic words and then He would cackle unmercifully, “HA HA HA…I’ve got her now!”

I’m here to tell you today, my friends, that I was flat wrong.

God is completely trustworthy. He does not hand out trials randomly and He totally  gets where each of us is coming from. He is the epitome of mercy and one of His goals is to make each of us just like Him in that regard. Therefore, if He brings a person into our lives who requires our patience, it is a far greater likelihood that He wants to pour out His mercy to them through us than it is that He is sitting back and watching us struggle to achieve patience with them. According to Galatians 5:22, patience is a fruit of the Spirit, rather than a skill we master. It is something we can practice, but by calling it a fruit of the Spirit, God clearly says there are times that He will pour patience out of us by the indwelling of the Spirit and aside from our own abilities.

We get things so backwards sometimes. We think that if something bad happens shortly after we prayed for God to do something big in our lives then it is because we prayed that prayer. I just don’t buy it anymore. The God that I’m coming to know through the Word and by walking alongside Him through the muck of daily life doesn’t punish us for praying big. Instead, I think it is more likely that He put the desire for the big thing in our hearts in order to prepare us for a trial that was already coming. Listen to this and let it sink underneath the layers of mistrust in your heart: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13

I have a two part challenge for you today:

1. Choose to trust God and His plans. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for patience or any other good thing. Believe that His heart is full of love for you and that He will not allow any trial to come into your life that will not bring a harvest of great rewards in you.

2. Dare to pray the following: Lord, please show me what I am wrong about. Show me if I am operating on any misconceptions about You. I ask you to shed light on any wrong-thinking that has burrowed its way into my mind and heart. Please help me find the Truth!

None of us, not even the most respected of biblical scholars, is going to be right 100% of the time. It frightens me sometimes how much I don’t know. I so look forward to the day when I can see all things clearly! In the meantime, I will keep on praying this prayer and trusting that God will set me straight when necessary. Doggone-it, but I just hate being wrong.

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