A few days ago I experienced something painful in my heart. I prayed that God would send me someone to help me regain perspective. I set off on a walk. Maybe I would meet this person, and maybe they would stop me. But, I wouldn’t take the initiative, I would let God do it.
I had barely started out when a virtual stranger stopped me. She asked me how I was.
I was taken aback, and didn’t want to share. But I had prayed, and God had done his part. I had better do mine. I told her what was going on. “I’ve been there too,” she said. “It isn’t your fault…”
God does answer our prayers! But, we too have to do our part.
“If you want to walk on water,” a minister said, looking around at us, “get out of the boat!”
I gasped. That was blunt! But it was true as well. How can I follow Jesus anywhere, at anytime, and at any cost, if I don’t want to climb out of the security of a boat?
Thankfully, Jesus understands our fear of failure, and anxieties at finding ourselves out of our depth, but he still stretches out his hand. “Come!” he calls to each one of us. He dares us to step out of our little boat. He dares us to put everything on the line for him. He dares us to trust that if we sink, he will reach out and hold us up. “Come!”
“You can trust me,” someone said. “I’ve done this before. Just stand where you are, and I’ll stand an arm length away. I’ll pretend to punch you, but my fist will never touch you. It’s all about getting the distance right.”
I trusted the person as they positioned themself and measured the space between us. I trusted them as they did a test run. I trusted them as they threw the punch. WHAM! I saw stars!! Blood spurted from my nose.
“I’m so sorry!” the person cried. “It’s always worked before.” But as I blew my nose, I started to laugh. Talk about being gullible!
This happened when I was 28, but it taught me something important. GOD doesn’t get his calculations wrong. It says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:20)
A group of us scattered inside a maze, the kind where the hedges are two meters high. A friend and I got lost. Then I heard my husband’s voice. “Derek, did you make it?” I called.
“Yes!” came the reply. “Where are you?”
I happened to be carrying a long umbrella. “Here!” I called, and raised it high.
Derek laughed. “I can see everything. I’ll guide you.” He gave instructions, watching the tip of my umbrella as it bobbed along. “Left. Right. Not that right! The next one…”
Life is like that. We get so lost and mixed up. Then we hear God’s voice. “I see everything!” he says. “Listen. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.” (from Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 32:8)
Now, that is living by faith!
Memories can become our masters. When we have been broken and hurt, and don’t know how to move on, those memories enslave us. It is as if they take over our life.
In the Bible God’s people were enslaved as well. They knew they couldn’t escape the pain and suffering inflicted on them. God knew they couldn’t… He rescued them. He sent hope. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Let God fight for your heart today. Believe him when he says, “Don’t be afraid.”
Sometimes life seems to throw us more than we can cope with. Sometimes these troubles come at once… the washing machine breaking, the fridge, the car, the printer, the telephone, my boots… emotional griefs… death, rejection, and exhaustion… My tears flowed unhindered. I was truly in a deep, dark valley.
Then I got a paper cut and spilled lemon juice on it. I started to laugh. The solution was so simple, I rinsed my finger in water. When life stings, I immerse myself in God, his Word. I drink his peace and perspective. “As we pass through the Valley of Weeping, we make it a place of springs.” (Psalm 84:6)
“I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.” (C H Spurgeon) I thought I had learned this, but as I looked at the next one, it was huge. “I can take this,” I thought, and steadied myself. That wave picked me up and threw me down. It broke me.
Jesus gathered my debris. “Darling, there is another way to tackle waves. Surf them. My Word is the board. Climb on behind me. Let’s do the next ones together.”
It’s a different view on top of waves. Jesus shows why people roar: fear… hopelessness… the need to survive… Funny how these waves bring us close to Jesus. I think I’ll kiss him instead.
I’ve been working too hard, and have gone over the edge. Have you ever done that?
The sun was already setting. I had to get outside. And it was as if God was there. The sun spread out its arms, soothing me. I followed it until it set.
Maybe I’ll start chasing sunsets every day. God is bigger than work.
Sometime I feel like that thief on the cross. “Jesus! Get me out of this mess! I’ve been hung out to dry! It wasn’t my fault, really.”
Jesus looks over from his cross. “You might not have noticed, but I am with you.”
“No!” I cry. “I don’t want you to stay with me. I want you to save me.”
Jesus tries to shift himself so that he can breathe. “You might not have noticed… I am!“
When God said, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places…” (Isaiah 45:3), it was a promise. A promise always implies hope. It implies that God is able to do what he said.
But what if God had not given that promise, it would have been absurd to expect him to fulfill it. Faith needs a promise. But faith also needs a promise keeper. In the Bible Abraham embraced God’s promises even though they seemed impossible. It says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope, believed,” (Romans 4:18). Abraham couldn’t see how things would work out. He accepted God’s promises in the dark. He trusted God in that darkness.