What if someone told you, “Forget about your God and just do what I say”? What would you do? Would you listen?
God knows that many voices shout out, confusing us, but he still speaks: “Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention. Forget your people and your father’s house” (Psalm 45:10) Those near and dear might try to control, might want to keep us ‘safe’, but God wants to take us where we have never gone before.
He asks us to trust him, to take a step into the unknown. He stretches out his hand and invites us to grasp it. “Come, follow me,” (Matthew 4:19) he calls. And we can, into his adventure, individually designed for each one of us.
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.
I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…
Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!
Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)
What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!
Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!
“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!”
Have you ever been caught in a darkness so deep, you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face, even when you held them right up to your nose? Maybe you decided to sit still and wait things out.
But, imagine, your child starts crying. Deep darkness or not, you feel your way forward, crashing into furniture, calling out comforting words. It takes a desperation to actually walk, without sight, without light. The Bible says, “Let him who walks in the dark and has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)
Are you walking in darkness? I am. Let’s follow the unseen God within our hearts.
I am surrounded by boxes. My rectangle house. My defined job. My acceptance of limitations in life. Yet I still dream of walking on water, of flying like a bird. What about you?
I also dream of writing extraordinary books. But, I have been told there is only one CS Lewis, only one JRR Tolkien, and sometimes I wonder if I should even dare try. That is, until I remember…
Jesus said something so freeing, it tears apart our cardboard walls. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things…” (John 14:12) Faith in Jesus isn’t a limiting box. Faith in Jesus means we can embrace big dreams. It means we can go and do.
If you asked me if I recognized God’s voice, I would have said, “Yes!” But yesterday a friend came to mind. I felt I should visit her. I texted and rang, but no reply. In the end I drove to her house, a 72 mile round trip.
I knocked on her door. No one answered. I thought I had heard God right. In the end I wrote a note and posted it through my friend’s letter box. Romans 8:28. “And we know that God works all things together for good to them who love him.”
I laughed. Maybe this trip was actually for me. God wanted to remind me that everything does work for good, even when things go wrong.
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!
Sometimes people hurt us and we end up deeply shaken. But those people also accomplish something else. They reveal to us what is in our hearts. I don’t often like what I find in mine: anger, fear, pride… I even contemplate revenge.
Someone in the Bible suffered injustice as well, yet he reacted differently. He cried out, “My soul finds rest in God alone… He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)
Can anything good come out of pain? There is one thing. Through it God can show us if we have wandered away from him. Through it we can make the choice to return and find rest in him.
You probably know how hard it is when those we love push us away…
- If you don’t do what I say, you can’t be my friend.
- If you love me, you will never disagree with me.
- If you care for me, you won’t tell the truth.
What are we supposed to do? We are upset and scared.
But God doesn’t push us away. He says, “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men? … I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.” (Isaiah 51:12,16)
God gives us his dignity. He gives us the wisdom how to respond. He protects us. We can move on.
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.”