Negative Majority Report

Man showing stop gestureThen the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained.  “Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” Numbers 14:1-4 NLT

Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” Numbers 14:9 NLT

Have you ever cried out in pain and fear, whining about your circumstances and making matters worse?

Me, too.

Numbers 14 records a time in the history of the Hebrew people when fantasy trumped the Fantastic, and God came out looking the bad guy on the other side. It’s hard to believe that after all God had done for these deserters, they wanted to go back to Egypt!

Back to chains.

Back to poverty.

Back to slave status.

Back to building Egyptian cities with a lack of proper brick-making materials! Reading the passage used for our prayer prompt today, I see a case of self-will run riot, with riotous results!

Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Vs 3

Really?  Is that really what they thought?  I have a hard time believing they were worried about their littles and their wives. I think it was their own flesh they were hoping to save, and when I think about that and why they didn’t trust God, the answers are beyond me, until I remember my rebellions of the past.  Ugh. Oh, yeah, that!

The revolt that is highlighted in Numbers 14 started when ten of twelve spies spent forty days in the promised land and returned with a majority report that was negative.

Negative for any positive faith.

Negative regarding their abilities.

Negative about God and showing their contempt for His might and power, His right to direct their lives.

What floors me about the story recorded in Numbers 14, is that God knew who would say what and the punishment that would come of it before the spies set out.

I’m so glad that when the scouting party was formed, Joshua and Caleb were among them. These two, just these two, came back believing.  Which begs the question: What are you believing God for today? If you don’t get it today, will you trust for it tomorrow. And if you don’t get it tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year, will you still stay true to your belief that God has something good for you? If you will, the Lord will reward that faith of yours—big time! If you won’t…well, you might want to check out the book of Numbers and read for yourself the rest of the story.

Faith matters!!

What are you trusting God to do for you today?  How good are you at remembering what He’s done for you in the past?

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Stubborn Much?

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Have you ever angered the Lord? Me, too.

I’ve done some pretty bone headed things in my day.
I’ve refused to listen.
I’ve continued in my sin.
I’ve hurt people with my words.
I’ve harmed myself with my habits.
I’ve caused baby Christians to struggle more than they needed to because I mistakenly thought everyone ought to be at the same junction I was, at the same time I arrived there.

Wrong!

I hope in all my misdeeds I never made God feels like I’d treated him like dirt. I know my distrust has hurt him, but from the perch where I sit today, I hope it was never so bad that I inflamed his hatred.

My rejection. My discontent. My slowness in getting on board. Did it anger Him to that degree?  Yikeroonies.

I’ve been reading in the Old Testament book of Numbers lately, as a part of my daily devotions. It’s a fascinating journey though some pretty incredible experiences for the Hebrew people. I’m an Old Testament kinda gal, so I love reading from the first half of the Bible record, but man, some of the stuff God dealt with is hitting home with me and not in a comforting way.

Here’s a little example of what I’m reading, from The Message translation today.  This passage follows a section wherein God expresses his anger with his people, after all He’s done in delivering them from 400+ years of slavery in Egypt. God’s angry enough to kill them all, and I don’t blame Him, but Moses, prophet that he is, looks into the future and see God’s reputation being tarnished with the nations if He gives in to his fury.

“Moses said to God, “The Egyptians are going to hear about this! You delivered this people from Egypt with a great show of strength, and now this? The Egyptians will tell everyone. They’ve already heard that you are God, that you are on the side of this people, that you are present among them, that they see you with their own eyes in your Cloud that hovers over them, in the Pillar of Cloud that leads them by day and the Pillar of Fire at night. If you kill this entire people in one stroke, all the nations that have heard what has been going on will say, ‘Since God couldn’t get these people into the land which he had promised to give them, he slaughtered them out in the wilderness.’

“Now, please, let the power of the Master expand, enlarge itself greatly, along the lines you have laid out earlier when you said,

God, slow to get angry and huge in loyal love,
forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin;
Still, never just whitewashing sin.
But extending the fallout of parents’ sins
to children into the third,
even the fourth generation.

“Please forgive the wrongdoing of this people out of the extravagance of your loyal love just as all along, from the time they left Egypt, you have been forgiving this people.” Numbers 14:13-19 MSG

God’s extravagant love–have you banked on it a time or two? Me, too!

I’m so glad Moses had the relationship with the Almighty that he had; one that saved countless Hebrew slaves from slipping through the desert floor into a dirty eternity.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Have you angered God a time of two with your habitudes?

Have you resisted, insisted, and otherwise grieved the Holy Spirit who’s tried to guide you?

Even today, are you making it hard for God to have his way with you?

Me, too.

Some days. When I want what I want. When I’m less holy-disposed.

When I’m guilty and sinful and in need of a Savior who can do for me what I cannot do for myself. In those times, I’m glad for Jesus. So glad for Jesus, and the healing path He’s got me on. I’m glad for forgiveness and grace and God’s patience.  Oh the glory.

Thank You, Lord!!

When have you been glad for God’s patience? When have you regretted what you’ve done?

Anger, Frustration, and Servanthood

anger-title-image_tcm7-230128I was angry this morning. Frustrated. Tired of the same ole things happening around me and me not having the power to change them. I thought in my mind, I could do this…

I could do that…

I’d like to say this…

And this….

And this…

Or maybe that…

I decided to lay it all out to a trusted friend, and that gave me some relief, but the headache still lingers. Things are not right in my world today, and the natural man (or woman), wants to do something about it.

She wants to rage.

She wants to correct.

She wants to DI-rect. Funny how that sounds like DIE-WRECKED when you say it to yourself in your anger.

She wants to have her way.

But God!

Remember: You are not your own, you have been bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20

You, my brothers and sister, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

…be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14

That last one I cling to right now, as I’m asked to do things I do not want to do, hear things I do not want to hear, and restrain myself from acting in ways God does not want me to act. Anyone who says Christianity is a crutch isn’t doing it right! That’s what I say.

But then this comes across my screen from the website, “What Christians Want to Know: Topics to Equip, Encourage & Energize.”

“The Bible tells us that “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Ex 14:14) but warns us “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me” (Deut 28:20). God “frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success” (Job 5:12) and He “brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples” (Psalm 33:10) and “frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish” (Isaiah 44:25). Take it all before God and place it in His mighty hands.”

Ouch!

I stand by my words typed earlier: Anyone who thinks that Christianity is a crutch isn’t doing it right!

Today, I’m choosing to be as amiable as I can, to be a servant, to keep my lip zipped, to trust God that He is capable of straightening out all the broken in this world, including the broken parts of my life. I’m choosing to rest in His promises and not speak harsh words, and not write about persons, for they are not the true problem of my frustrations today. My problem is self will run riot and the consequences of actions attached to failed systems of the world that says it’s okay to blow your stack, treat people like trash, have your way and be the master of your domain. Not anymore, not for this girl, not for a servant of the Most High it’s not.

Conclusion: We either trust God or we don’t. Our behavior will tell the tale. We are not responsible for every notion that pops into our heads, for we live in a selfish world that spews out negatively on an hourly basis and some of it affects us. We are responsible for how we act on the notions that pop into our heads. At least this girl is—she wants more than anything to be that servant God is calling her to be. Can she do it? Stay tuned. We’ll see!

Do you ever forget to go to God in your anger? What good is anger, anyway? Do tell…

Waiting…

Maybe I mentioned it before, but if not, I’ll share it now.  My tab system for Bible reading has me doing my devotionals in the Old Testament book of Numbers these days. It’s been amazing–both the reading of God’s Word in this ancient manuscript and the way my soul has mingled with God’s Holy Spirit to understand what I’ve read there.

Today’s lesson in Numbers was on the cloud that mysteriously appeared when the last stake was pounded into the ground and the last curtain was hung in the Tabernacle. This was to be God’s home in the desert years, and He made sure it began with a bang.

Here is what the Christian Bible says about the cloud’s appearing:

On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Numbers 9:15-16 NIV

Can you imagine?!

Did Moses know in advance this was going to happen?

Did the people know before the cloud appeared?

What on earth was their reaction when this impressive covering settled in above the project they had just finish, the Tabernacle they had completed, and hung there in midair, burning like fire?

Can you imagine?!

When he first saw that flaming cloud, I bet Moses’ soul instantly rubber-banded back to that moment when “the” bush was burning bright before him.  It was burning, but not consumed. Likewise, the Tabernacle was not consumed!  I wonder if Moses instant conclusion was “God was us!”

God was with them.

God was all over this project in a big, bold, divine sort of way.

Can you imagine?

Numbers 9 goes on to say that the cloud was the sign and symbol the Lord used to direct the movement of His people through the desert years.

Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. Numbers 9:22 NIV

A week, a month…

…a year!

Two years!

However long it took.

Can you imagine…

…daily looking for the sign?  The people were forced to daily put their trust in something bigger and more majestic than themselves .  Daily! Hour by hour. No moving until the cloud moves.

I wonder if they had a betting pool on when it would move next?

I wonder if Moses knew in advance when it would move?

I wonder if Aaron got yancy when so many days had passed with no movement. If it had been a year since they moved out last, I’m betting there was a lot of anxiety attached to that cloud moving again.

Can you imagine how tied to God’s will these people were from day to day? There were a lot of days to consider God in their daily plans; forty years worth of them! That’s 14,600 days of intimate attachment to your divine guide-by our calendar. Maybe there’s was more. Maybe less. Regardless, that’s a long time to wait on the Lord and be wholly dependent on Him for your movements.

Can you imagine what it would be like for us, today, we Christians, to so depend upon God’s daily directives for our lives that we dared not move until He said MOVE?!

I can only imagine!

Numbers 9 provides a breakdown of how this whole cloud thing worked. I’d invite you to read it for yourselves today. Then consider: How well would I fare if I decided today that I won’t move unless God says move…that I’ll stay put until He says differently. How much whining and crying and pacing and gossiping would go on in our camp, if we lived that way?

How would God fare in our fellowships?

How many blessings would disappear overnight?

How gray would our God-cloud be?

Can you imagine?

How does the idea of God directing your every move on a daily basis feel to you when you consider it?

Do you do well waiting, or do you chomp at the bit to get going once again?

What does your waiting style say about you? What does that say about your God?

Light to Light My Way

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand.’” Aaron did so; he set up the lamps so that they faced forward on the lampstand, just as the LORD commanded Moses. This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold—from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses. Numbers 8:1-4 NIV

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5 NIV

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Have you ever noticed how important light is to our God?

The Bible is full of reference to light and invitations to surround our lives with light, God’s light.

We are called children of the light.
We’re told our Lord is a lamp meant to light our path.
We’re commanded to let our light shine before men.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”

We testify to the power of light through changed lives, and we believe that just a sliver of God’s light can make all the difference, even in the darkest life. When we walk with the Lord, we have no fear of stumbling or what men can do to us.  We are courageous, because “He is our stronghold, of whom shall we be afraid?”

Many may operate in the dark, navigate in the shadows, and wonder their whole lives why their outlook and purpose is vastly different from ours. They see we have light, but they don’t quite know how to produce it in their own lives. What they misunderstand…what remains a mystery to them, is that we don’t manufacture the light within and about us. We aren’t the light. We just reflect the Light.

Right now I’m reading in the book of numbers, where Moses receives instructions from God about the lamps to be erected in the Tabernacle.  I’m finding it fascinating.

One of the things I find most amazing about our God is that He never hides in the shadows. Neither does He hide from us the things that we wish we didn’t have to see.

Things we don’t want to hear.

Truths we might like kept from us, so that we could blissfully live on in ignorance.

Ugly realities about ourselves that we thought we were doing a good job camouflaging from the world.

God doesn’t give us the option to live in shadows once we’re born again. When we express trust in Him and ask Him to guide us and save us, and redeem us, we get light in return for darkness.

Understanding, in exchange for confusion.

Truth for the lies.

Hard righteousness, instead of soft compromise.

For me, truth telling is a sign of respect. No longer am I coddled or kept from reality, once I walk in integrity with Jesus. With Christ, I see all the horrors of the world, in living color, as they say–I just don’t let them destroy or define me. It isn’t always pretty, but neither is my real view of the world hopeless.

Today, I’m thankful for God’s Light and His unwillingness to allow me to remain in the dark.  One of my pet peeves is eating in a dimly lit room. Why, because I want to see what I’m putting into my body, and if there is something on my plate that shouldn’t be there, I want to see that too.  It works the same way with my faith journey with Jesus. Some things I need to see, some urgently so.

How are you using God’s light to illuminate your way through this life? How is life better, now that you no longer walk in darkness?

Numbers!

050718_EC_numbers_featMy tab system for Bible reading has taken me to the book of Numbers this week. I’m an old testament gal, so I’m okay with being in the ancient texts, and actually, it’s been pretty fascinating reading through the first seven chapters.

Granted, a lot of what is in those first seven chapters of Numbers is repetitious, but early on I’ve noticed that the Israelites were anxious to follow Moses’ commands and do whatever they can to please the Lord as they got started with the newer aspects of desert dwelling.

In chapter 7 of Number, we have a recounting of all the treasures the people brought for the anointing of the tabernacle.

Silver.

More silver.

Gold.

Oxen.

Rams.

Lambs.

Goats.

At the end of the chapter it mentions that when “Moses entered the tent of meeting (the Tabernacle), to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice of him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.”

Whoa!  Can you even…?

Cattle lowing.

Sheep blatting.

Silver and gold gleaming in the afternoon sunlight.

Dessert winds blowing.

Moses’ hair catching the breeze and acting all wild and fly away.

Aaron, standing there with his sons, accepting one gift after another and recording it all in his book.

Backdrop to all this drama is a newly finished and set-up Tabernacle, anointed, consecrated, altar and all, furnishing God’s house with all new and shiny articles, dedicated to the Lord’s service.  In the middle of the desert, standing in sharp contrast, I imagine, to the nothing that stretches out for miles and miles around the people of the Lord.  Talk about desolate.

New Beginnings!

I wonder how it felt to this man who was chosen for such an important and sacred task, to stand there and look at all this and wonder about the nation and glory yet to be?

The leaders of noble tribesmen surround the Tabernacle, but no one draws near. They have been warned…don’t come too close, lest you endanger yourself and your family members. Anyone caught within the perimeter of this sacred dwelling of God who wasn’t assigned to be there would be killed without notice. Be forewarned!

I also found it interesting that carts are given to the Levites, by the others.

Two carts with four oxen.

Four carts with eight oxen…but only to the Gershonites and Merarites. Not to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible.

I remember Uzzah. :/

All this precision, it reminds me that those who hinge their carts to Science and say the “universe” is chaos, randomness, and cosmos doing their own thing never honestly looked into the exactness with which the Jewish people prepared and worshipped the God of Angel Armies.

I’m excited to see what more awaits me in the book of numbers. Whatever it is, you can be sure I’ll share it with my readers, right here. I hope you’ll come back to see what that more is and get excited with me.  The Bible—it’s the real never-ending story—a love story for the ages!

When was the last time you cracked open God’s good book, the Bible? What is your favorite place to read, in His Big Bible Love Story?

12 Years and still blogging

12 Year Anniversary Achievement

 

Happy Anniversary to me!

When I opened my blog this morning, the above graphic was what I found, along with these words:

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 12 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Isn’t that nice?!

My blog was started 12 years ago today, with the help of my ever-loving nephew, Jared Barden.  Without his help, it never would have happened, and without his encouragement, I probably would have quit the project long ago. Thank you for being the best of encouragers, Jared!  The world doesn’t have enough of them, so every one is a reason to rejoice. Thank you for shining grace and love into my life.  Thank you for helping me set this blog up and for helping me to keep it going.

Jared isn’t the only individual who has encouraged me with follows and comments on this blog over the last twelve years, though.  No, indeed.  And I am grateful–for each of you who read, comment, and share your hearts here, with me.

I’M GRATEFUL FOR A BUNCH OF THINGS!

There are a lot of things I have to be grateful for, but I’ll just mention a few here, today. I’m…

Grateful for the ability to string sentences together.

Grateful for exclamation marks, for I use many!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grateful for perspective(s) that I deem write-worthy.

Grateful for you, folks who follow along on this faith journey I’m on with Jesus.

Grateful for time to reflect and meditate on God’s word, then share it here.

Grateful for WordPress, who lets me do that day after day, for free!

Grateful for my faith, my Jesus, my God, and my life.

Thanks, Jared, for helping me to share my thoughts with the world through this blog.  You’re the best!!!  I’m grateful for you!

What are you grateful for today? What little victories have you seen pop up in your life lately? Do tell…

Regarding Ruth!

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Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Ruth 4:13-16 NIV

Ruth is a story that when applied to spiritual truth is just such a relief to me. In Ruth and through her story, I see new beginnings, rewards for right living, courage, bravery, strong women, nurturing men, grateful hearts, and redemption.

Ruth has no reason to think herself worthy of any of the wonderful things that happen to her.

She is a foreigner.
She has no fortune.
She has no children.
She has no proof of fertility.
She has no man to represent her in a world where females were chattel.
She has no reason to think that life going forward, will be anything but hard.

Still…

Ruth clings to her mother-in-love.
She ventures forward after catastrophe.
She works hard and never complains.
She shows faithfulness in all she does.
She sees the value in a more mature man.
She knows how to be alluring.
She listens well and learns quickly.
She goes where wisdom tells her to go and does what wisdom tells her to do.

Ruth is a woman of noble character and the whole town knows it.  When I think of the spiritual implications of this story, I see…

We are all Ruth’s in some way.
We are all unworthy of the attention God gives us.
We are all without representation, until we give our lives to Jesus.
We are all struggling to do the right thing.
Many of us are working hard to make the right impressions.

We might be alluring, in our way, and certainly we try to be attractive.

Like Ruth, we want to be provided for.
Like Ruth, we want to be loved.
Like Ruth, we are willing to take certain risks to make our way in the world.
Like Ruth, we have much to learn and the capacity to learn it.

Like Ruth, we have an advocate (in Jesus).
Like Ruth, potential exists for us.
Like Ruth, our willingness is an asset.
Like Ruth, we have a place at the table of Our Kinsman-Redeemer.

Lately, my tab system for Bible reading has taken me through the book of Ruth. It’s been a good read, and an affirming study in love, compassion, courage and character. I could come back here again and again and still find water pouring forth from this well. Thank You, Lord!

When has your life read like a novel?  Do you have a little bit of Ruth in you?

Hearing-God

Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. Haggai 1:12a NIV

Did you ever “know that you know that you know” that God sent someone to deliver a message to you? Me, too.

I will say, though, that I’ve only had that feeling of 100% certainty about a message from the Lord two times in my life. Well, three, if you count an angel, I believe visited me when I was very young and taken ill with the hard measles. In that instance, no words were spoken, but good news was implied. I knew that I knew that I knew God had sent someone to watch over me at a time when my momma was overwhelmed with two baby girls, both sick as dogs.

The people obeyed…because they knew the Lord their God had sent him.

Maybe you’re like me and you don’t get that feeling of certainty about what you ought to do all that often in life.

Maybe a lot of the time you’re drawing from what you know of the Lord and His grace when making decisions.

Maybe you’re relying on what the Bible says, or what your church family thinks, or what you sense when you hear a song come over the radio that includes a message directly correlated to the prayer you’ve been praying in your car all the way to work.

Maybe it’s what Pastor says on Sunday that seals the deal for you. My Spiritual Leader’s messages are often the most relevant part of my week and the most immediate help I have for figuring spiritual things out.

If you’re like me, you’re grateful for those times when you’ve been able to clearly hear the Lord and discern his will for your life. In days to come, we can expect to have that experience more and more, I think. That’s what Acts 2:17 says, anyway. Until then, the best method I’ve found for learning God’s will for me is practicing close, intimate contact with the One who’s mind I’m hoping to understand.

Today, I’m drawing close to God, leaning in to hear, hoping for a message from Him. How about you?

How do you most often find God in the mix?  What important truths have you heard from him, lately?

Willing, not wanting!

J callingToday’s devotional from Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young, has been a reminder to me, yet again, to TRUST!

Don’t resist.
Don’t run.
Don’t be sad.
Don’t shake your fist and shout to the heavens.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Don’t fall back into worshipping the things of this world, as if they could provide any lasting comfort for you.

Don’t worry!

“When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me.”

How many times has God said that very same thing to me over the past three years?

Trust Me!
Trust Me!
Trust Me!

Last night on my way home from work, my pastor hit me up on the cell.
“Do you have a minute to chat?”

I did…but first, prayer!

Why is it we always think when a call comes in that it’s bad news.
Remember, Lori, I am working out all things for you good. Do you believe it? Will you trust Me?

I’ve been trying to make a decision for a few months now. It involves pushing down the hurts of the past and trusting God to have my back in this moment. Not just in this moment, though, but in all the moments that have yet to be lived. Next week. Next month. Next year. The decision I’m making will have an impact on me and others far into the future if I remain in this world. It is a big one; one my pastor had the courage to broach with me a few months ago. One I was hoping we wouldn’t have to talk about. One I wanted to ignore, not address, push to the back of the line.

The ironic thing about these conversations I’ve been having with my pastor is that God’s been having them with me.  Long before pastor’s calls.  Long before we sat down together, and I discussed my reluctance/resistance/rebellion. Long before I shared my story and exposed those wounds again, and felt weak, powerless, and unable to direct this chorus on my own.

Hi, I’m Lori, a control freak who likes to drive my own bus, thank you very much!

Here’s the thing, though: God had been convicting me long before pastor and I talked to consider something I didn’t want to consider. A needed change in my life. Mind you, I did not see it as needed. That was all God. His idea, not mine. His prompting, not mine.

His question: Do you trust Me?!

I’ve been learning to trust God over the last three years. That sounds awful, I know, and I hate to have to admit it, but it’s true. Even though I’ve been following a spiritual path of enlightenment for decades, rarely have I let go of control long enough to really trust God with the outcome for anything in my life. It feels safer to me if I drive. And while I’m willing to invite Jesus along for the journey, there are rare instances when I take him up on His invitation for me to ride along with him. I will say that regardless of where I am driving, or where Jesus drives us, the outcome is the same. What God has prepared for me, no one can thwart. Not even me! So, I end up in the same place that I would have ended up in the end, anyway, but for some reason (pride, idolatry, self-care), I feel safer when I’m doing the directing.  Cue Job’s story.  Sound familiar? For, who among us doesn’t want things to go well for us ALL THE TIME? Who among us doesn’t want it done OUR WAY-ALL THE TIME? Who among us doesn’t think we KNOW what’s BEST—ALL THE TIME!!

Who, indeed?

So, I’m “driving” merrily along when this thing happens. God starts speaking to my soul in a variety of ways. The same topic every time but coming at me from different angles. And my pastor gets caught up in that, because of course he’s praying all the time about things and seeking God’s will all the time, and doing brave and scary things all the time, and God has pointed him in my direction. Drats!

I try to deflect. I try to joke it all off and downplay the thing. I try to convince pastor that we don’t need to talk, to meet, to probe…it’s okay if we put it off. What I’m really screaming inside is: I DON’T WANT TO GO ANYWHERE NEAR THIS WOUND, AND BELIEVE ME, NEITHER DO YOU!

Pastor is deaf to that. Insistent, although gently so, and remember, God is insisting too…the whole time…but I don’t think pastor knows that. I don’t think.

Sidebar: I’m so glad I’m not called to minister in the ways pastors are called to minister! How do these gals and guys do that job? How do they trust at such a deep level? How do they dare? They have got to be the bravest people on the face of the earth. Seriously, poking at hurty places all the time. Not for this girl! I run from it. Sooo respecting the job these frocked ones do each day. I don’t know how they do it, but I respect the heavens out of them for doing it.

Back on point. The call comes in. “Can we chat?” Yes. But, prayer first. (Thank you, Danielle, for that sign. It’s on the shelf staring at me every day, reminding me about what’s primary. Thank you!!!).

The phone rings. He’s checking. Are we going to do this thing? Am I ready?

Yes… Yes. YES!!!

Truth?! I’m exhausted from the hounds of heaven chasing me. I’m sick to death of being challenged and afraid. I’m tired of putzing around with things that God deems important. I still have my doubts that they are, but apparently God thinks so, so IF I TRUST HIM I have to do something about all this attention He’s giving to this challenge in my life.

I am.
I will.
I’m not 100% certain about this, just so you know, but God is asking me to TRUST HIM, so I am taking the action necessary to do that.
Not 100% certain. But doing what I’ve been asked to do.

Isn’t that the substance of faith? Isn’t that spiritual growth? Isn’t that trust—doing what I’ve been asked to do by the One who gave up everything for me? Gave me this life. Gave me love when I needed it. Made me one of His kids? Not an orphan anymore. Isn’t that faith?

“Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.”

I hear you, Lord. Still not 100% sure about this, but faith + obedience = blessings, right? Trusting you my math is right this time.

Is there something God has asked you to do, but you haven’t wanted to do? What have you been willing to do, that you didn’t want to do?