There is something I’m just not getting. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but the fact I know I’m not getting something seems to be forward progress. My daughter is reading a story about Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China during the mid to late 1800s. According to the story, one of Taylor’s preparations for his time in China was to move men through God. Given that language would be a barrier when he first arrived, Taylor knew he could only depend on God for his every need.
Now, I know the story doesn’t give a great idea of timing, especially since the events seemed to occur one right after the other, but given the context, Taylor’s prayers sure did seemed to get answered right away. But then Taylor’s every thought was to be about God’s will. Even when he was told he’d die, he knew with full confidence that God had called him to China. Miracle of all miracles, Taylor survived when others with the same disease died.
I wonder if Taylor’s life verse was Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (NIV) I wonder if that is where my lack of contentment comes from during our trials. I mean, I pray about all sorts of things. In fact, I tend to be in constant prayer, but I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong. I wonder if I am deciding on my plans, praying about them and then expecting God to bow to my wishes. Not that I’m doing this knowingly. I’m not at all. But I’ve been praying about our living situation for some time. Well over a year. And nothing. OKay, there was something. We’ve had an offer on our home. A low ball offer if we were desperate enough to take it. We should have, but the other part of our housing situation is finding a new place to go. All those doors slammed.
We need a second car, been praying about that too. All doors closed.
Then as most of you know, last week our son ran away. Our lives turned upside down. But God came through. Hundreds of people stormed Heaven’s gates with their prayers and in less than a week our son was found. The following is part of an email I sent out to my prayer loops:
We had a small storm today. It lasted less than 10 minutes from start to finish, but it knocked out power to almost 2000 people. It uprooted a huge tree and knocked over semis, even changing one man’s life. His injuries are serious. The storm lasted only a short time, it’s impact damaging, not devastating, but enough to prune some trees. Afterward, the skies cleared and the setting sun cast beautiful hues across the sky. God was so very evident in that very moment. There was a peace in the air, a serenity. I guess a rainbow even appeared. I’ve heard people talk about it, but I didn’t see it. As you all know the rainbow is a sign of a promise from God. Just because I didn’t see it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t there. I heard of it through the grapevine. I don’t know all of God’s promises but they are there and it is through all of the prayers and encouraging words that I am reminded of them. You all are that rainbow that I didn’t see because I was focused on pounding the streets searching for my son. Y’all are like the men who lowered their friend through the roof to see Jesus. Together their faith helped bring healing. And for that, for carrying my burdens to the foot of the cross, I’m not sure how I will ever be able to thank you adequately.
That storm was two days after he ran off and two days before he was found. God was right there. But here we are, almost a week to the day we found him and our lives still feel like they’re in an upheaval. We’ve still been praying about a new home, still been praying about a second vehicle, been praying for our son (all of our children) He’s found some trouble with the law. What should have been pretty simple has now turned into an unknown and we feel as we our in limbo. I’ve also been praying for minor things. Things I know God cares about because He cares even for the small concerns in our lives. Today I was feeling rejected. Yes, He spoke to me yesterday. Told me not to limit Him, even in those small things. Yet, today, those words didn’t seem to matter. I wanted them to matter, but I was looking with my eyes and not my faith.
Then a fellow writer, Deb Vogts, posted a scripture on Facebook. For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Psalm 94:14 (NIV)
I was reminded that I’ve not been rejected. I was bought by the innocent blood of Jesus Christ. He covered my sins, therefore making me a child of the living and active God. It was after I read that verse that I recalled a conversation I had with a customer at the shop today, a day that was overly difficult and left me fighting tears from the stress of what seemed sure failure. She was showing us pictures of furniture she wanted recovered and she came across the rainbow. Yes, that rainbow. She described it in full detail. The pictures did not do her awe-filled words any justice. I smiled and nodded. I love looking for the rainbows. They make me smile, but that night I missed it because I was looking for my son.
Even if it took me a few hours to realize it, God had used a complete stranger to send another little reminder that I don’t have to get it all. I don’t have to know all of His promises for them to work. I don’t have to pray just so, with my mouth held just right, while standing on one foot. God knows my heart. I need to trust in His divine provisions and timing. I need to have faith in Him,even when things don’t look so rosy.
I think I’m getting there, getting where I can just hand all these trials over to God and find contentment by trusting Him.