Saturday, September 29, 2018

Trusting God's Wisdom

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."  
Romans 8:28

I'll be the first to tell you that I truly do not know exactly what God is doing in our lives right now.  I feel perplexed, unsettled, and completely at a loss as to how to figure things out.  In our circumstances, I think often of Joshua 3:3-4. "And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.  Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore."

We have not passed this way before—not even close.  Life feels very unfamiliar, and as Joshua instructed the children of Israel, my little family and I are trying with all our might to stay "2000 cubits behind the ark," as we lean hard on God for guidance.  We don't want to rush out ahead of Him, nor do we want to lag too far behind Him.  Doing either would mean getting outside the parameters of what it means to stay in the center of His will.

It is a fine line to walk—keeping in that "secret place of the Most High."  Psalm 91:1

As I struggle to "understand His logic," and I repeatedly come to the realization that my thoughts are so far beneath His, and I will never be able to think like He does, I am continually coming back to the same conclusion—"when we can't understand His logic, we must trust His wisdom."

As He calls us out into deeper waters, I am learning that each step forward requires a deeper level of trust.  As the water depth increases, so does the necessity to more fully trust Him.  In the midst of my questions and anxiety over the future and all that is happening, He did something recently that completely arrested my attention.

He always knows when we need extra assurance and confirmation that He is with us, doesn't He?

We had to be away from home for an extended period of time, and on the night before we were to leave to come home, I called our home voicemail to get our messages.  There was a message from our neighbor asking us to call her.  I tried, and when I got her voicemail, I left a message for her.  I didn't hear back, and we left to come home the following morning.  On our way, it hit me that I didn't hear back from her, so I texted her asking if everything was okay.  She texted back saying she needed to talk to me, and I instantly knew something was wrong.  You might know that our cell phone has been having issues, not allowing us to make or receive calls, so I texted her back explaining about the phone and asking her if she could text us instead of talking.  She texted back and told me that she was out of state at the time, but another of our neighbors had called her to tell her that the 3rd-floor french doors that lead from Zach's bedroom to his balcony were standing wide open!  Keep in mind that there are no screens on the doors!  I asked her how long they had been open, and she said for two weeks!  The other neighbor hadn't known for sure that we were out of town, and she didn't know how to reach us.  After such a long time, she called and mentioned it to the neighbor who had contacted us.

Instantly, we began to wonder how the doors came open, and of course, the first thought was concern that someone may have broken in.  But, how?  They would have had to use a very tall ladder, and it just wasn't likely that this had happened.  Then it hit us.  Not long after we left home, Hurricane Florence had passed through our area!  We figured Zach's doors must not have been securely latched, and the hurricane winds had blown them open.  Imagine the scenario.  We were a few hundred miles away from home, in the car, traveling, and this is the news we received.  You can just picture the thoughts going through our minds.  Strong winds, possibly heavy rain, wide open doors for two weeks, etc.  What had blown out of or into Zach's room?  Did excessive rain come in through the open doors and damage the flooring?  If the wind was strong enough to open the doors, had it caused harm to any of Zach's things?  Had birds, insects, or animals made their way in?  Not only Zach's room was exposed but his doors being open had made the whole house vulnerable!

Right there, in the car, the three of us prayed, and we spoke faith into our situation.  We chose to believe that GOD had taken care of everything, in spite of the potential for our home being violated.  I am not going to say it was an easy ride home.  Worry tried to overwhelm time after time as we kept putting it back in God's hands and realizing there was not one thing we could do BUT trust Him and His protection.

(In another post that I will more than likely publish on Biblical Minimalism, I want to elaborate about how thankful I am that we have minimized our lives.  There wasn't anywhere near the fear I would have felt had this happened a few years ago when our lives and home were overloaded with stuff.  Following Jesus into a simple, minimal life has brought about enormously advantageous changes to our perspective.  Never has it been more evident to me than on that ride home.)

I kept thinking how merciful it was of God to NOT let us know there was a problem until the very day we were on our way home.  He wanted to warn us of what was going on before we got home and saw those doors open and panicked, and yet, He withheld the information from us during the time that we could not get away to leave to come home and check things out.  He withheld that information from us until just a few hours before we returned home!

We finally made it home safe, by God's grace, and as we pulled into our parking area, Kevin told me that he and Zach would go in first to assess what was inside.  Bless his dear, kind, thoughtful heart, he wanted to spare me from seeing it first.  As I stood downstairs anxiously staring up at Zach's wide-open doors, I recalled the morning we left, and how, like every other time we get in the car to go anywhere, I had prayed this prayer, "Lord, please protect us, bring the three of us safely home together, protect everything here while we are gone, and let everything be just as we left it when we return."  Leaving home, we had placed everything we had in God's hands, trusting Him to watch over it while we were gone.

As I stood on the ground outside under Zach's room and balcony, what was actually only a few seconds felt like an eternity.  Then my heart rejoiced to hear the reassuring voice of my dear, even-keeled husband say, "Honey, everything is fine.  I don't see anything wrong at all."


All I could do is praise the God who sees—who hears—who knows every, single thing about every, little detail of our lives—who cares more for us than we can ever even imagine.
The relief that flooded over me was enormous.  But, even more than my relief was utter astonishment at what Kevin was telling me.  My mind replayed the whole thing once more—of all times, a hurricane had come through (of course we did not get anywhere near the brunt of the storm, but nevertheless, there had to be some awful strong wind to blow those doors open), who knows how much rain had fallen, etc.  I tell you what, as soon as I could come inside, the three of us prayed together, this time a prayer of wholehearted thanksgiving and praise to the God who loves us with an everlasting love, who hears us when we pray, and who faithfully answers those prayers!  Oh, how we praised Him and continue to praise Him!  There is just no explanation why things were "just as we left them when we returned" other than our dear, loving, faithful God answering the prayer we prayed that morning in the car.
God's providential care should never be underestimated.
It is there when we don't even realize how desperately we are in need of it.

Oh, the lessons He has taught and is steadily teaching us through this!  At the beginning of this post, I mentioned how unfamiliar and uncertain everything feels to us right now.  If God can shield our home from invaders of any kind, from hurricane rain and wind damage, and from all harm when we didn't even know we needed the extra protection, can He not take care of our future?  We don't understand the logic of all that has happened and is happening in our lives, but God is all-wise.  We don't need to understand His logic.  We simply need to trust His wisdom.  We simply need to believe with all our hearts that He never takes His eyes off us and all that affects our lives.

"The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever."
Psalm 138:8

I know He absolutely allowed those doors to come open and for us to find out they were open for two weeks without us knowing about it just to prove that we do not even need to know what is going on for things to be okay.  The only one who needs to see the whole picture is Him.  He is in control.  We do not have to be.  He takes care of us and what pertains to us even when don't realize we need taken care of.

When we turn our lives over to God and hand Him the reins, we are no longer responsible.  Total surrender to God means letting go—completely.  Turning loose.  No longer worrying about the outcome.  Trusting that whatever comes our way passed through His hand first and only made it to the point of touching our lives after getting His permission. 

We do not need to fear getting out of His will.  He will make things evident to us on a need-to-know basis.  It is all about trusting His wisdom.  He is not going to shine a flashlight several steps in front of us and hand us a schedule of life events, along with the dates they will happen.  If He did that, why would we need faith? 

Romans 8:28 does not say that everything that happens in the life of a Christian will be good.  It says that all things will work together for good—both the good things and the bad things will work, 
hand-in-hand, for good.  

God's ways are far higher than our ways.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:8-9

"I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?  If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand.  He is wise in heart and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered?  Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.  Job 9:2-4,10

"Behold, God is great, and we know Him not, neither can the number of His years be searched out."
Job 36:26

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor?  Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen."  Romans 11:33-36

Dear friends, I do not know what each one of you is going through.  I don't need to know.  God already does, and none of it surprises Him.  He absolutely has you in the palm of His hand, and you are going to be okay.  It may look like the enemy has the upper hand, but there is no hand higher or more mighty than our God's.  He is in control of every little and big detail of your life.  He is watching out for you when you don't even know you need to be.  If it touches your heart, it touches His.  You are the apple of His eye, and He loves you with an unconditional, unchanging agape love that will never end.  He leads you gently, and He often spares you the worst details.  He will let you know what you need to know when you need to know it.  You don't have to be suspicious of Him because He has no ulterior motives.  He always, always has your best interests at heart.

When you can't understand His logic, trust His wisdom.

In closing, I hope you enjoy a song that encapsulates and expresses my personal testimony right now.
After the song, please scroll down for updates on Mom Smith and Barbara Smith.

Mom Smith is holding her own.  She is adjusting to being in rehab.  Bless her dear heart, she is in a lot of pain, at times, but she seems to be tolerating her daily exercises pretty well.  She is such a little trooper and fighter, and God is seeing her through.

Barb found out that her brain tumor is a glioblastoma and is inoperable.  She had to undergo a biopsy on Thursday, and she and her family will find out the results tomorrow.  

You will never know how much we all appreciate each prayer that is going up for these dear ones.
We so appreciate your continued prayers to the One who is in control and who has never failed one of His trusting children. 
God bless each one of you and meet every need you have.